This Week in Boston Baseballing, Sept. 20 – 26

The Red Sox won two of three at home against the Blue Jays over the weekend and then split a two-game set in Colorado that was bookended by two days off on Monday and Thursday. Boston has just three games left in the regular season against the Orioles at Camden Yards beginning tonight. The team will then have four days off leading up to Game 1 of the ALDS at Fenway Park on Friday, October 4.

Boston Clinches the American League East
On Friday night, the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays to secure the 2013 AL East crown. The Red Sox remain in a fight with the Oakland Athletics for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. As of Friday morning, Boston was two games ahead of the A’s for the best record in the AL. The team’s 96 wins is the most since 2007 and the team has a chance to at least match the 98 wins it had in 2004 with a couple of victories this weekend. A series sweep would give Boston 99 wins, a benchmark last achieved in 1978.

Red Sox AL East champs

Anyway, it would be fair to say that team owner John Henry is…uh, reasonably excited but maybe slightly jaded and underwhelmed by simple feats like merely “Winning the American League East.”

Sox ownership cheering clincher

Boston’s Run Differential On Par With 2004, 2007 … and 1950
The Red Sox enter tonight’s game with a run differential of +190, which is 10 runs better than in 2004 (+180) and 20 runs behind the 2007 team (+210) that paced the AL from wire to wire. The Gold standard for dominance, however, was the 1950 team, which had a run differential of +219.

Is The Playoff Rotation Set?
Boston will run out Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and John Lackey over the weekend against Baltimore. This could very well be the playoff pecking order starting next Friday, although things could certainly change between now and then.

Jake Peavy threw 110 pitches in his win Wednesday night in Colorado. There is a pretty good chance he’ll start one of the ALDS games and it might make sense to make sure it happens at Fenway Park, depending on how seriously the Sox deem his home/road splits since becoming a Red Sox. Peavy has thrown only 21 of his 64 ⅔ innings with the team at Fenway Park, but he went seven innings in each start and struck out 22 batters in those 21 frames. Who the Sox face may be a primary factor. One of Peavy’s home starts was against a potential ALDS opponent, the Detroit Tigers, on July 25. In that game, he went 7.0 IP, 7 K, 2 BB, 3 HR and 4 ER.

Ticket Demand for the Postseason Is Strong
According to TiqIQ, the average price for an ALDS ticket is $373. However, so far the lower-end resale market looks reasonable. Tickets for standing room only and bleachers range from about $100-200. (Pictured below, nearly 300 tickets for Section 36 are available for Friday night’s Game 1).

TiqIq Fenway ALDS

On Todd Helton Night, Will Middlebrooks Has His Own Todd Helton Night
Bobbleheads were doled out, family photos incorporating a purple-clad horse were taken, and the man of the hour even hit a timely first-inning homer. But Will Middlebrooks paced a vicious Boston attack that included 15 runs by hitting two home runs and collecting seven RBI. If the young Red Sox third baseman keeps this up for the next decade and a half, we may just be seeing WMB receive a commemorative horse in the shadow of the Green Monster someday.

Helton night ruined

Incidentally, why don’t the Red Sox incorporate horses into their on-field celebrations anymore? Watching Johnny Gomes kick beer cans into the stands is fun – if a bit dangerous – but, back in the day, watching players wave to the fans from the top of police horses always felt kind of classy.

Mo Vaughn on police horse

Red Sox Rookies Enjoy Some Good Old-Fashioned Hazing
Boston rookies Drake Britton, Brandon Workman, Xander Bogaerts, Allen Webster, Steven Wright and Brock Holt were photographed wearing Scottish kilts earlier this week.

Look kids! Team-building doesn’t have to involve sodomy!

Sox rookies in kilts

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