Tuesday officially starts the first day of September.
In Major League Baseball, a lot of stuff goes down.
- The 25-man roster expands to 40
- Every game counts as it were the playoffs
- Magic numbers lurk about
- MVP candidates are chanted out
- It's a preview of what's to come in October
For the Boston Red Sox this year all of the above is true, but this September isn't quite looking so easy as it once was.
The Red Sox were lucky to finish the month of August at 16-12 and need to continue their winning pace.
Whenever the words "Tampa Bay" were inscribed on the September calendar the words "easy sweep" always followed. But ever since last year that has not been the case and the Red Sox face the Rays six more times before the close of the regular season.
Boston opens up a three-game series tomorrow night at Tropicana Field in Tampa, which may be the second most important series of the month. Currently the Rays are five games back in the American League Wild Card race for third place with the Red Sox in the lead.
Texas is in second and hanging on in the chase as well back three and a half games (Rangers are currently losing 11-10 against Toronto in the top of the ninth inning).
The Red Sox play the Rays again at Fenway on September 11-13. The next big series for Boston is at New York on September 25-27 and mixed in between are the red hot Los Angeles Angels. However there are some weaker teams in the mix with Chicago, Baltimore, and Kansas City, but that still doesn't mean anything.
The last series of the regular season, Boston hosts a four-gamer to the Cleveland Indians into the early days of October.
It's going to be one heck of a ride with so many question marks.
Can Paul Byrd and Billy Wagner be unsung heros? Will Daniel Bard continue his dominancy and not break against Tampa Ray and New York? Will Jonathan Papelbon close the easy way or the heart attack way? David Ortiz and Jason Bay in the clutch? Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield? Will Josh Beckett return to his mid-season form?
We'll have to just wait and see. Like what you see? Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/batterupbruno