Red Sox To Benefit From Schedule Change In 2023
Major League Baseball announced last season that teams will play a total of 13 games against each of their divisional opponents starting in 2023, down from the traditional 19. With fewer games against your division, each major league club will face off at least once per season, regardless of the league.
This means the clubs who play in ultra-competitive divisions, such as the Boston Red Sox, will have a unique opportunity to capitalize on this schedule change.
Switch From The 19 to 13 Game Divisional Format
As stated, for many years, each club played 19 games against their division, allowing teams to become very familiar with one another throughout the season. Because of this, such a large number of games against a familiar opponent was either a blessing or a curse depending on your division.
In 2022, the Red Sox went a dreadful 26-50 against the AL East and finished in last place, but still managed a 78-84 record. To put that in perspective, Boston would have finished in at least third place had they played in any other American League division last season.
Red Sox vs. National League Since 2000
Since 2000, Boston has enjoyed remarkable success against National League teams. During this time, they have gone 267-167, an impressive winning percentage of .615. This doesn’t even include the Red Sox’s 16-3 record against NL teams in World Series play since the turn of the century.
While the addition of the designated hitter in the National League has leveled the playing field a bit, Boston still is better off playing these clubs rather than more games against their AL East rivals.
Schedule Change Is Good For Baseball
Fewer games within your own division create a greater emphasis on individual matchups and intensify the rivalry element around the game of baseball. For example, a Yankee vs. Red Sox series will mean more knowing you see each other less often. Fewer games mean less opportunity to make up or gain ground on an opponent.
The added pressure for each team with a sense of anticipation can help cultivate a refreshed enthusiasm for the games among both the fans and players. Many have complained about rivalries in baseball going stale over the past few years; this is something that can help rejuvenate that passion.
Think about it this way, if the Red Sox were even just halfway decent against their division in 2022, they would have been competing for a playoff spot. With 24 fewer games against their AL East competitors and 24 more against NL opponents, they have an ideal opportunity to turn around their fortunes and get back into contention this season.