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For all of the Red Sox’ success in the first half of the season, they know there is plenty of work ahead, starting with a critical stretch against division opponents.
The Sox have the most wins in baseball and hold a 21⁄2-game lead in the bunched-up AL East. Their first 10 games after the All-Star break are against the three teams closest to them in the standings, beginning tomorrow with a three-game set against the Yankees at Fenway Park.
“It’s a big test for us,” Dustin Pedroia said. “Any time you’re playing in the division you find out where you’re at. It’s a way to make up ground or lose it, so hopefully we play well and win as many games as we can.”
Herald: Sox will work on division
This is a pretty tough stretch to start the second half of the year. And with the Sox surprising a majority of people, it's important that they come out of this stretch still atop the AL East. Otherwise, you can tune up the "here we go again" articles and the conversation turns into "this team was playing far better than what they are and now they're simply regressing to the mean."
This Sox team has the attention of Boston. They're all we have until the NFL starts up. We were bracing ourselves for a long term overhaul of this team but now we're swept up in a pennant race. There's actual excitement about this team! Please, PLEASE don't come out of the gate stumbling.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Grade the Sox | Surprising season thus far | Herald: Rivera a part of us | Drew chose SS over NY stay | Sox report card | WEEI: Time to revisit bullpen blueprint? | What Sox gave up in Jacobs