The Sox have played six teams that had a winning record last year, including two division winners -- Texas and Toronto -- both of whom the Sox swept. They've played 17 of their first 26 games on the road, going 12-5, and they just came out of a grueling stretch of 19 games in 19 days with a 13-6 record.
Monday's off day is well-deserved, although there is no rest in the American League schedule. The Sox welcome Boston (15-10) to U.S. Cellular Field for a three-game series starting Tuesday night.
According to this ranking, the Sox have played the seventh most difficult schedule in baseball.
A couple of interesting points about this list:
- Five of the six teams ranked ahead of the Sox (Toronto, Baltimore, L.A. Angels, Tampa Bay, Oakland) have already played the Sox. At this point, playing against the Sox strengthens one's schedule.
- Atlanta and Cincinnati are the only two National League teams ranked in the top 15 for strength of schedule. Of course, the Braves (6-18) and Reds (10-15) are two of the worst teams in all of baseball. They don't get to play themselves, and therefore can't weaken their own strength of schedule the way they do for other teams.
- The three softest schedules in baseball so far belong to the three teams with the best records in the National League. The Nationals (17-7) have played the weakest schedule in baseball, followed by the Cubs (17-6) and Mets (15-8). The Pirates (15-10) have played the fifth-weakest schedule.
Meanwhile, there are very few easy nights in the American League. I'll say it now: Any team that wins 90 games in the American League year, that's going to be more impressive to me than winning 100 in the National League.