Boston Red Sox 2018: Quest for 117 WinsOn Friday, Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello tossed a one-hitter against the New York Yankees to extend Boston's lead in the American League East to 7 1/2 games.
This year's American League East features two teams flirting with history. Sitting 43 1/2 games out of first place, the Baltimore Orioles (33-77, .300) are making a run at surpassing the modern era (since 1900) record for single-season losses set by the 1962 New York Mets. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox (77-34, .694) are sporting the best record in baseball. The reigning World Series champions, the Houston Astros (70-41, .631), are the only other franchise to pass the 70-win mark so far. If the Red Sox continue at their current pace they will finish the season with 112 wins, just shy of the all-time record.
Both the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116-36, .763) and 2001 Seattle Mariners (116-46, .716) equaled the mark for most wins during the regular season. The Cubs and Mariners reached their marks during 154-game and 162-game schedules respectively. Interestingly, neither team achieved World Series glory. After winning the National League pennant, the Cubs lost the 1906 Fall Classic to the crosstown Chicago White Sox (93-58, .616) in six games. The New York Yankees (95-65, .594) needed five games to eliminate the Mariners during the 2001 American League Championship Series.
During Fenway Park's inaugural season, the Boston Red Sox established the franchise record for regular season wins (105).
With less than two months remaining in their campaign, the Red Sox still have a substantial hill to climb if they intend to challenge the all-time record. To break the record, Boston must conclude their regular season 40-11 (.784 winning percentage) or better. Even if the Red Sox fail to break the major-league record, they still have a legitimate chance at establishing a new franchise win total. With each ensuing win, the 2018 team will rapidly accelerate up the all-time list. Following Rick Porcello's one-hitter last night, the Red Sox matched the season-win totals of the 1902 and 1944 teams. The Red Sox have only finished the regular season with triple-digit wins on three occasions: Jake Stahl's 1912 team (105), Joe Cronin's 1946 team (104) and Bill Carrington's 1915 team (101).
Of the three Red Sox teams to surpass 100 wins, two ended the season as World Series champions (1912 and 1915). In 1912, Fenway Park's inaugural, the Red Sox defeated the New York Giants. In 1915, the Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies. The 1946 season was Ted Williams' lone World Series appearance. Despite stretching the Series to seven games, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Red Sox.
Looking ahead at Boston's remaining 51 regular season games, they will play 23 times against teams with postseason aspirations. The Red Sox will play the Yankees (8), Cleveland Indians (7), Atlanta Braves (3), Astros (3) and Phillies (2). Of course, they still have 16 games against some of MLB's worst teams: Orioles (7), White Sox (4), Mets (3) and Miami Marlins (2).
Photos: Boston Red Sox / iCollector