Sox get their share of NL losers in 2011

September, 14, 2010
SEATTLE -- If this were the National Football League, strength of scheduling would definitely favor the Red Sox in interleague play in 2011.

The Sox will meet two potential 2010 division winners in the Phillies and Padres, though neither team is a lock for postseason play. The other four NL teams the Sox meet next season all have losing records, including one near-certain 100-game loser, the Pittsburgh Pirates (48-95). The other also-rans on the schedule are the Cubs, Brewers and Astros. The cumulative record of the Sox's 2011 interleague opponents, entering Tuesday night, is 411-451, a .477 winning percentage.

The Cubs will be making their first-ever regular-season visit to Fenway Park May 20-22, a three-game weekend set. The Cubs last played in Fenway on Sept. 11, 1918, when Carl Mays outdueled Lefty Tyler, 2-1, in Game 6 of the World Series, clinching the fifth title won by the Boston franchise in 15 years. The Sox wouldn't win another for 86 years; the Cubs, meanwhile, have not won a Series since 1908, 102 years and counting.

Best summer-vacation trip? Try the Minnesota-Seattle jaunt from Aug. 8-14, with Target Field in Minneapolis an instant classic, Safeco Field a true jewel, and two cities that should be featuring gorgeous weather at that time of year. Or, if you're really ambitious, you could hit all three NL parks in one swing -- Pittsburgh, Philly and Houston from June 24-July 3, though we're not sure we'd recommend Houston in July.

Funkiest pairing: Toronto and Tampa Bay, which the Sox visit in that order both in June and September, the first trip beginning with three games in New York against the Yankees.

The Sox won't be racking up as many frequent flier miles as they did this season, when they played twice in Oakland, twice in Seattle, once in Anaheim and once in San Francisco. Besides the visit to Seattle, the Sox go to the West Coast just once, a two-game set in Oakland followed by four in Anaheim April 19-24.

There's also the Rust Belt trip: Cleveland and Detroit on May 23-29, with the Sox also paying a visit to Cleveland after a season-opening series April 1-3 in Texas. Besides Cleveland, the only other non-divisional opponent to host two visits will be the Rangers, with the Sox getting a taste of that brutal Texas heat for a four-game set Aug. 22-25.

Yankee visits to Fenway: April 8-10, Aug. 5-7, Aug. 30-31, Sept. 1.

Sox visits to the Bronx: May 13-15, June 7-9, Sept. 23-25.

Click here for the full schedule; game times still to be determined.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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