BOSTON (CBS) — The goal for the Red Sox is to win 11 games in October and add another World Series to the franchise’s long and storied history.
But making some franchise history is nothing to scoff at, and Alex Cora hopes his team takes a moment to soak in what they accomplished Monday night at Fenway Park. With their 106th win of the season, these are now the winningest Red Sox in franchise history.
“We should call timeout and enjoy this one,” Cora said following Boston’s 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. “We know what we have to do in October, but to be able to do this, at this level, in this division, it is amazing.”
“It means you’re going down in history, your name is a part of something special,” said MVP candidate Mookie Betts, who blasted his 32nd homer of the season Monday night. “Especially in this organization that has been around so long, it’s just a blessing to be part of something like this.”
The victory also locked up the best record in baseball for the Red Sox, giving them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Every series will now start at Fenway Park, and if they get that far, so will any deciding Game 7 (or a Game 5 in the ALDS).
Boston is 55-21 at home this season.
“Home-field advantage, especially with our fans, is pretty important,” said Betts. “We have a great team and we’re showing it. We’re enjoying playing the game together, for sure.”
With five games left in the regular season (potentially four depending on rain in Boston on Tuesday night), the Red Sox still have a few things to play for. Cora is only three wins shy of tying Ralph Houk’s record of 109 wins for a rookie manager, which he accomplished back in 1961 for the New York Yankees. Fittingly, Cora may get a shot to do so against the Yankees, who are in town this weekend for a season-ending three-game series.
But that series is much more than a potential record-breaking for Cora. The Yankees sit 1.5 games up on the Oakland Athletics in the AL Wild Card race, and would host the one-game playoff next Wednesday. The Red Sox will play the winner of that game, and would much rather face an opponent who had to make a cross-country flight from California rather than a short trip from New York just a day prior to Oct. 5 — Game 1 of the ALDS at Fenway Park. Taking two of three or sweeping the Yankees could be enough to flip-flop the Wild Card standings, with the A’s closing the season with three games against the L.A. Angels.
Even though they already own the franchise record for wins, don’t expect the Red Sox to slow down over the next six days. They want to be firing on all cylinders when the postseason starts, and don’t want to lose any momentum they’ve built during this record-setting regular season.