The All-Star break has come and gone. On Thursday night, the Red Sox will travel to Detroit and start the second half of the season Friday.
The Sox built the best record in either league leading up to the break, and are on pace to eclipse the franchise mark for most wins in a season. But securing first place will not be simple. The Yankees sit 4.5 games behind, with three games in hand, and are just three games back in the loss column. The teams will meet 10 more times, including six games in the final two weeks of the season. So there's ample opportunity for the Yankees to close the gap.
Until then, here are five keys for the remainder of the regular season.