Farrell helping Red Sox combat difficult stretch

In midst of whirlwind portion of schedule, manager making adjustments

Farrell helping Red Sox combat difficult stretch

BOSTON -- The dog days of August have taken on an added layer of challenge for the Red Sox, given the grueling schedule the team is in the midst of.

Sunday was the sixth game in a stretch that has Boston playing 23 games in 23 days in five cities.

Manager John Farrell is trying to combat that difficult stretch by mixing in more days off for his regulars. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was able to get off his feet on Sunday, with Brock Holt starting at short. Jackie Bradley Jr. got a rest on Saturday.

Clubhouse report times have also been altered, along with the length of batting practice being shortened.

The original schedule had the Red Sox off Monday, but instead they will make a one-day trip to Cleveland to play a 1:10 p.m. ET makeup game for the postponement on April 7. After that, they go to Baltimore for two days.

Red Sox 2016 schedule

Following a night game at Camden Yards on Wednesday comes the most challenging portion of this entire stretch -- a 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch in Detroit on Thursday. After four games there, it's off to Tropicana Field for a four-game set with the Rays, and then home for a six-day homestand.

The next off-day for the Red Sox is on Sept. 1, and they'll spend it in the Bay Area in preparation for a three-game series against the A's.

"Well, we've got an adjusted plan in place," Farrell said. "The schedule has been there, maybe with the exception of the makeup game [Monday] in Cleveland. That creates a quick turnaround. We've adjusted some things in our own schedule to accommodate the change -- the change in cities, the change in venues, the change in lineups. We've streamlined that some."

At a time when every game is crucial, the Red Sox are determined not to look for built-in excuses with the schedule.

"The most important thing is that we take care of the things that we can control," Farrell said. "We're not fretting about the schedule. We've known since January that this trip was coming. We look forward to it."

The skipper and his staff have been preparing for this stretch for some time.

"And after today, probably everybody has had a day off [recently]," Farrell said. "We've got to be a little bit more mindful right now. We've got heat to contend with, we've got consecutive games played to contend with, we've got a high number of games in season that guys have played."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.