The Boston Red Sox continue an 11-game trip this week, a journey that could well define their role in the playoff race down the stretch. It’s been a daunting trip, with unprecedented travel challenges.

These challenges have forged an “us against the world” mentality in the Sox clubhouse. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

After a 10-5 loss to the Tigers on Sunday, the Sox arrived in Florida with a 5-2 record on the trip – beginning with a stretch that saw them play in four different cities over a five-day span. It was a barnstorming that big leaguers rarely see.

After Monday night’s 6-2 win at St. Petersburg, Florida, the Sox had won nine of their last 11 games and tied Toronto for first place in the American League East.

All of this comes in a 23-day stretch in which the Red Sox do not have a single day off. They’ve handled it pretty well, winning 10 of those first 14 games. In fact, Manager John Farrell thinks this daunting schedule may have become a rallying point for his team.

“This is what we’ve been dealt,” Farrell told reporters over the weekend. “You just let it roll off your back.

“In some ways I think it has allowed our players to be free of mind and just say, ‘You know what? To hell with it. Let’s just go play. It doesn’t matter when we’re going or what the travel was to get there.’ They’ve done a very good job.”

We’ve been talking about this stretch of the Red Sox schedule for a long time. When the Sox hit the road for the West Coast on July 27 they had 65 games remaining – 44 of them away from Fenway. They were in the thick of a playoff race but had the fewest home games remaining by far.

It is the type of schedule that tests a team’s character. And Boston’s character is passing with flying colors.

But things won’t get any easier going forward. The Sox still have two more lengthy trips on the schedule, including a September trip to the West Coast. All but nine of their remaining games are against teams in their division, and the Sox are only 24-22 against AL East teams this season.

A challenging schedule is one thing, but dealing with injuries to the pitching staff is another. Steven Wright has been on the DL since he injured his throwing shoulder in a freak base-running incident at Dodger Stadium.

Now Eduardo Rodriguez is day-to-day with a left hamstring issue. The Sox thought he’d be ready to go Sunday, but instead needed to make a last-minute call to Pawtucket.

Henry Owens made the spot start, and it didn’t go well. After giving up eight runs in five innings he was out of the game – and we were all left wondering if Rodriguez could’ve shown a little more toughness and made that start.

You can overcome a tough schedule, but not without pitching. The Sox have gotten great pitching over the past month. They’ll need to find a way to pitch through this stretch if they want to keep building off their recent success.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.