- The Red Sox are off to their best start in franchise history after improving their record to 13-2. Can they keep it up?
- Will Chris Sale finally win his first Cy Young award?
- Can Boston lead the league in batting average?
You’d think that the Red Sox would have seen and done it all in their 118 years of existence, but baseball’s most venerable franchise did something new on Saturday by getting off to its best start ever. Boston has now won 13 of its first 15 games thanks to a perfect balance of dominant pitching and timely hitting.
At 12-2, the Red Sox have their best start of a season in Franchise History. pic.twitter.com/o1siKAlBFa
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) April 14, 2018
We’ve dug deep into the numbers behind Boston’s torrid start and have come up with five reasons why the Red Sox are leaving their competition in the dust. We’ve also set the odds for whether they can continue their sensational play.
1. Their Starters Have Been Sensational
Chris Sale set the tone for Boston’s season on Opening Day when he threw a one-hit gem against the Rays. The Sox’s starters have since gone 9-1 with a 2.06 ERA, and lead the Majors in quality starts.
Chris Sale’s slider is unfair. Seriously. pic.twitter.com/k9vYVFl6nd
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) April 11, 2018
Sale is the undisputed ace of the staff, of course, but David Price and Rick Porcello also seem to have rediscovered their Cy Young form. Price is 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA, and Porcello is 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 19.2 innings pitched. The 29-year-old right-hander looked especially sharp against the Yankees on April 12th, giving up just two hits in seven shutout innings.
|Odds Chris Sale wins the AL Cy Young award in 2018||3/1|
2. They’re Hitting Everything in Sight
The Red Sox rank first in doubles and extra base hits, and were it not for the equally red-hot Angels, they’d also be first in hits, runs, batting average, total base hits, and RBI.
Much of the damage has been done by Mookie Betts, who’s hitting .353 with two home runs and ten RBI.
Much of the damage has been done by Mookie Betts, who’s hitting .353 with two home runs and ten RBI, and Hanley Ramirez, who’s hitting .333 with three home runs and 15 RBI of his own. JD Martinez has finally come out of hibernation as well. The 6’3” slugger has hit three home runs since April 7th after failing to go yard in his first six games.
JD Martinez introduces himself to the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry with a grand slam home run ?pic.twitter.com/COD19auXsu
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) April 12, 2018
The Red Sox are still in the middle of the pack when it comes to home run production, but their power numbers should begin to rise as the Northeast thaws out from an unusually long winter.
|Over/Under number of home runs hit by the Red Sox in 2018||185.5|
3. They Aren’t Beating Themselves
The Red Sox lead the league in fewest errors and have the best fielding percentage in the Majors. That’s quite a contrast from a year ago, when Boston’s infielders struggled mightily with run prevention. Xander Bogaerts was among the worst defensive shortstops in baseball, Ramirez was an unmitigated disaster at first, and Rafael Devers booted more balls than Lionel Messi.
Rafael Devers booted more balls than Lionel Messi.
It’s likely Boston’s fielders will regress to the mean at some point, but for now at least they’re keeping the ball in front of them and making smart plays.
|Over/Under number of errors by the Red Sox in 2018||99.5|
4. The Bench Has Been Big
Boston’s starters have been every bit as good as advertised, but some of the team’s biggest performances have come from its reserves. That was especially evident on Sunday night as Mitch Moreland went 3-4 with a pair of doubles in the Red Sox’s 3-1 win over the Orioles. The veteran first baseman is batting .296 on the season, and gives Boston another quality option at first base when Ramirez moves to DH.
The Red Sox have also gotten a boost from backup infielder Tzu-Wei Lin, who blasted a double on Sunday against Baltimore, and is now batting .500.
The Red Sox have also gotten a boost from backup infielder Tzu-Wei Lin, who blasted a double on Sunday against Baltimore, and is now batting .500. His all-around game has been a pleasant surprise, and Lin should continue to get plenty of at bats even after Bogaerts returns from the DL.
|Odds Tzu-Wei Lin hits over .300 in 2018||12/1|
5. They’ve Had a Soft Schedule
Boston’s schedule has been softer than a roll of Charmin. The Red Sox opened the season in Florida against the Rays and Marlins, and have since won three games against the woefully inconsistent Orioles. Those three teams have a combined record of 12-34 and practically threw in the towel before the first pitch.
Boston will get its first real test on April 17th when it faces the Angels. L.A. has won seven in a row and is off to its best start since 1979.
|Over/Under number of regular season wins in 2018||95.5|
Boston Red Sox World Series Odds
|Red Sox World Series odds as of March 29||10/1|
|Red Sox World Series odds as of April 17||7/1|