Really, really, good. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
I know my friends and family back in Boston will give me hell for just getting back to this now, after I picked the Yankees to win the AL East but come on. The Yankees are really quite good. They’re on pace to win a hundred games and would be winning four of MLB’s six divisions, and it wouldn’t be very close. But this is a heck of a year to be in the AL East. If Boston can manage to keep up this torrid pace, they’ll equal the 1998 Yankees with 114 wins. Only the 2001 Mariners and 1906 Chicago Cubs have won more in a season (116). That’s some rarefied air. Fun fact though, only those 1998 Yankees won the World Series…
The Red Sox are historically good thus far this season, and they’ve done it while weathering a string of injuries and absences. The Sox have won six-straight, and nine of their last ten. They’ve done it without ace Chris Sale, who returns from the ten-day disabled list this Sunday against Baltimore and without 3B Rafael Devers, who’s been nursing a sore hammy, and just came back against the Blue Jays last night. How’s he feeling after the layoff? 2-4 with two RBI. Welcome back, Mr. Devers.
Just for a second, let’s look at the stats and see how the Red Sox are winning so much. They’re good at almost everything, but here’s a quick idea of HOW good.
Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are the top two performers in the majors in both batting average and slugging percentage, Martinez also leads the league in home runs and RBI.
As a team, they lead the majors in a staggering number of offensive categories. Runs, hits, doubles, RBI, stolen bases, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS.
Holy crap. That’s a little bit ridiculous. Add on the fact that Boston’s pitchers rank in the top five in runs allowed, ERA, strikeouts, opponents average and WHIP, and you get the idea. There just aren’t many weaknesses anywhere on this team, and the trading deadline addition of veteran Ian Kinsler just feels like gilding the lily.
Boston puts up runs in bunches, and they do it constantly. They’ve shut out opponents eleven times thus far this season, and only been held scoreless on five occasions. They’re exceptionally good at putting themselves in a position to win games consistently. Looking at scoring differential at this point in the season, two teams stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Houston (+202) and Boston (+199). Those are BIG differential numbers. Next best in the majors? Yup, the Yankees, at +134. Only one other team has scored over one hundred more than their opponents, Cleveland at +112. After that it drops off. Quickly. Scoring differential doesn’t tell you everything, there are more complex statistical ways to get to the heart of a team, but over a long season, it very often separates the wheat from the chaff.
It’s clear. If Boston can navigate the final forty-seven games of the season without any major injuries, they’ll be in the driver’s seat in October.
Image Source: AP