OK, this has gotten downright silly. We all know baseball isn’t this easy. What the Red Sox are doing right now is laying waste to the entire American League, obliterating everything in their path and leaving no trace of life behind.
So how do you criticize a team like this?
Years ago, when I covered baseball for the Boston Herald, we’d occasionally use a simple device when a Red Sox game (or series of them) lacked a clear, interesting angle – or when the angle was the same night after night after night. So with that in mind, we give you the extraordinary start of the 2018 Boston Red Sox, by the numbers.
.326: The Red Sox’ team batting average during their last 11 games, during which the Sox are 10-1 while hitting 20 home runs. While the team’s only loss during that span was a 10-7 defeat to the Yankees – the game in which David Price had numbness in his hand – they have scored at least six runs in all but one of them. The exception? The frigid, 3-1 victory over Baltimore on April 15 that might as well have been played in the dead ball era.
1.98: Combined ERA of all Red Sox starters over the first 17 games of the season, a number that includes Price’s creepy-hand outing on April 11. (Minus that outing, the number is 1.64.) Last season, Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber led the major leagues with a 2.25 ERA, which means the Red Sox have basically been sending someone to the mound – every night – who was better than the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.
14: Major league record by grand slams in a season – by a team, established by the Cleveland Indians and Oakland A’s earlier this millennium. We tell you this to offer perspective on the Red Sox’ current pace, which sits at …
36: Yes, that’s right. The Red Sox are on pace for 36 grand slams, all after hitting zero a year ago. What the Red Sox are currently doing with the bases loaded is nothing short of murderous. Overall, as a team, the Red Sox are batting .450 with the bases loaded. Hanley Ramirez, Rafael Devers, Mitch Moreland, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts are a combined 8-for-11 (a .727 average) with four homers and 24 RBI.
120: Times the Red Sox have struck out this year, the lowest total in the American League. Yes, you read that correctly. The Sox hit for power and don’t strike out, which suddenly makes them a lineup of Joe DiMaggios. At this point, it’s reasonable to wonder if New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is going to strike out more than the 2018 Red Sox.
5: Errors committed by the Sox this year, fewest in the American League and second-fewest to only the Arizona Diamondbacks in all of baseball. Even without starter Xander Bogaerts, the Sox are one of only five teams in the game to have played the entire season without an error at shortstop. And it’s worth noting that Hanley Ramirez has been flawless at first base.
10: Home runs allowed by Red Sox starters this year, tied with the Philadelphia Phillies for fewest in the game. So just to summarize – the Sox hit the ball out of the ballpark and don’t strike out, all while their pitchers keep the ball in play better than any other team in the game save one. Is this really a fair fight?
3: Stolen bases for the reinvented Ramirez, who predicted a 30-30 season at the start of the year and currently ranks tied for seventh in the American League in steals. At the moment, Ramirez is on pace for 27 homers and 27 steals, but let’s not quibble. If he checks in with that kind of season, we will all happily round the numbers upward.
.983: Don’t look now, but it’s the OPS of newcomer J.D. Martinez, who suddenly looks like the kind of mid-order presence the Sox so desperately needed. After a slow start to the spring and season, Martinez is hitting .396 in his last dozen games, going 19-for-48 with four doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI. He’s on pace for exactly 36 home runs.
.203: Meanwhile, the batting average of New York Yankees outfielder and slugger extraordinaire Giancarlo Stanton, who actually managed to get a hit last night (a single, 1-for-3) without striking out. The game marked just the fourth time this year that Stanton has played without whiffing.
I mean, what fun it would be to celebrate the play of the Red Sox without poking fun at least once at the Yankees?
— By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
You can hear Mazz weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program, and from 6-7 p.m. on The Baseball Reporters. And you can get a closer look every Tuesday and Friday with the Behind The Seams blog. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.