The sheer fact that the Red Sox had the worst record in baseball nearly three weeks into the season and are now in a nip-and-tuck battle with Philadelphia for the best is a pretty good indication that they have been a superior unit for the better part of two months.
If anyone needs more proof of that superiority beyond the 37-16 record since April 15, they can look to this most recent run of dominance on the road. When out of their element, when tired, when weary, when living out of hotels and when missing family, the Red Sox have become a virtually unstoppable ballclub.
Consider that after Sunday's 14-1 pasting of the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston's ninth consecutive win overall, the club has won 14 out of 16 games on the road. They have scored at least 11 runs five times and at least 14 runs four times. The scoring average during the surge is 7.6 runs per game.
As far as guests go, these guys are pretty rude.
Over the weekend in Toronto, the Red Sox scored 35 runs on 46 hits. There were six home runs, 10 doubles, one triple and 16 walks against Blue Jays' pitching. The fact that it was hardly noticeable that the Boston starters went 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in the series speaks to how thunderous the bats have been. They have completely overshadowed the men in the middle. The latest to have a solid start rendered an afterthought was Jon Lester, who gave credit for being able to attack with ease.
"It's great when you can work with a lead like that," Lester said after yielding just one run on two hits in eight fantastic innings Sunday.
This is the kind of roll that can make oddballs out of the few guys who don't contribute. It actually becomes notable when someone fails to get a hit — like Jed Lowrie did on Saturday and J.D. Drew on Sunday. Certainly, they heard it from the fellas.
And what about those three that went down in order against Blue Jays infielder Mike McCoy on Saturday? They probably won't hear the end of it for months. They'll get heat like the buddy who never showed up to the party that had it all.
All that means is that everyone else has been partying for weeks.
"It's great, man. Pretty much everyone is locked in right now," said David Ortiz, who has four home runs and an astronomical 13 RBIs in the first six games of the current road trip. "We went through some struggles at the beginning of the season but we've got good hitters, guys who are capable of figuring it out. That's what's going on right now."
Someone like manager Terry Francona, who has been a part of thousands of games, knows that this cannot last. Because of that, he sees the value in these runaway wins, especially in what should be difficult environments away from Fenway Park.
"Anytime you can win, we'll take it any way, especially on the road," Francona said. "But when we can win and stay away from [Daniel] Bard and [Jonathan] Papelbon, that's kind of a bonus. Now we have a well-deserved day off and we're going to a place that's been really tough for us to win."
That place is Tampa, or St. Petersburg, to be precise, where Tropicana Field lies in wait. Including the clinching game of the 2008 American League Championship Series, Boston has dropped 20 of its last 28 games at The Trop.
However, not once in that time — or likely any time before it — has the home of the Rays hosted a group on such a roll. The Red Sox are scary good right now.