Clay BuchholzThe Red Sox are sitting pretty atop the American League East standings, and the early returns of this season suggest they’ll be there to stay.

Thanks in large part to the top of the team’s rotation, the Sox have been able to regain the form that made them top contenders in years past — and that they lost down the stretch in 2011 and never found during a lackluster 2012 campaign.

With Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester looking like aces once again in 2013, however, the Red Sox appear to be the real deal once more.

With that in mind, Don Orsillo dove into the mailbag to see what fans are thinking during the team’s hot start.

How long does it take for you and Remdawg to prepare for the nightly game with statistical facts and player info?
— Harry Ellis

I am not sure about Jerry, but I can speak for myself. Generally, it starts as soon as I wake up, when I head online and read for about 90 minutes. I read all of our sites and then the team’s we are currently playing as well as the team’s we will play next. That way, I stay up-to-date on us, the other team and the team we are about to see. Then once I get to the park we meet with John Farrell and players as well as the opposing manager. I like to see many players on the other side that I know from past experience. Then it generally takes me around 30 minutes to fill in my scorecard with all the stats and info that I have gathered throughout the day.

I get the impression you and Jerry laugh even more when the mics are off than you do when they are on. Is that an accurate guess?
— Alan Brown

I would say that is pretty right on. We have a great deal of fun on the air but much more off. We spend every day together for seven months, basically, and we have a very good relationship. It takes time to build a relationship, and Jerry and I now have 13 years of experience working together as a team.

What Red Sox jersey do you wear casually (what player) if you wear a Sox jersey at any point?
— Jake Pendleton

I am sort of past the point of wearing Sox jerseys around the house, but I can say that for years No. 24 — for my favorite player of all time, Dwight Evans — was the one I went with. I had the chance to work with him in 2009 as a fill-in announcer for Jerry.

Dwight Evans

Where is your favorite booth to do a game from?
— Marc Burke

Yankee Stadium, Anaheim Stadium, Citizens Bank Park and Camden Yards are probably the top four. Besides Fenway, the old Yankee Stadium was the best. Multiple reasons for all. Mostly sight lines, proximity to the field, work space and atmosphere.

Don, do you think the Red Sox will be able to compete with teams like Texas and Baltimore this year?
— Adam Gilfix

I think they absolutely can. I do not think the trip to Texas changes my mind much. I think you can add Detroit to that list as well. I am pleasantly surprised with how good the Sox have been this season and now reserve the right to change my mind on our spring training predictions. This team is better and deeper than it appeared on paper. I think any time you have two top-tier starters on the front end like Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, your ability to compete with teams you mentioned is very possible.

Are they really going to trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia?
— Bond MacEoghain

I originally thought that was possible when the Sox had four catchers in the offseason (Saltalamacchia, Mike Napoli, Ryan Lavarnway and David Ross). Now the way things have worked out, the tandem the Sox have gone with has been solid, and David Ross has become a great team leader. That is hard to do from a backup role, but John Farrell has described him as an extension of the coaching staff. I think Salty stays.