The Boston Red Sox are the best team in baseball right now. But that revelation doesn’t do their first 18 games justice.
The Red Sox finished off a thorough beatdown of the Angels on Thursday night, winning 8-2 to complete a three-game sweep which read like a football score: Boston 27, Los Angeles 3. They now stand at 16-2, the best record in the majors by three full games, and are riding the league’s longest win streak at seven games.
So, just how dominant has this club been under new manager Alex Cora? With the disclaimer that, yes, it’s still early, here are seven stats to put their early success into perspective.
— The Red Sox are just the seventh team since 1900 to win 16 of their first 18 games. The last two teams to start 16-2 — the 1984 Detroit Tigers and 1955 Los Angeles Dodgers — both won the World Series.
— Cora is the only manager to go 16-2 in his first 18 games with a new team to start the season. Thursday’s win moved him past Felipe Alou, who guided the San Francisco Giants to a 15-2 start in 2003.
— Boston has a plus-66 run differential through 18 games. That’s 29 more runs than their next-closest competitor, the Toronto Blue Jays (plus-37). At this current pace, the Red Sox would finish with a plus-594 differential, the best in major league history.
— The Sox already have hit four grand slams this season, their most in any season before May 1. The major league record for most grand slams in a season is 14 (2006 Cleveland Indians and 2000 Oakland Athletics); right now, Boston is on pace for 36.
— Boston’s offense has scored a major-league best 116 runs this season. The club is on pace to score 1,044 runs, just 23 shy of the 1935 New York Yankees’ record of 1,067 runs.
— The Red Sox’s starters own a 1.98 ERA through 18 games, having allowed just 22 earned runs in 100 innings pitched. For reference, only 12 individual pitchers in the American League have ERAs under 2.00, which means the entire Red Sox rotation essentially is a top-of-the-line AL starter.
— Mookie Betts leads all of baseball in batting average (.391), slugging percentage (.797), OPS (1.277) and runs scored (22) and is tied with Mike Trout for the league lead in Wins Above Replacement (1.5).
What we’re trying to say is, the Red Sox have been historically good out of the gate. They boast the game’s hottest hitter, the best starting rotation and the best offense. Sure, they’ve played some easy competition, but they went a combined 5-1 against the (supposedly) strong Yankees and AL West-leading Angels.
It’s a long season, obviously, and there will be some downs along the way. But do yourself a favor and enjoy this historic upswing.
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