BOSTON -- With the first month of the season coming to a close, Boston finds itself half a game behind Baltimore for first place and 2.5 games ahead of the third place Rays.
With the question marks surrounding the pitching staff behind David Price entering the season, among other issues, the Red Sox are in a much better position than initially expected.
John Farrell credits much of the early success to his potent offense.
“[We] finished better than we started; I think the biggest thing is that guys in our lineup have developed that trust in one another,” he said. “There [are] some elements to our offense that’ve been very encouraging. The all-field approach and the way we’ve run the bases [have] been very consistent.”
It’s undeniable that the newfound consistency to the pitching staff has been a huge help -- although Farrell did note Clay Buchholz needs to get the ball rolling.
“The last two turns through the rotation have been more consistent. We’ve been able to give our guys in the bullpen a little bit more regular rest,” Farrell said. “I like the fact that we’ve added to the depth of power arms in our bullpen. We still have room for improvement we know that.
Entering the final game of the opening series against New York, the Red Sox and the Orioles are the only AL East teams with winning records against their inter-division rivals.
Even though they’ve performed better than anticipated, a case can be made that the Red Sox should sit in first place.
Tampa Bay shut them out in the opener, and won the final game of the series that was powered by a rare David Price implosion.
Toronto won the final two games of the second season series by the skin of its teeth, narrowly avoiding Red Sox comebacks in the ninth inning of each game.
Baltimore won the first game of its opening series in Boston thanks to a ninth inning home run.
New York has one game left before both teams leave town and, weather permitting, Boston has a chance to start May off properly -- by disposing of the only team in the AL East stuck with single digit wins.
With the ups and downs for the five AL East teams, Farrell doesn’t expect there will be disparity in the division.
“Every team has got their strengths,” he said. “We don’t expect this to be a huge separation among any of the five teams here. We’re all probably searching to sure up areas that we’re in need of. That first starts with making the necessary adjustments with the guys that are on our roster right now. Not that we’re going to make wholesale changes.”