Red Sox

Drellich: Red Sox aren't what their record says they are

Drellich: Red Sox aren't what their record says they are

The Red Sox are better than their bottom line. They’re a good team masked by a mediocre 17-15 record.

No one could rightly suggest the Sox have played a brand of baseball that’s inspiring, or mesmerizing, aside from the days Chris Sale pitches. Third base has been an awful cartoon.

Still, whether the early results are reflective of the team’s outlook for another five months is a different question.

What results are you looking at?

The Sox have the second-highest batting average in the majors, .276. Their on-base percentage is .345. Even their slugging percentage is creeping up now, to 11th place, at .411. Don’t let the 16th-best runs-per-game average, 4.53, fool you.

Wait. Just wait. Last year’s 93-win team -- and the similarities between a middling start to this season and last -- should give you pause.

The 2016 Sox weren’t wire-to-wire runaways, and struggled through some serious starting pitching trouble in the first half. (Thus leading us into the Drew Pomeranz era.)

In April, in fact, the team looked wholly ho-hum. May was the first time you could start to buy in, with an 18-10 record. But the Sox didn’t actually separate themselves until September, when they went 19-8.

Remember the projections entering this year? The belief was the Sox would have better pitching and a drop-off in hitting, while nonetheless continuing on as one of the best hitting clubs.

That’s exactly what’s happened.

Through 32 games a year ago, the Sox were 19-13 and tied for first place. That’s a two-game difference in the won-loss record from how they woke up on May 10, 2016.

Their overall ERA today is eighth, at 3.76. They had a 4.22 ERA through 32 games last season, the 19th-best mark.

Last season through 32 games they already led the majors in average (.284) and slugging percentage (.463), while they were third in OBP (.345). That translated to 5.31 runs per game, third most.

The greatest difference between this year and last for the Sox, besides David Freaking Ortiz?

They’re already five games out in the American League East. But hot starts for the Orioles and the Yankees don't somehow preclude the Sox from their own success. A division title may be harder to win this year, but the Sox aren't all of a sudden mediocre because their competition improved.

The O’s have won six in a row now, a team bound to compete but also bound to cool. The Sox, meanwhile, are bound to score more runs -- and ultimately win more games.

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

New Red Sox manager Alex Cora has announced that, as expected, left-hander Chris Sale will be the Opening Day starter when the Red Sox begin their season nine days from now against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. David Price will pitch the second game and Rick Porcello the third. 

Cora told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. that Eduardo Rodriguez would be in the fourth starter's spot if he's ready as he continues to recover from off-season knee surgery and left-hander Brian Johnson is preparing to be the fifth starter for now.

In Price's second Grapefruit League start on Tuesday, he pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out four in the Red Sox' 12-6 victory over the Pirates. Third baseman Rafael Devers, hitting .349 this spring, hit his third home run of the spring. Andrew Benintendi (.405) had a double and two RBI and first baseman Sam Travis drove in three. 

Sale had a much rougher outing Monday, giving up four runs on five hits, with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings against the Phillies. 



Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

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“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.