BOSTON — The only thing more astounding than the rate at which the Red Sox win? The rate at which they avoid losing.
One of the many astounding elements of the 2018 Sox has been their success when it feels like they should win.
Bad teams win against good teams in baseball, because it's a sport where the best teams win only 60 to maybe 70 percent of the time. The Sox are besting even the latter percentage when facing scrubs.
They’re 41-14 (.745) against teams with a record less than .500, per Baseball-Reference.com, after Saturday night's 10-4 victory over the Twins. But that's not all. Give them the lead, give them the W.
When the the Sox score first, they're 50-7. When they lead after six innings, they’re 60-4. They're 3-1 in extra innings at home.
They rarely miss, as a group or individually. Mookie Betts doesn’t misfire on hittable pitches, at least not as often as he once did. In the past, he was prone to pop ups on pitches he could do damage on.
His walk-off home run came on Friday in a 4-3, 10-inning win over the Twins on a fastball down the pipe that he clocked on the nose.
“I still miss my fair share,” Betts said. “This year has just been a lot of work, a lot of practice to be able to connect more. It's a product of the work I put in.”
Mistakes happen, but they rarely feel costly, for Betts or otherwise. Comebacks, meanwhile, seem exclusively the Sox’ province, rather than their opponents.
That’s what made Craig Kimbrel’s blown save in the ninth inning Friday — and the suddenly real potential for a three-game losing streak — so odd in the moment. The Sox haven’t exactly looked human for much of this year. They’ve been a wagon.
So, naturally, they rolled on. The Twins took a 3-2 lead in the ninth off Kimbrel and Rafael Devers answered with a screaming line drive to right field off Fernando Rodney in the bottom of the ninth, a home run to tie the game an inning before Betts won it.
The Sox aren’t unique in this kind of success. The Yankees are 55-0 when leading after eight innings and 47-8 when they score first . But, the Yanks are only 29-17 against opponents with a win percentage less than .500 after Saturday's doubleheader split -- at home -- against the 40-games-under-.500 Royals.
The sense the Sox will get it done does seem to reach all corners of Fenway Park these days, from the mound to the stands.
"It’s hard not to kind of look around a little bit and see everybody standing on their feet and going crazy," said Chris Sale, who turned in another strong outing to extend an absurd run. "I don’t know how loud it is, what the decibel is but it’s up there, and we appreciate it. We feed off that. That’s the energy, that’s where the adrenaline comes from. The happiness, the fun, everything you’re looking for as an athlete is brought by that."