Let's not get ahead of ourselves by putting the Red Sox in the World Series just yet but through six games over two roads trips with a record of 4-2, they've been better than expected.
At this time in 2012, Boston was 1-5 and in 2011 they were 0-6. The last time the Red Sox started off the season better was in 2006 at 5-1. With a team coming off a 69-win season with so many question marks and such low expectations, this start has been surprising, welcome and actually fun to watch. You do have to factor in the fact that the Yankees are so injury depleted and the Blue Jays were without Jose Bautista but the Red Sox still took two out of three games in each series, on the road against division rivals which, of course, is the optimal recipe for success if sustained throughout the season.
Again the sample size is small but through six games the positives have far outweighed the negatives. The starting pitching has been good, highlighted by Buchholz in Game 2 and Lester yesterday afternoon in Game 6. The defense has been spectacular with no errors yet this season. The bullpen has been solid especially the back of the pen with Uehara, Bailey and Hanrahan. The biggest surprise has been the offense and amount of runs this team put up without David Ortiz in the middle of the line-up.
Obviously the injury to John Lackey is a concern due to one of the problems I highlighted in a previous blog…depth. Outside of Alfredo Aceves, who could fill that role, but as we all know is a wildcard, all you have is minor league pitchers who are unproven at the big league level. It's tough too because right up to that injury, Lackey actually looked at his best since putting on a Red Sox jersey. The reports were a little more encouraging as of yesterday but we'll just have to wait and see.
I'll stress this again: it's early. There's still 156 games left. But through six games at 4-2 with today being Opening Day at Fenway and the way the Red Sox have played so far this year, it's tough not to be excited about this team in the present. Another divisional foe in the Baltimore Orioles is in town as Fenway opens its gates for the first time in 2013 this afternoon. Let's hope the early success on the road continues in Boston.
Opening Day at Fenway 2013 starting pitchers: Boston, Clay Buchholz vs. Baltimore, Wei-Yin Chen