The Boston Red Sox have been playing far beyond expectations to start the 2013 season. The Red Sox beat the Houston Astros 6-1 on Sunday to improve to 18-7 on the year. The 18 wins ties a club record for the most victories in the month of April.
Sunday’s result was doubly as impressive because it marked John Lackey’s first win since August 23, 2011. Lackey missed all of 2012 following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, then missed most of the opening month of this season with a strained right biceps. On Sunday he went six innings, and allowed one earned run and five hits while walking two and striking out four. It only took him 81 pitches to get through those six innings and he lowered his ERA to 2.61 on the year.
After jettisoning a significant portion of their payroll via a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in August of last season, the Red Sox have actually improved significantly. Sunday’s win finished off a four-game home sweep over the Astros.
Boston currently has the best record in baseball, and sits two-and-a-half games ahead of the New York Yankees in the American League East. Overall, the Red Sox are two games ahead of the Texas Rangers for the best record in the majors.
It really is astonishing that the Red Sox dumped Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett on the Dodgers, yet have somehow plugged the holes and actually improved. Guys like Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli have stepped up, while David Ortiz is murdering the ball when he has actually played (he’s hitting .516 in the eight games he has played). Dustin Pedroia is also looking like his old self, with a .330 average and a .438 on-base percentage so far.
As shocking as it may be, the Red Sox appear to be for real. They are also playing in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, which means they’re motivated to win for their city. We wouldn’t be surprised if they hanging around all season.