While just eight games into the 2018 baseball season, the Boston Red Sox appear to have cut losing out of their diet. The club has won their last seven games after dropping what looked like a sure win on Opening Day March 29.
What has kept the club on their war path has been their starting pitching. Composed of two Cy Young Award-winning pitchers in David Price and Rick Porcello, the Red Sox may have the best starting rotation in all of baseball. Following their eighth game in the 2017 season, the Red Sox pitching staff had allowed 32 runs. After their eighth game this season on Saturday, the Red Sox pitching staff had only been tagged for 19 runs, an AL best.
The effectiveness of the Red Sox rotation has been capitalized by the early success of David Price. Price, who spent most of last season on the disabled list, has pitched two seven-inning shutout starts this season. He struck out 10 batters in his 14 innings of scoreless baseball, as well as picking up a win in his first appearance.
The Red Sox have faced just the Tampa Bay Rays and the Miami Marlins, so it is difficult to arrive at a reasonable prediction for how the rest of their season will pan out, but the Sox are rolling in Florida. The team is no stranger to the state, considering their spring training facility in Ft. Myers has found early success on the road. It was touching to see David Price show up his former Tampa Bay Rays, and then see Hanley Ramirez outplay his former Marlins. The Sox are 5-1 on the road. If the Red Sox road record was considered a team in the AL Central, the first place Minnesota Twins (4-3) would find themselves runners-up.
This season may be a comeback year for Rick Porcello. Porcello won the coveted Cy Young award for the Red Sox in his impressive 2016 campaign. Porcello won an MLB best 22 games that season. Last season the 29-year-old righty posted a 11-17 record, and led the league in losses. This season Porcello has won both of his decisions and sports a 2.84 ERA. In Saturday’s game, Porcello retired 17 consecutive batters and struck out seven.
The hitting for the Red Sox has been led by shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts had a monster game Saturday against the Rays in which he went 2-3 with a grand slam, a walk and six RBIs in the 10-3 win. Third baseman Rafael Devers and left fielder J.D. Martinez each hit their first home runs of the season in the game. Bogaerts currently leads the team in hits (13), home runs (2), runs batted in (9) and batting average (.371).
In the pipeline for the Red Sox is a test of how well the club can perform against teams outside of Florida. The Sox will face their longtime rival New York Yankees in a three-game homestand that begins on Tuesday, April 10 and concludes Thursday, April 12.