With all the talk about the effect that John Farrell's return to the Red Sox would have on the Boston pitching staff, so far it's been highly over-rated.
The Sox are seventh in the league with a team ERA of 3.84. Their starters are fourth in the league with a 3.79 ERA and their bullpen is 11th in the AL with a 3.94 ERA.
The key to the success of the Red Sox this season have been their bats and credit for that certainly needs to go to hitting coach Gregg Colbrunn and his assistant, Victor Rodriguez (and very high marks to GM Ben Cherington who has put together a terrific assortment of "chemists").
- The Red Sox lead the majors 363 runs scored.
- They are tied with the Orioles with 155 doubles, the most in the majors.
- They are tied with the Rays and Indians with 80 homers, the sixth most in the majors.
- They are second to the A's, 277 to 273 walks.
- They are second to the Padres, 61 to 57 steals.
- They are second to the Cards, 205 to 184 hits with runners in scoring position.
- They are tied for second in the AL with the A's with bases loaded hits, but lead the majors with 66 bases loaded RBI.
- The Sox are tied with the Tigers for the league lead with a .285 June batting average.
- They lead the AL 156 June hits, 13 more than the A's who are in second place.
- They lead the AL with 23 June homers
- They lead the AL with 88 RBI, 28 more than the Jays who are second with 60 ribbies.
The Individual Plusses
One of the other keys to the Red Sox offensive success is the variety of players who have been hot at different times throughout the season.
- For example, while the Sox and the Phillies only have four homers each from the number three slot in the batting order, the fewest in baseball, the Sox have Dustin Pedroia who's hitting .319, the best of any #3 in the AL not named Miguel Cabrera.
- And they have David Ortiz who has driven home 14 runs in June, the most in the AL, despite a .220 batting average.
- Jacoby Ellsbury, in his walk year, has been running. He's tied with Everth Cabrera for the MLB lead with 31 steals and tied with Mike Trout for the AL lead in triples with six.
- Mike Napoli has been an RBI machine providing clutch hits, particularly in the early going.
- Don't forget the great fielding Jose Iglesias who has a 17-game hitting streak, the longest for any rookie this season, and is hitting .438 in 99 PA this season.
- Daniel Nava is one of the great "who's thats?" of this season, but is deserving of some AL All-Star write-in votes. Nava is hitting .288 on the season and his 44 RBI are third on the team to Ortiz' and Napoli's 49, but 24 of the RBI have come from the 7th inning on and Nava leads the majors in that category. His 38 RBI as an outfielder puts him eight among all MLB outfielders. And, his .378 OBP ranks 10th among all outfielders (he has a .383 OBP overall).
- Mike Carp has hit eight homers in 105 AB and is slugging .686 to go with his .324 BA.
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia is hitting .271 overall and improving behind the plate and the switch-hitter is hitting .303 as a lefty.
So, through an assortment of pieces the Red Sox have put together three strong first months of the season.
But is that enough to get them through the year?
Tomorrow, I look at the minuses of the Boston ball club, starting with the starting pitching.