The Blue Jays have a two-game series in Boston. The Red Sox are 10-6, in first place in the AL. They are second in the AL in runs per game at 5.31 (Jays are tenth at 4.12) and fourth in runs allowed per game at 4.00 (Jays are second at 3.56 runs).
I sent some questions off to Matt Collins from Beyond the Boxscore, SB Nations Red Sox blog.
The Red Sox are (as I type this) the only AL East team above .500. What is going right? Can they keep it up?
There are a few things happening to get to this point, some more sustainable than others. Part of it is they had a bit of a soft schedule, with the Rays scuffling a bit when they played and then the Orioles. But they’ve also played well, and specifically, they’ve pitched very well. The rotation was the major question mark for the roster coming into the year, but that was more about health. The upside was there, and for the most part, we’re seeing it. Of course, health remains a question and we’ll see how long they can stay healthy. And then the offense has been good, particularly with their core at the top, and that should be able to remain consistent all year.
What does the community think about the Marathon jerseys?
That is very much a split opinion. There are definitely some that are not at all fans of what the Red Sox were wearing over the weekend. It’s certainly understandable too, as the Red Sox have not really changed up their uniforms at all in their history and their colors are their colors. Going so far against the grain is always going to cause a lot of people to react poorly. On the other hand, I loved them and there are plenty who are on that side as well. The Marathon is such an important part of the community, so making that connection, to me, is phenomenal.
Can we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers we are likely to see?
So it’s setting up for Eduardo Rodriguez and Garrett Richards to get the starts. Rodriguez started the year a little bit late as he was dealing with some dead-arm issues at the end of camp. When he’s totally healthy he’s the best pitcher on this roster, but there have been some hiccups in his return. His velocity is down a bit, which has made him more hittable. He’s still been able to pitch well, and long-term there isn’t much concern for his stuff, but in this upcoming start it could still be an issue. Richards, meanwhile, has been the worst Red Sox starter so far. He’s dealt with some control issues that have caused him to labor a bit more than you’d like to see.
Alex Verdugo has been one of those guys I’ve followed for a while. What do you guys think of him?
Verdugo is definitely one of the fan favorites on this Red Sox team. He came into a nearly impossible situation having to replace Mookie Betts, but he did the best he possibly could have with that situation. He plays with a high energy that fans certainly love, and he’s a good sparkplug at the top of the lineup. There’s not a ton of power, but he has enough and makes good contact that he can parlay into extra-base hits.
Just between you and me, I won’t tell anyone, how much glee are you taking in the Yankees’ early season troubles.
I have no problem sharing the giddiness I’m getting from all of this. Granted, I’m not at all convinced it will last, but I’ll certainly enjoy it while it does.
Anything else we ought to know about the 2021 Red Sox?
I think that about covers everything. Despite the rollercoaster so far I think most see them as something around a .500 team, so while they’re going about it in a strange way that’s still the kind of team they’re looking like.