It will be commonplace around Boston this week to hear things like, “Man, I hope the All-Star break doesn’t cool these guys off!” And that’s fair enough. The Red Sox have been hotter than the steam coming from the grill of The Sausage King on Lansdowne Street these past few weeks as they are 12-2 so far in the month of July. Their 68 wins are the most in baseball – with three more than the Houston Astros, who have the second most. When you consider that not one team in the National League has even gotten to 60 wins yet, you start to realize just how dominant this Red Sox team has been this year.
With almost every single meaningful stat, this team is putting up phenomenal numbers. The Sox have a run-differential of plus-160. Only the Astros are better, owning a run-differential of plus-191.
Also, unlike some great Red Sox teams of the past this group is doing just as well away from Fenway Park as it is at home. The Sox are a sterling 34-17 this season on the road, and are 34-13 at the Fens.
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The starting pitching and the pitching out of the bullpen for the Sox this season has been strong, but make no mistake about it. The giant difference between this year and last is that the Sox are mashing the baseball.
It was not always like this for Red Sox
It’s crazy to think that just a year ago, the Sox were ranking in the basement in nearly all power categories. JD Martinez has helped that a ton, of course, but even with Martinez removed from the equation the Sox are hammering the ball much better this season. The Sox lead MLB in runs scored with 525. They are second in home runs, behind the Yankees, with 133. They are first in RBIs with 500. And they are third in OBP with a .338 mark.
At this time last year, Mookie Betts had 16 homers. This year he’s already at 23 – and that’s even having missed a good chunk of late May and early June with a left abdominal strain.
And the steadiness of Xander Bogaerts at the plate this season has been just as crucial for the Sox, as at the All-Star break last season Bogaerts had just six home runs and 42 RBIs. Those numbers have climbed to 16 homers and 64 RBIs at the break this year. The highlight of the first half for Bogaerts came Saturday, when the 25-year-old (it’s easy to forget sometimes that the guy is still just 25) belted the Red Sox’ first walk off grand slam in extra innings since Jim Rice cracked one on the Fourth of July, 1984.