Starting in August of last season and through the 2012-13 offseason, Ben Cherington set about changing a toxic culture in the Red Sox organization. Blockbuster trades that shed the team of underperforming and cancerous influences combined with both a complete overhaul of the coaching staff and a smart, judicious acquisitions gave the 2013 a shot at respectability.
For any fan who has followed baseball you know it a marathon not a sprint. Nevertheless, getting off to a quick, clean start is as important as the kick down the stretch. A quick look at Boston’s offensive, pitching and defensive numbers tell a clear story of their first week’s success.
Boston’s staff ERA of 2.95 is ninth in the majors and first by a long shot in the AL East. The Orioles are second in the AL East, 22nd in the majors, with a team 4.57 ERA. In 2012 Boston was 27th in the majors with a 4.70 ERA.
Boston’s team batting average is .282, 4th best in the majors. Their on base percentage of .361 is second in the majors. Likewise their on base plus slugging percentage, helped primarily by Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava and Mike Napoli over the past few days, is 4th best in the majors. In 2012 Boston was 10th, 22nd and 11th respectively.
The Sox are also being much more patient than in 2012. In 2012 Red Sox batters drew a total of 428 walks, next to last in the league. After one week they are on pace to draw 620 walks, nearly 50 more than the number one team in 2012, the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox are in a four-way tie for first place in fielding percentage in 2013. They have not made an error this season. In 2012 Boston was 13th in the league with a .983 fielding percentage.
Yes, it’s only a week. This team may, however, be much better than we thought.