Red Sox hot start shouldn’t distract fans from these big question marks

Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels
Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have completed their 10-game swing out West. With their home opener at Fenway Park slated for the afternoon of April 9, many predictions were made about where the Sox would stand. Almost none included a 7-3 record en route to second place in the AL East.

But the scorching hot Red Sox will take on the Baltimore Orioles to commence divisional play. While it's essential to note Boston has certainly defied the odds at the start of their 2024 campaign, it's still too early to celebrate just yet. And it showed on Opening Day at Fenway Park.

Their early competition has been far from impressive. The Sox played all 10 games against opponents who were held out of the 2023 postseason. The Oakland Athletics are arguably the worst team in baseball, while the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels are considered middle-of-the-pack squads. Last season, those three teams posted a combined record of 211-275 in the bottom of the AL West. If the Sox stay hot against their divisional foes throughout the rest of April, there may be something in the water in Boston. Until then, proceed with caution.

Boston's start has also showcased some shocking performances. The most notable among them is from Tyler O'Neill, who is already more than halfway to his long-ball total last season after smashing six home runs while batting .357/.514/.893. When Craig Breslow dealt minor-league arms Nick Robertson and Victor Santos for the two-time Gold Glove winner, he may not have expected the slugger to be one of Boston's primary contributors. He's been just that for the Sox thus far, but it's unlikely he keeps on this pace.

The Red Sox shot off to a good start to the season, but can it stick against quality opponents?

On the bump, Tanner Houck has yet to allow an earned run through a pair of starts. He's been the highlight of an electric rotation under new pitching coach Andrew Bailey, whose staff has logged a league-leading 1.72 combined ERA.

Even Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin have been exceptional out of the bullpen and Jansen has already posted a trio of saves. This strong showing seems to be an immediate reflection of Bailey's new pitching tactics, but again---the Red Sox have set an absurd standard to keep up with as they begin to meet the mettle in the AL East.

Additionally, Boston already faced some significant injury trouble as Trevor Story will miss the rest of the season and Nick Pivetta was placed on the injured list with a flexor strain. The Red Sox plan to platoon Romy González and David Hamilton at short for now. Hamilton crushed his first career home run after making an error in the field against the Angels and he made a similar one against the Orioles on Opening Day at Fenway.

Even after their Opening Day loss to the Orioles, it's okay to be excited about the Red Sox. Baseball is back, the spring air is warm, and nothing is better than Fenway Park on a sunny day. However, before we start talking about playoff berths, this team still has much to prove.

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