Yesterday's destruction of the Cleveland Indians is clearly the high-water mark of the Boston Red Sox' 2011 season thus far. In decisively winning their 10th of 12 games, the Sox are now a major-league-best 25-12 since starting the season 2-10. They and Cleveland are the only AL teams with a winning percentage above .600 in that span, another sign of the bizarre parity we're seeing in baseball this year.
In pulling themselves back into the race — they are the best second-place team in all of baseball right now — the Sox have also pulled themselves back to their accustomed position at or near the top of the leaderboards. Yesterday's pummeling single-handedly pushed up the Sox' team OPS 15 points, and as a result, the Sox are now second in the AL to the Yankees in team OPS and third to New York and Cleveland in runs. They are second in hits to the Angels, second in doubles to the Royals (what?), and tied for second in home runs to New York. They are also tied with the Yankees for first in walks, and just seven total bases behind the Yankees for the league lead.
The pitching, on the other hand, still has a way to go. Although second in K/9, the Sox are at or below the league average in every other category. That might be misleading, thanks to how amazingly bad John Lackey (8.01 ERA), Dan Wheeler (9.24), Bobby Jenks (9.35) and Dennys Reyes (16.20) were in their combined 62.1 innings pitched (60 earned runs, 8.66 ERA). If they had allowed a still-terrible 5.05 ERA instead, the Sox' team ERA would plummet from 4.08 to 3.78.
At any rate, the Sox, now 10-5 in the sunlight, move to Detroit for a four-game series that includes two afternoon games, beginning with today's opener. The 2-10 start is nothing more than a bad dream. At 27-22, the Sox are ahead of the pace set by playoff clubs from 1916, 1967, 1988 and 1990, matching the pace of the 2005 Sox and one game behind the clubs from 1975, 1995 and 2009.
Feel free to use this thread to comment on this afternoon's action.