We are a mere 6.8 percent of the way through the season. Eleven games in a marathon 162-contest season. Up can still be down, left can still be right, white can still appear black. One hundred fifty-one games from now, we’ll know how many of the following trends or trouble spots were legitimate.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka in his last 16.1 innings has walked five, struck out 19 and given up just one run, his best such stretch since last June, when he went 22 innings, allowing one run with four walks and 25 strikeouts over three starts.
- Entering the season, David Ortiz only twice in his career had grounded into a double play in consecutive games. Not only has he done it twice this year alone, today was his third consecutive game with a double play and fifth in six games. Only seven times in the last 52 years has a Red Sox batter had a streak any longer than three. Jim Rice and Nomar Garciaparra hold the record with five.
- Manny Ramirez hit his second home run in the Red Sox’ 12th game of the season, faster than any year since 2004 (in his ninth game, hitting 43 homers that year). He’s reached 11 RBI faster than in any season since 2001 (10th game, 125 RBI in 142 games). His nine extra-base hits in 12 games is his best rate to begin a season since 1998, when he hit 35 doubles and 45 home runs.
- Josh Beckett’s last two starts against New York: 13.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 12 K (2.63 ERA). Much better than his previous six: 32.2 IP, 48 H, 30 ER, 16 BB, 25 K (8.26 ERA).
- Jonathan Papelbon likes April: 28.2 career innings, 0 ER.
- With Beckett, Matsuzaka, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, the Sox have four principal starters under age 30 for the first time since 1997 (Aaron Sele/Tom Gordon/Jeff Suppan/Steve Avery, and Tim Wakefield was 30). Hopefully, this group turns out a little better than that one, of which only Gordon finished the year with an ERA under 5. Nothing beats 1915, though, when the Sox had five starters under 30, each of whom qualified for the ERA title. You might have heard of Ernie Shore, Rube Foster, Babe Ruth, Dutch Leonard and Smokey Joe Wood.
[P.S. I hope to be around a little more now. I’ve been a little busy this week.]