Can anyone stop the Red Sox?
The Red Sox kept rolling Friday night, beating the A's, 7-3, to win their eighth game in a row, following their sweep of the Angels with another victory. Boston is 17-2, extending the best start in franchise history.
As the team's incredible run continues, MLB.com takes a look at 10 of the most impressive facts and figures about the Red Sox this season.
1. The 2018 Red Sox are just the fifth team in the live-ball era, which began in 1920, to win at least 17 of their first 19 games. And they're the first team in more than 30 years to do so. The other four teams:
• 1987 Brewers: 17-2
• 1984 Tigers: 17-2
• 1981 A's: 17-2
• 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers: 17-2
Two of those four teams -- the 1984 Tigers (who won an incredible 35 of their first 40 games that year) and the 1955 Dodgers -- went on to win the World Series.
2. Even if you expand the time period to baseball's entire modern era -- since 1900 -- this Red Sox team is just the seventh to start 17-2 or better. The two other entries to the list: the 1918 New York Giants (18-1) and the 1911 Tigers (17-2).
3. It's hard to believe this team lost on Opening Day. Since then, the Red Sox have won 17 of 18 games, tying the club's best 18-game stretch in franchise history. That includes winning streaks of nine and eight games. The last time Boston had multiple winning streaks of at least eight games in a single season was in 1977, when it had four such streaks (one each in April, May, June and September).
The last time Boston went 17-1 in an 18-game stretch? Back in 1988, a run spanning from mid-July to early August. The '88 Red Sox used that run to make up a seven-game deficit in the AL East and eventually won the division. Aside from that, the only other Red Sox team to win 17 of 18 games at any point within a season was the 1946 Sox.
4. Boston has already outscored its opponents by 70 runs this season, by far the best run differential in the Majors. The Red Sox have scored 123 runs -- the most in MLB, with the Blue Jays next at 114 -- and they have allowed just 53, the third fewest of any team. The Astros are the next-closest team to Boston by run differential, and they're nearly 30 behind, at plus-43.
5. The Red Sox's plus-70 run differential is historically good. It's the fifth-highest run differential through a team's first 19 games in the modern era (since 1900). It's the best run differential by any team through 19 games since the 2003 Yankees.
Best run differential through 19 team games
Modern era (since 1900)
- 1905 New York Giants: +79
- 1902 Pirates: +77
- 1918 New York Giants: +75
- 2003 Yankees: +74
5. 2018 Red Sox: +70
6. Alex Cora is having unprecedented success for a rookie manager. In the modern era (since 1900), the only other skipper to win at least 17 of his first 19 games as an MLB manager was Joe Morgan -- also for the Red Sox, in 1988. (Morgan won 18 of those first 19 games.)
But Morgan was a midseason replacement for John McNamara, and those wins came in July and August. Cora is the first manager since 1900 to start a season with a new club by winning at least 17 of the first 19 games.
7. As a team, Boston leads the Major Leagues in batting average (.293), on-base percentage (.361), slugging percentage (.497) and OPS (.858). The Sox have also struck out in just 16.3 percent of plate appearances, the lowest rate of any team.
In their recent sweep of the Angels, the Red Sox mashed 11 home runs, with the highlight being a six-homer game in the series opener, which included three by Mookie Betts. Those 11 home runs are the most the Sox have hit in a three-game series since 1977, when they hit a team-record 16 against the Yankees from June 17-19.
And in Friday's series opener against the A's, Mitch Moreland hit Boston's fifth grand slam of the season. That makes the Red Sox the first team in MLB history to hit five grand slams in its first 19 games of the year. Only one other team has even hit five grand slams by the end of April -- the 1996 Expos, who had six.
8. The pitching has been almost as good as the hitting. Red Sox starting pitchers are 12-1 with a 2.17 ERA, the second lowest of any rotation in the Major Leagues, just barely behind the Astros' 2.15 mark. Boston's relievers, meanwhile, have not allowed a run in their last 19 1/3 innings pitched, and they've allowed just one run in their past 25 1/3 innings.
9. Betts is providing the Red Sox a huge spark at the top of the order. He leads the Major Leagues with a .382 batting average, a 1.234 OPS and 23 runs scored -- the second-most runs by a Red Sox player in the team's first 19 games going back to 1908. The only Boston player with more: Ted Williams, who scored 24 runs through 19 games in 1942. In the Angels series, Betts twice led off the game with a home run, extending his own franchise record for most leadoff home runs to 13.
And, of course, there was Betts' three-home-run game, which was the third of his career. The 25-year-old is just the third player in Major League history with three three-homer games before turning 26. The others: Boog Powell and Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner.
10. Boston's previous franchise record for most wins in the team's first 19 games was 16, established by the 1946 Red Sox. The 1946 club actually improved to 16-3 as part of a 15-game winning streak that took it from 7-3 to 21-3. In other words, the 2018 Sox will actually have to keep winning if they want to match their predecessor's pace.