Slugging Sox: Offense looking elite

Club leads league in average, near top in other categories

May 12th, 2016

BOSTON -- For the last three nights at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were historic in the way they pounded the baseball against the Oakland Athletics, culminating with Wednesday's 13-3 rout. This was the first time in Red Sox history they scored 13 or more runs in three straight games. Nobody in the Major Leagues had done it since the 1999 Indians.

But more important in the broader sense is that manager John Farrell's team appears to have built an elite lineup capable of sustained success.

Thirty-four games into the season, the Red Sox lead the Major Leagues in average (.293) and doubles (86). They are tied with the Cubs for the lead in runs (196). The Sox are among the top offenses in the game in nearly every relevant category.

"Well, to their credit, everyone is engaged," Farrell said. "They don't give an at-bat away. We've done a very good job, as we've talked about, with the approach using all fields. This is a tough lineup to pitch against, because it's not a one-dimensional type of team, not a one-dimensional type of lineup.

"They're thirsty for information, and they're being able to apply it in the game, whether it's how we run the bases or the defensive work, which I thought we played airtight defense again tonight. The lineup up and down, they're not giving at-bats away, and it's a relentless group right now."

You don't have to tell the Athletics.

Perhaps the Red Sox had been building toward this type of eruption.

"It's great," said first baseman Hanley Ramirez. "The confidence and everything, we're pulling for each other all the way from the first out until there are 27. We don't give up and keep adding and adding. That's what we're doing. As a team, we're playing pretty good baseball."

The cast of hitters hasn't changed much from last year. But Jackie Bradley Jr. and Travis Shaw have taken their game to a higher level. Ramirez is healthy again. David Ortiz is still Big Papi. Dustin Pedroia looks poised to have his best statistical season in some time. Mookie Betts (.255/.296/.418) hasn't even hit his stride yet, but the dynamic leadoff hitter likely will in the coming weeks.

"I think we're fully confident in each other," said Betts. "Even though we may be down three in the seventh, I don't think that at any point we're out of the game. We can score runs from the bottom, score runs from the top, start in the middle. It doesn't matter where we start. We're all confident in each other to start from anywhere and put some runs on the board."

The scoreboard operators behind the Green Monster sure had to work at a frenetic pace in this series.

"One through nine, we swung the bats great," said Pedroia. "That was fun. It was one guy just feeding off of the next. It was contagious. We've got to continue to keep it going."

The Red Sox felt the foundation being established for this type of offense as early as Spring Training.

"You come here early and everybody is ready to work, ready to play," said Ramirez. "That's the good thing. Since Spring Training, everyone was ready to compete every day."