Found April 08, 2013 on Boston Sports Then & Now:
After 6 games, the Boston Red Sox are standing atop the AL East standings for the first time since September 1st 2011. It may not mean much in the early season, but they are giving fans hope, and are already getting fans attention, for a good reason, something that the 2012 team couldn’t do at all. The Red Sox, 4-2, have won both because of their offense and their pitching. Boston is ranked second in team batting average at .290, only behind the Baltimore Orioles who have hit .301, and ranked 5th in the AL in pitching with an ERA of 3.29, the best team ERA in the AL East. Jose Iglesias Jose Iglesias, who wasn’t expected to have much of an impact this year with Boston, and who has struggled at the plate in his limited time in the majors, is off to a very hot start offensively going 9 for 17 with an RBI, and two doubles. If Iglesias continues his hot streak, it will be hard to justify starting Stephen Drew over him when Drew joins the Red Sox later this week when he comes off the disabled list. Will Middlebrooks started 0 for 8 at the plate in the first two games against the Yankees, but since then has gone 8 for 17, while hitting a team high 4 homeruns, 3 of which came on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays. 2 of the 3 homeruns in Sundays game at the Rogers Centre, was against 2012 NL Cy Young winner, R.A. Dickey. Rookie outfielder, Jackie Bradley Jr. has struggled to get hits so far, going 3 for 21, but in a positive for Bradley has been his plate discipline. Despite just hitting .143, Bradley has walked 5 times, 3 walks were on opening against the Yankees in an 8-2 Red Sox victory. Bradley has also shown he is more than capable of playing left field, a position he has little experience playing at any level. Jackie Bradley Jr. As far as pitching, Red Sox ace Jon Lester is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.50 in 12 innings of work, defeating the Yankees and the Blue Jays. Clay Buchholz who gets the home opener start today against the Orioles, pitched 7 innings against the Yankees and gave up just one run on 6 hits. The Red Sox fifth starter in the rotation, and who everyone love to hate, John Lackey, pitched fairly well against the Blue Jays on Saturday giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, but he had to leave the game in the 5th inning with what is being described as right bicep strain. There has been no update on Lackey’s condition or whether he will make his next start or not. When Lackey left Saturday’s game, Alfredo Aceves came in and gave up 3 runs in 3.2 innings. Aceves has looked like the same player we saw in 2012, already giving up 5 runs in 4.1 innings and posting an ERA of 10.38. If Aceves keeps playing the way he has, it won’t be surprising to see him off the team by the start of May. At the end of the bullpen, Joel Hanrahan has pitched well in his 3 appearances. He is 2 for 2 in save opportunities, and has yet to allow a run in the 3 innings he has pitched. Hanrahan has proved to be a major upgrade over Aceves as the closer. Red Sox Closer Joel Hanrahan In the coming week, the Red Sox play the Orioles for 3 games and then play a four game set against the Tampa Rays. It’s possible by the end of this week the Red Sox won’t be sitting atop the standings, and may very well be toward the bottom of the AL East. But for right now for Red Sox fans, it feels good to be watching rooting for a winning team. After the 2011 collapse, and the disaster the 2012 season was, fans aren’t taking winning for granted, and fans deserve to enjoy every day the team is on top.  
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