The Red Sox are fresh off a dominating sweep of the AL West leaders, which means they've now ripped off seven wins in a row. Overall, the Sox are off to a blistering 16-2 start, and that's backed up by a plus-66 run differential. They lead the majors in runs scored, and they rank second in ERA. That Boston has achieved all this while being banged up is particularly impressive.
What sticks out is of course that 16-2 record (it would be 17-1 if not for that blown lead against the Rays on Opening Day). As you would expect, this puts the Sox in elite company. Here's a rundown of the teams since 1900 that have won at least 16 of their first 18 games ...
- 1911 Tigers (16-2)
- 1918 Giants (17-1)
- 1955 Dodgers (16-2)
- 1981 Athletics (17-1)
- 1984 Tigers (16-2)
- 1987 Brewers (17-1)
Now let's see how those teams wound up ...
2nd place, AL
2nd place, NL
Won World Series
Won World Series
3rd place, AL East
As you can see, just two of the six teams went on to win the World Series, but all of the teams played at least .562 ball on the season (the '87 Brewers brought up the rear in overall winning percentage). The good news for the Red Sox is that these days you typically don't even need to get to 90 wins to secure a postseason berth.
While extremes of this sort are always surprising, that the Red Sox are very good isn't much of a shock. The rival Yankees may have won the winter, but coming into the season the Red Sox to prevail in the AL East (and the two holdouts picked the Sox to win a wild-card spot). After all, the Sox won the division last season despite having somewhat disappointing seasons from Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley. It's not out of bounds to assume that all of those players will be better in 2018. As well, the Sox addressed a huge hole with the signing of J.D. Martinez, and David Price almost can't help but be more healthy and more effective this year.
All of that would still hold if the Red Sox were, say, 9-9 right now. Instead, they're on a 144-win pace. No, that won't keep up, but they've already moved the needle insofar as their playoff odds are concerned. Speaking of which, the SportsLine (@SportsLine on Twitter) Projection Model presently forecasts the Red Sox for a hefty 104 wins. As well, the system gives the Sox a 78.7 percent chance of winning the AL East and a 98.2 percent chance of making the postseason by any means.
Things are going well for the 2018 Red Sox, you see.