Clay Buchholz is back to being dominant.
The Boston Red Sox are off to their best start since 2006 when they started off 6-1.
The main reason why the Red Sox are off to a hot start is due to a great bullpen, quality starts and multiple hitters being locked in at the plate.
The Red Sox won’t win 115 games which is what they are on pace for, but they look like a team capable of performing beyond preseason expectations.
Here are five players whose early season success will continue throughout the season.
Jon Lester looks like he could finally be a true ace.
After posting a sub-3.50 ERA in four straight seasons, Jon Lester had an off year in 2012.
With John Farrell back, Lester has gotten off to a hot start.
In Lester’s first two starts, he’s 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He's struck out 13 batters in just 12 innings pitched.
At 29 years old, Lester looks like he could contend for a Cy Young award for the first time since 2010.
Clay Buchholz' success is key to the Red Sox winning in 2013.
While Jon Lester is viewed by some as the ace of the Red Sox rotation, Clay Buchholz is actually the most talented pitcher on the roster.
Talent has never been an issue for Buchholz, but he looks healthy for the first time in years.
If the 28-year-old stays healthy he has a chance to be the true ace of the staff.
In Buchholz’s first two starts, he is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and a 1.071 WHIP. What should really scare opposing hitters is Buchholz has struggled with command early on. If that improves he will only get better.
Dustin Pedroia is the heart and soul of the Red Sox.
Dustin Pedroia looks healthy and ready to lead by example in 2013. Pedroia is off to a hot start, hitting .357 with a .455 OBP.
The diminutive second baseman is locked in at the plate, drawing more walks (five) than strikeouts (four).
The 29-year-old is vital to the Red Sox's success and could be in line to replicate the MVP performance that was on display in 2008.
Will Middlebrooks looks ready for a bigger role in 2013.
Will Middlebrooks spent time with Mike Lowell during spring training, so I expect his defense to improve after taking lessons from the former Gold Glove winner.
However, defense aside it is Middlebrooks’ power at the plate that has fans buzzing.
After hitting three home runs against Toronto, Middlebrooks showed that he can be a force in the middle of the Red Sox lineup.
In the 24-year-old’s rookie season, Middlebrooks hit 15 home runs in 75 games. If you translate that over a full season the young third baseman has 35 home run potential.
When Joel Hanrahan gets on track, what out.
The Red Sox bullpen looks like it could be the team’s biggest strength in 2013.
Through seven games they have posted a 3.92 ERA. If you take out Alfredo Aceves' two bad appearances, their ERA goes down to 2.35.
Numbers aside, John Farrell has multiple power arms at his disposal.
Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, Junichi Tazawa and Andrew Miller can all throw serious heat and Koji Uehara is a strike throwing machine.
What should really scare opponents is Hanrahan, who has struggled, still hasn’t hit his stride.