If the Boston Red Sox hope to repeat as world champions, it will all start with their play in the first couple months of the season.
Lost in all the cliches that define the run to the pennant or a wild-card spot is the simple fact that a game won in April is just as good as a game won in September. As part of perhaps the most evenly matched division in all of baseball, a fast start will help Boston set the tone for the season.
Plus, with key youngsters poised to make or break the hopes of the team, a fast start will help avoid the inevitable questions that surface once a team hits adversity.
The club doesn't have one of the worst or best schedules early on, per Buster Olney of ESPN (subscription required). While it plays 28 of its first 37 games against opponents who finished 2013 with a .500 record or better, 21 of these first 37 games will be played in the cozy confines of Fenway Park, including 15 of 18 in mid-April.
There are no excuses for a slow start—not in Boston.
So, what are the top 10 keys to a successful early season start for the Red Sox? Let's find out.