3 Reasons to Feel Great About the Start to the 2013 Boston Red Sox Season

Jess Lander@@jesslanderContributor IIIApril 18, 2013

3 Reasons to Feel Great About the Start to the 2013 Boston Red Sox Season

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    The Red Sox are 10-4. They're in first place in the AL East Division. The Yankees are one-and-a-half games back.

    This is not a joke.

    After the unspeakable 2012 season, things really couldn't be better for Red Sox fans. Three weeks into the 2013 season, it might be safe to say that all traces of last year are gone.

    It's been a while since the Red Sox got off to such a strong, encouraging start. Here's three reasons why even the most dubious fans should be feeling good right now.

Performance Against Division Opponents

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    Like I said, the Red Sox are leading the AL East.

    So far in 2013, they are 8-4 against division opponents. They swept the Rays and took two of three from both the Yankees and the Blue Jays, with their toughest series coming against the Orioles (winning just one).

    Three of those wins were shutouts. Two were walk-offs.

    This is a very promising jump start for the team that finished in last place in the division in 2012. 

Off to Their Best Start Since 2006

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    The Red Sox haven't started this strong in a while. 

    In 2012, they dropped their first three games. They went 4-10 before finally building some momentum in late April and didn't hit .500 until April 28.

    Of course, this start was just the beginning of one of Boston's worst seasons in history.

    Somehow, the year before was even worse. In 2011, the Red Sox started 0-6. They were just 2-10 by mid-April and didn't hit .500 until early May. The Red Sox picked things up, but the season ended in the historic September collapse.

    If they had won more games in the beginning, that embarrassment could have been avoided.

    And in 2010, the Red Sox started 4-9 and didn't reach middle ground until the end of April.

    When was the last time the Red Sox really opened up the year in the win column? The last year they won a World Series.

    In 2007, the Red Sox dropped their first game but had a nice 12-5 record by April 22. Similarly, in 2004 (you know, the other year the Sox won a World Series), they stood at 15-6 before heading into May.

    In 2006, the Red Sox got off to the same 10-4 start, though they ended up missing playoffs. 

    Not to jump the gun and say the Red Sox are on their way to the World Series, but it's looking more promising than it has in a long while. Yes, it's a long season, but every game counts when October starts to close in. 

The State of the Starting Rotation

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    Of all of the problems in 2012, pitching was Boston's biggest. The starting rotation combined for an atrocious 4.70 ERA.

    Supposed ace Jon Lester was the worst of all, going from 15-9 in 2011 to 9-14 in 2012. 

    Every Red Sox pitcher came into 2013 needing work. So far, whatever they've put in is paying off.

    Clay Buchholz (3-0) has been pretty perfect, allowing just one run in 22 innings. His ERA is 0.41 and he fell just short of a no-hitter on Sunday.

    Lester, too, looks mostly back to prime form. He's allowed just three runs in 19 innings with a 1.42 ERA.

    The performance of these two pitchers alone suggests great things for Red Sox Nation this season.

    And until Wednesday's 6-3 victory over Cleveland, the Red Sox made it 10 consecutive games that a Red Sox starter allowed two or fewer runs. This is record-breaking for the Red Sox, whose longest previous streak was set in 1916. 

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