The Boston Red Sox have started their season off with a bang. After just over a month of baseball, the Sox were sitting atop the AL East after a brilliant April. They sport the best record in the AL and in the majors, despite some calling this a rebuilding year for the Sox. If that’s the case, it’s been a hell of start to this “rebuilding process.”
The Red Sox were listed at 30/1 to win the World Series before the season started and are now listed 12/1 to win the championship. US sportbook Bvada.lv also lists them at 6/1 to win the AL Pennant and +180 to win the AL East .
Of course, these future odds will change throughout the season as more games are played. We’ll take a look at these odds and determine based on the first month of the season if the Sox are worth a bet or not. Although our sample size is small, there is plenty to talk about after the first month of the season.
Rotation Bounce Back
So far, it appears last year’s poor season by Boston’s top two starters appears to be an aberration. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz seem to be back to their old selves after posting a 4.82 and 4.56 in 2012, respectively.
This year, Lester has a 4-0 record in seven starts, has a 3.30 and an excellent 1.16 WHIP. However, Buchholz’s performance so far this season shatters those numbers. He has a 6-0 record in seven starts with an astounding 1.60 ERA. His WHIP is even more impressive at 1.02.
Can these two keep it up? Most likely, yes. Buchholz will obviously regress a fair bit, but last year’s poor performances were quite out of the ordinary. Both have been solid performers for a number of years, and many Sabermetric statistics indicated that both pitchers were a bit unlucky with balls hit into play in 2012.
The rest of the rotation has its question marks – but with these two leading the pack – Boston has an excellent chance of winning every few days. After one lousy year, they both have re-emerged, and it’s for real folks.
The Powerful Offense
It hasn’t been just pitching that is doing it for the Sox. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia are two stars that everyone expected to put up solid numbers, and so far they are both doing their part. It is the supporting cast they have pushed this team over the top. Everyone who puts on a uniform seems to contribute, with prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. having a massive impact when he was in the bigs, to the clutch hitting of Daniel Nava.
Their offseason acquisitions have done the job, as well. The platoon of Mike Napoli and Mike Carp has paid dividends. Shane Victorino, who started slow and then dealt with an injury, seems to look like he is starting to feel at home at Fenway. Stephen Drew is even starting to swing the bat better while he plays excellent defense. Even at the ripe age of 37, David Ortiz is not only contributing but has been straight mashing the ball since he has come off the disabled list.
Well the lineup still has question marks, like the struggling but still young Will Middlebrooks, they have a heart of the order that are all tough outs.
Spend Less, Win More?
It’s hard to imagine a team shedding a hundred million plus in payroll and spending less but becoming better the next season, but that is exactly what is happening right now for the Red Sox. The million dollar question is: Can it continue?
We think so. It’s obvious to anyone that just because a player makes more money, it does not mean he is better than one who makes less. Other than Carl Crawford, the other players Boston gave up haven’t seemed to regain their superstar form. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting a crisp .343, but so far has not found the power he seemed to start losing in Boston. The platoon of Carp and Napoli has more than replaced his production, at a lesser cost. Josh Beckett has been terrible for the Dodgers, going 0-4 in six starts and posting a 5.24 ERA.
Still, we have to remember when wagering that this team did lose 93 games in 2012. They have a much smaller payroll and a roster that at least on paper seems worse than the one they had last year. Of course, they are outperforming that group now, but will that continue? Also, the AL East is a tough division, perhaps the toughest in baseball.
With all that said, we think this turnaround from last year is for real, and it is crazy not to label this team as a threat to win the World Series. The +180 to win the AL East is a terrific bet in our opinion, and even with the decrease in odds from Opening Day, a Red Sox World Series or AL Pennant bet pays out nicely. On a bet of $100, at 12/1 bettors would win $1,200 with a Red Sox Championship. If you think they have a chance to win it all, it may be better to bet them now before the price gets worse. Also consider increasing your edge by taking a free bet from the various US sportsbooks when you bet on your android for the first time.