No matter where you live, what time it is or whether they’re even playing at the moment, you can bet that the Boston Red Sox just scored.

That’s the way it’s been going for them lately. Fresh off a three-game sweep of the Oakland A’s in which the Red Sox racked up 40 runs, they took it to reigning Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros in an 11-1 romp at Fenway Park on Thursday night. 

“I don’t think PlayStation scores this much runs,” said Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts afterward, via Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. “But it’s reality and we’re doing it in our hometown and our home park and our fans are definitely loving it.”

Speaking of, it was Bogaerts who got things rolling for the Red Sox with a two-run homer off Keuchel in the first inning. Let us gaze upon it:

The other bit of good news for the Red Sox was struggling ace David Price’s performance. He picked up 12 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of one-run ball, lowering his ERA from 6.75 to a slightly less ugly 6.00.

The fact that this is a mere subplot for the Red Sox, however, goes to show just how fiery their offense is these days.

It stands out that they’ve scored 51 runs in their last four games, but the Red Sox have been whacking the ball around for longer than that. As Baseball Savant shows, Boston has produced a .318 average and a .530 slugging percentage over its last 22 games. 

As a result, the Red Sox’s 2016 offense now reigns supreme over all 2016 offenses. Its 207 runs are the most of any team, and Boston also leads in batting average (.295) and slugging percentage (.485). 

After two straight last-place finishes, all this offense is undoubtedly the biggest reason the Red Sox are 22-13 and tied with the Baltimore Orioles atop the AL East. And as skipper John Farrell will be glad to tell you, it’s not a one-trick offense.

“This is a tough lineup to pitch against because it’s not a one-dimensional type of team, not a one-dimensional type of lineup,” Farrell said after Wednesday’s 13-3 thumping of the A’s, via Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. “The lineup, up and down, they’re not giving at-bats away, and it’s a relentless group right now.”

One thing the Red Sox aren’t doing as well as usual is drawing walks. Their 8.1 walk percentage is below the Major League Baseball average of 8.5 and puts them in the bottom half of the league.

But otherwise, Boston’s offense is indeed a nightmare for opposing pitchers. It’s earned its league-best batting average and slugging percentage by putting the ball in play and hitting the ball hard better than most, and it’s further pushing the envelope by not slowing down on the bases:

Note: The exit velocity and baserunning numbers are current through play on Wednesday, May 11.

A good way to think of this Red Sox offense is as an upgraded version of the Kansas City Royals offenses of the last couple of years. These Red Sox also specialize in putting the ball in play and running the bases, but they have the all-important advantage of being powerful, too.

Of course, there are caveats.

As Alex Speier of the Boston Globe noted, one is that the Red Sox won’t maintain their .344 batting average on balls in play over the long haul. Another is that all their recent hot hitting has primarily come against weak competition. Three games against the Chicago White Sox aside, the Red Sox’s last 20 contests have all been against sub-.500, largely last-place teams.

But more so than elements like their relationship with the BABIP gods and the quality of their competition, whether the Red Sox can continue clobbering the ball all season is a question for the individuals in their lineup. 

For now, there basically aren’t any weak links. Only two of Boston’s nine regulars are underperforming the league average OPS of .727, and not by much:

Christian Vazquez has been the least productive Red Sox regular, but that’s not a concern. He and Ryan Hanigan are there for their defense behind the dish. Any offense they provide is a bonus.

Rather, the Red Sox keeping this up comes down to everyone else. To that end, there’s not much doubt that David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia will continue being above-average offensive producers as long as they can stay on the field. And after Bogaerts broke out with a .320 average and a .776 OPS last season, what he is doing now looks like the logical next step.

Brock Holt is overachieving a bit, but that could continue being the name of the game for both him and Chris Young if Boston can keep exploiting their platoon splits. Holt has handled right-handers, and Young has handled left-handers.

The big question marks are Travis Shaw and Jackie Bradley Jr., neither of whom has an extensive track record or the platoon advantage to thank for their hot hitting.

But what they’re doing could be the real deal. Shaw has done nothing but hit since he arrived in the majors last season, posting a .288 average and an .854 OPS. Bradley’s first exposure to the majors didn’t go as well, but I highlighted on Twitter how he’s turned it around in a big way:

Even if Shaw and Bradley regress, that could be offset by Mookie Betts (who homered Thursday) playing up to his potential. In light of the .291 average and .818 OPS he racked up in his first two seasons, he’s a lot better than he’s shown.

Whether Ortiz, Pedroia and Ramirez can indeed stay on the field may therefore be the only big question. Ortiz is 40, and Pedroia and Ramirez are 32-year-olds with their share of scars. If one, two, or all three of these guys goes down for an extended amount of time, the mightiness of Boston’s offense will fade.

On talent alone, though, the lineup Farrell is running out there on a daily basis is about as loaded as its gaudy numbers make it look. It has quality hitters from top to bottom, and there are few things they can’t do.

So remember: No matter what, the Red Sox probably just scored.


Stats courtesy of and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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