Their most reliable starter, John Lackey, missed all of last season after surgery, had a 6.41 ERA in 2011 and was Public Enemy No. 1 in the “Chicken and Beer” scandal a few years ago. Starter Felix Doubront, came into spring training so out of shape he didn’t pitch early in camp.
But they somehow keep winning and winning.
Their closer heading into the season, Joel Hanrahan, out for the season. His replacement, Andrew Bailey, out for the season.
In steps a 38-year-old with just 13 career saves, none since 2010. The result? Koji Uehara has been off the charts. His set-up man, Junichi Tazawa, had just 46 career major league appearances heading into the year. And he’s about the most experienced guy in the pen, other than Craig Breslow who has played for six different teams.
Yet they keep winning, and winning and winning.
The natural reaction is to compare it to 2004, a team we all like to remember as a group of scrappy go-getters. But the whole “Idiots” tag was just a good story.
That team was stacked with a sure-fire hall of fame ace (Pedro Martinez), a hall of fame-worthy co-ace (Curt Schilling) and an all-star closer (Keith Foulke). Their lineup featured maybe the best hitter of his era (Manny Ramirez), Ortiz in fine form, an underrated star (Johnny Damon) and a batting champion (Bill Mueller) just to name a few.
They struck fear into opponents. Not so with the 2013 team.
Until you look at their stats as a team. No. 1 in the majors in runs, No. 2 in slugging and No. 3 in average.
Oh, yeah, and the Sox entered yesterday tied with the Braves for the most wins in baseball.
You may not be able to explain it. I may not be able to understand it. But here we are.
But do they have enough to win the World Series? Why not. Why start doubting them now?