It’s a tough time to be a pitcher facing the Red Sox.
Boston has tagged the Astros for huge run totals in back-to-back ALCS wins, first beating Houston 9-5 in Game 2 at Minute Maid Park to tie the series at a game apiece and then running out to a 12-3 win in Game 3 on Monday at Fenway Park.
There have been a lot of shocking numbers, specifically early-inning totals, that have Boston looking like an all-time offensive powerhouse.
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Sporting News takes a look at some of those stats behind the team’s recent impressive starts.
The Red Sox make sure to establish themselves early as the favorite to win.
In eight games this postseason, the Red Sox have scored 35 runs in Innings 1-3. Boston has launched 11 home runs during those early bursts.
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That homer total is already tied for the fifth-most home runs in the first three innings in a single postseason in MLB history, according to data from Stathead. The other teams that have tagged pitchers for double-digit home runs early in postseason games:
The scary part is the Red Sox have at least three more games remaining in their 2021 postseason. They will be well on their way to a record if they can keep up what they’ve been doing.
Home run history
Can’t get enough of the long ball? The Red Sox can’t, either, at least not in this postseason. Let’s just say, the laundry cart is already racking up the mileage.
Midway through Game 3, ESPN’s Marly Rivera tweeted that the Red Sox were nearing the franchise record for most home runs in a single postseason, which they set in 2003 with 20. A few innings and blasts by J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers later, Boston had tied the mark, needing only eight games to do it.
As Rivera noted, the 2004 Astros also hit 20 home runs in their first eight postseason games to set the MLB record. The 2021 Red Sox set the American League record Monday. The ’04 Astros lost in the NLCS to the Cardinals, who went on to be swept in four games by the Red Sox in the World Series.
Kiké Hernandez’s scary swing
There might not be a better bat right now in Boston’s lineup than Hernandez’s.
With two more hits Monday, Hernandez increased his postseason total to 18 through eight games, tying him with Hideki Matsui (2004) and Thurman Munson (1976) for the most hits in an eight-game span since 1903, according to Stathead.
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What’s more, Hernandez is consistently putting the ball in play. He has struck out just four times this postseason. He has homered five times. In other words, he has jogged around the bases more times than he has walked back to the dugout.
He left Monday’s game with a 2.027 OPS and .615 batting average in the ALCS.
And this isn’t just luck. Even by Baseball Savant’s expected numbers, he has been one of the game’s best in the postseason. His xBA is .388, his xOBP is .414 and his xSLG is .817.
OK, so maybe there’s a bit of luck, but a slash line of .388/.414/.817 would still likely be enough by itself to net him the ALCS MVP award.