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Record

AL EAST       W   L   PCT    GB   HOME   ROAD   RS   RA
Boston       45  28  .616   ---  24-10  21-18  405  356
NY Yankees   43  31  .581   2.5  23-15  20-16  417  345
Toronto      41  34  .547   5.0  24-16  17-18  403  369
Baltimore    35  42  .455  12.0  22-20  13-22  374  423
Tampa Bay    33  44  .429  14.0  18-17  15-27  331  406

 W    L     RS    RA      W1     L1     W2     L2     W3     L3
45   28    405    356    41.1   31.9   43.4   29.6   44.2   28.8
W1 and L1 are the expected wins and losses based on runs scored and runs allowed.
W2 and L2 are the expected wins and losses based on BP's equivalence runs scored and allowed.
W3 and L3 are similar to W2 and L2 but adjusted for strength of schedule.

The Red Sox are right around where their expected record pegs them.

Starting Rotation

                  W   L    ERA    IP      H/9   SO/9   BB/9   HR/9   VORP
Curt Schilling*   9   2   3.61   107.1   8.64   8.05   1.09   1.17   30.3
Tim Wakefield     5   8   3.86   105.0   8.06   6.09   3.09   0.94   20.2
Josh Beckett*     9   3   4.84    89.1   7.86   7.56   3.02   1.81    8.9
Jon Lester*       2   0   2.76    16.1   7.16  10.47   4.96   0.00    6.2
Jason Johnson     3   8   5.96    77.0  12.62   3.74   2.57   1.17   (4.4)

*  asterisks denote probable starters vs Mets
() parentheses denote negative numbers
italics denote left-handed pitchers
Pretty solid starting pitching, actually. Schilling has been very good for most of the year, and Wakefield is Wakefield. Beckett has been so-so, and Lester has gotten off to a good start. Jason Johnson is a bum, and unfortunately the Mets miss him in this series.

WPA Top Two
Curt Schilling, 122.5% WPA
Jonathan Lester, 31.3% WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Matt Clement, -121.7% WPA
Lenny DiNardo, -66.6% WPA

Starting Lineup

                   Pos    PA    AVG    OBP    SLG   SB  CS   VORP   AL Rank
Jason Varitek#      C    242   .251   .340   .408    1   2    3.3    11/16
Kevin Youkilis      1B   324   .315   .426   .498    4   0   25.7     3/19
Mark Loretta        2B   322   .317   .357   .393    2   1   13.2     6/17
Alex Gonzalez       SS   225   .262   .309   .351    1   0    0.1    12/16
Mike Lowell         3B   293   .308   .365   .504    1   0   17.5     3/17
Manny Ramirez       LF   300   .298   .433   .601    0   0   31.2     1/20
Coco Crisp#         CF   148   .283   .322   .406    5   3    2.2    13/18
Trot Nixon*         RF   272   .326   .430   .489    0   0   20.6     5/20
David Ortiz*        DH   332   .266   .377   .550    0   0   23.1     3/14

rankings are based on VORP for players with at least 100 PA
*  asterisks denote left-handed batters
#  pound signs denote switch hitters
Well, this team can mash, Top-to-bottom, it might be the worst lineup Boston has had in five years, but it's still frighteningly good. There are some easier outs here, though. Alex Gonzalez hits about as well as you remember him hitting in Florida all those years. Coco Crisp has been far less productive than Johnny Damon, and even Jason Varitek is having an off year. Of course, Mike Lowell has bounced back nicely after an abysmal 2005; Kevin Youkilis has a .426 on-base percentage, which is a few points less than Manny Ramirez, who has been one of the best hitters in baseball. Again. Big Papi has been good if not a little short of his recent performances, though he's always there for a walk-off homerun or RBI.

WPA Top Two
David Ortiz, 242.3% WPA
Manny Ramirez, 211.8% WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Coco Crisp, -78.8% WPA
Alex Gonzalez, -61.6% WPA

Bullpen

                     ERA    IP     H/9   SO/9   BB/9   HR/9   VORP
Jonathan Papelbon   0.46   39.1   5.03   9.38   1.37   0.23   24.9
Mike Timlin         1.80   25.0   9.00   5.76   2.52   0.36   12.2
Julian Tavarez      5.77   34.1  10.49   6.29   3.93   1.31  (-0.1)
Rudy Seanez         5.10   30.0   9.90  10.50   3.90   1.50    0.8
Craig Hansen        7.36    3.2  17.18   7.36   2.45   0.00  (-0.4)
Javier Lopez        2.25    4.0   2.25   4.50   9.00   0.00    1.8
Manuel Delcarmen    5.06   16.0  11.25   6.19   3.94   0.56    0.0
The bullpen is pretty hit-or-miss. Papelbon has been insanely good as the BoSox' closer, despite blowing a save yesterday afternoon to the Phillies. Timlin continues to impress despite just turning 40. Hansen, a first round pick last season, has been terrible, as has Tavarez, who likes to come into close ballgames and walk and hit everyone in sight.

WPA Top Two
Jonathan Papelbon, 346.5% WPA
Mike Timlin, 91.3% WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Rudy Seanez, -110.9% WPA
Julian Tavarez, -105.2% WPA

Bench

                   Pos   PA    AVG    OBP    SLG   SB  CS    VORP
Doug Mirabelli      C    54   .157   .204   .275    0   0   (-5.1)   
Alex Cora*          IF   97   .301   .396   .361    2   2     3.7   
Gabe Kapler         OF   10   .500   .500   .900    0   0     3.0   
Willie Harris*      OF   50   .163   .260   .209    5   2   (-4.1)
Mirabelli is Tim Wakefield's personal catcher and isn't much with the stick. Gabe Kapler is Jewish, so he has that going for him. Willie Harris is useless and Alex Cora has been a nice surprise, and it's a wonder why he doesn't get more starts in place of Alex Gonzalez.

Manager

The Red Sox are helmed by Terry Francona, who will long be remembered as the man who led the beloved Sox to the World Series title, after so many years of non-titledness.

                          # Times    AL Rank
Pinch Hit                    44        3/14
Stolen Base Attempts         32       13/14
Sacrifice Bunts               9       12/14
Key Injuries
Matt Clement, SP
Keith Foulke, RP
David Wells, SP
Wily Mo Pena, OF
Leonard Dinardo, RP
Payroll
Team Payroll   MLB Rank
$120,100,524     2/30