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Hope turning into expectation for Red Sox

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At this writing, the Boston Red Sox own the best record in the American League and all of baseball (19-8), are second in runs scored per game (5.37), second in team ERA (3.49), second in runs scored against per game (3.63), and fifth in fielding percentage (.989). These upper-echelon numbers all serve as clear indication that this team is back as a credible force, and are leading many to trade their preseason hope for such a turnaround for a renewed expectation that the winning will continue.

Emotionally, this is a difficult transition to make, especially for fans older than 20 years of age who grew up with the angst associated with Red Sox baseball for so many generations. From a baseball perspective, however, it is an intriguing proposition, for the club is not relying on any one, two, or three players to carry the load.

To paraphrase the old expression, the Sox have a new hero every night. Sure, the names Mike Napoli, David Ortiz, and Clay Buchholz regularly appear in the headlines. But Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks, and Mike Carp have taken their turns in the spotlight as well, and this bodes well for the rest of the campaign.

When the season opened, we hoped we might see occasional stretches like this, especially later in the season when some of the young talent (Jackie Bradley Jr., Bryce Brentz, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa etc.) became ready for their big league cups of coffee. But a month into it, it now seems reasonable to expect some long-term consistency in the way the team performs, not in the least because those reinforcements remain available step in if injury or reliability make that necessary.

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