<
>
Get ESPN+

MLB's next big thing: Why Red Sox are flying under radar

Is it just me, or are the Boston Red Sox running a little under the radar this season?

I can't really quantify that, but I strongly suspect I'm not the only one who's picking up that vibe. Now, let's be clear: This is the Red Sox, so of course they are getting attention. From the viewpoint of the club, the crucible of the Boston media likely seems just as intense as it always has been. It's the national buzz that I sense is lacking.

Compare the coverage of this year's Red Sox to that of last year's Dodgers and Astros, or the Cubs in 2016. That's what I'm getting at. Boston is a team that is 53 games over .500 and has a nonzero shot at setting a record for wins. (They'd have to go 20-1. Like I said, nonzero.) As a franchise, the Red Sox haven't won 100 or more games since 1946, the year of Ted Williams' only World Series, and their high-water mark is 105 W's, set two years before the Sox signed Babe Ruth. Yet they've been handled as just a run-of-the-mill pennant contender.

Right now, Boston is on pace to win 111 games. Their expected final total, based on run differential, is "only" 106 wins. Because of that and some other esoteric factors, such as roster value, the Red Sox actually rank behind the Astros in my power rating formula. Boston moved ahead of Houston during a three-week stretch in August, but the Astros are back in the slot they've generally held since spring training.

Let's assume I'm right about baseball's winningest regular-season team being a little short in the respect department. Is there a reason for it that we might not consciously sense? Just how good are these Red Sox?