The season is only a quarter of the way through, and I've already given up on this team nine different times. Following this modest win streak, however, we're four games out of first (albeit still in last place). It's incredible, given the absurd "production" of key members of the lineup (Overbay is on pace for four home runs, Hill for eight, and Rios for twelve), poor management, and injuries. But the pitching remains stalwart, and there are other signs of life too. Rolen's return has been huge. He's taken about 75 pitches in the past two games; even when he hasn't hit, he's helped the lineup produce.
Are the other teams in the division looking forward to increased production from some of their surprising underachievers? The Yankees and the Rays seem to have their share of players off to slow starts (I'm not looking at the Os, because I'm sure they suck, and will soon fade). The Sox, though, have been lucky so far. Their pitching has been solid (you'd think Dice-K would come back to the pack a little, while Beckett will probably improve), but most of their hitters are exceeding their projections. Check out some of these numbers: Cash .375/.435/.475; Casey .345/.415/.448 (both Cash and Casey are part-timers, obviously); Youkilis .318/.393/.591 and Crisp .315/.340/.472. The team has an .817 OPS on the season. Ortiz is going to hit a lot better than he has, but you have to believe some of these other guys will drop off significantly (even Manny isn't going to give them 160 games at his current level). I don't see the Sox running away from the pack this season. The Yankees and Rays are going to be in it too, but they both have significant holes.
There's really no reason why we can't stay in the race in what looks to be a mediocre division. There's hope yet.