Are the Braves OK without Tim Hudson?

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Tim Hudson was, quite obviously, placed on the disabled list this morning. Paul Maholm is getting DL’d too. With their two eldest starting pitchers going down, do the Braves need some rotation help?

Not necessarily. Brandon Beachy is done with his rehab assignment and is coming back, so he’ll fill a slot. Alex Wood, who made an emergency start in a double header earlier this season, will fill in for a while until Maholm is back. Wood has been solid in relief in the bigs so far this year and has a 1.31 ERA in 11 minor league starts this year. With a nice cushion in what is turning out to be a weak NL East, it’s worth it for the Braves to see what each of those guys have before running out and getting a starter.

Best case scenario: both Wood and Beachy are solid starters down the stretch and Atlanta has six starters for five slots once Maholm returns. Next best: one of them is good and the Braves still have a full rotation. Next best after that: only one of the three between Maholm, Wood and Beachy can cut it and, while it makes for a less-than-ideal couple of months, the playoff rotation is good to go.  For them to really be in trouble requires all three of them to either stink, be unhealthy or all three.

Obviously you’d rather have Tim Hudson around, and given the Braves’ historic caution as an organization it wouldn’t surprise me if they went out and at least tried to get a starter. But I don’t think it’s absolutely imperative.

The Red Sox start is ridiculous

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The red-hot Red Sox completed a sweep of the previously red-hot Angels last night, outscoring them 27-3 in their three-game series. Last night’s game was, relatively speaking, a close one, with the Sox winning “only” by six runs. They did manage to strike out Shohei Ohtani three times, though, so some style points help make up for the “squeaker.” Also worth noting that they held Mike Trout of all people to a 3-for-11 line in their three-game series. He did not score a single time and drove in no runs.

That series win puts the Sox at 16-2 on the year. They dropped their Opening Day game to the Rays, but then won their next six games against Tampa Bay, which I’d say makes up for it. In between those two series they swept a two-game series from the Marlins and afterwards they took two of three from the Yankees and three in a row from the Orioles. The only thing that even threatened to slow this juggernaut down is the weather, resulting in a postponement of Monday morning’s Patriot’s Day game. Somewhere in here we should notice that they’re doing this with their starting shortstop and starting second baseman on the disabled list.

As we’ve noted many times, their 16-2 record is the best start in the Red Sox’ 118-year history. It’s also the best start for any team since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers began 17-1 (let us just forget, for the time being, that those Brewers lost 18 of 20 in May of that year). They are the fourth team since 1961 to win 16 of its first 18 games.

The Sox aren’t simply getting lucky here. They’ve scored 116 runs and have allowed only 50, which is a Pythagorean record of 15-3. They lead all of baseball in offense, scoring 6.44 runs a game, leading individually in average, on-base percentage and slugging. They are only three one hundredths of a run behind the Astros from leading all of baseball in pitching, allowing only 2.78 runs a game. They’re winning all of these games because, in the early going, they’ve simply been that dang much better than everyone they’ve played.

No, the Sox are not going to go 144-18, as they are currently on pace to do. Yes, they are going to find a lot more trouble in their schedule once they play the Orioles, Rays and Marlins less, play a healthier Yankees team more and face off against the Astros, the Blue Jays, the Indians, the Twins and some tougher interleague opponents. This is baseball, obviously, and no one makes it through a season without rough patches, long, short and numerous.

Still: this has been one whale of a start for Boston. Those wins are in the bank. It’s been quite the thing to see.