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James Shields to 10-day disabled list with strained lat

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The White Sox placed right-hander James Shields on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right lat, according to a club announcement on Friday. The move is retroactive to April 18. Veteran right-hander Mike Pelfrey has been recalled from Triple-A Charlotte and is expected to replace Shields in the rotation, while outfielder Charlie Tilson will move to the 60-day disabled list to clear space for Pelfrey on the 40-man roster.

A report from MLB.com’s Scott Merkin revealed that the strain is not severe, but stemmed from discomfort during Shields’ start against the Twins last Sunday. Merkin also noted that while there are plenty of promising arms awaiting promotion in Triple-A Charlotte, Chicago general manager Rick Hahn felt that Pelfrey would be best suited for what looks to be a temporary stay in the rotation:

From the start, we talked about when these guys do get to Chicago for that last stage of development that happens in the big leagues, we want them to feel comfortable they will get the ball every fifth day,” said Hahn of bypassing the prospects. “It’s not going to be snatched away from them because someone is coming off the DL or their performance isn’t up-to-snuff in any individual start.

Shields is 1-0 to start the 2017 season, touting a 1.62 ERA through three starts with three runs, 10 walks and 16 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings.

Mike Pelfrey has yet to find his footing on the mound this season, turning in a 7.50 with Triple-A Charlotte after he allowed ten hits, five runs and struck out four in his first two minor league outings last week. He wasn’t much better over a full season’s worth of starts in 2016, going 4-10 with a 5.70 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 during a one-year gig with the Tigers. This will be the right-hander’s first major league stint with the White Sox after they signed him to a minor league contract on April 5.

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.