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Chris Sale will not receive a suspension after throwing behind Manny Machado

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The latest installment in the ongoing Orioles-Red Sox feud is this: Boston left-hander Chris Sale is reportedly not in line for a suspension after throwing behind Manny Machado on Tuesday. Despite recent comments from MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre earlier this week, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that a “final determination” has been made and Sale will not receive an official punishment from the league.

The original beef between the two teams — Machado’s spikes-high slide into Dustin Pedroia‘s leg, which has since been deemed unintentional by all involved parties — has escalated over the past two weeks. Sale’s pitch, a 98 m.p.h. fastball aimed behind Machado’s knees, was the third such incident to spawn from Pedroia’s injury. Now, it appears that the Red Sox won’t receive so much as a slap on the wrist for behavior that, should it continue, could unnecessarily injure another player.

Torre and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred appeared to take different approaches to the conflict. According to Torre, Manfred issued a joint warning to the teams during a conference call on Wednesday, letting them know that any further behavior would result in discipline by the league. Torre, on the other hand, said he’d rather not have the players and umpires “walking on eggs” as they approach each game, and felt that the situation didn’t warrant any pregame warnings going forward. Wednesday and Thursday’s games passed without too much drama, and the two teams aren’t scheduled to meet again until a series in Baltimore on June 1. Whether Manfred’s warning will prevent further retaliation remains to be seen, but given the league’s leniency so far, it may not be enough.

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.