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David Price could return to the mound this month

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Good news in the Red Sox’ camp today: David Price is nearing a return to the mound, and WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford estimates that it could come as soon as May 29. No official return date has been posted by the club yet, and it will likely be several more weeks until Price’s status becomes more clear, but the left-hander appears to be making considerable progress as he rehabs a left elbow injury.

The veteran lefty was diagnosed with left elbow soreness at the start of spring training and found himself sidelined well before his scheduled Grapefruit League debut in early March. It’s been slow going since then, but the club has successfully avoided any invasive surgical procedures so far and still projects a 2017 return for their ace. Pregame reports from manager John Farrell on Saturday revealed that Price is expected to make another four appearances this month: a four-inning simulated game on May 9 and three minor league outings on May 14, 19 and 24. According to Bradford, that should bring Price up to speed by May 29 or 30, which would allow him to make his first official start of the season during the Red Sox’ away series in Chicago.

Prior to his setback, Price turned in a 3.99 ERA in 2016, going 17-9 with a 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 in 230 innings for the Red Sox.

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.