The Red Sox are, right now, the best team in baseball


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A case can be made that Mookie Betts is currently the best player in baseball.

A 3-2 count. Bases loaded. Down by one run in the bottom of the third inning, Xander Bogaerts, fresh off an ankle injury, rips the ball deep over the Green Monster. Grand slam. The Red Sox did it again, their sixth grand slam before the first of May, tying the 1996 Montreal Expos for the most in Major League Baseball history.

The Red Sox routed Kansas City 10-6 that last day of April, extending their record to 21-7. That blistering early pace has eased only slightly — the Sox are currently 41-19 and hold the best record in baseball.

Bogaerts’ towering hit is a metaphor for the young season, in which the Red Sox are ripping through most of the American League. The team is doing it all, leaving the competition in the dust.

The start to the season has been historic for the Sox. They became only the fifth team in the live-ball era to win 17 of its first 19 games. The hitting and pitching have both been off the charts — Boston leads the majors in batting average (.266) and runs scored (320) and they lead the American League with a 3.62 ERA.

Offensively, we feel capable of scoring runs every night,” manager Alex Cora told The Boston Globe at the height of the team’s hot start. “We’re capable of scoring a lot. We’re not going to score seven or eight every night, but this offense is going to be fine. We’re going to hit.”

The addition of slugger J.D. Martinez has contributed to the team’s power surge, after a 2017 season that saw the Sox finish last in the league in home runs. But Mookie Betts and Martinez already have double-digit homer totals and the rest of the lineup is a constant threat to go deep.

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Rick Porcello leads the Sox with eight wins.

Martinez’s start is in the stratosphere. Acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks during the offseason, the outfielder leads the majors in homers (19) and RBI (50). Betts, meanwhile, leads the majors in batting average (.359) and he has 17 homers and 37 RBI.

It is arguably the best one-two outfield punch in the game.

And then there’s the pitching. The Sox rotation already has four starters with at least five wins, with Rick Porcello the biggest surprise at 8-2 with a 3.59 ERA.

“We’ve been playing good baseball for a month now,” Cora said cautiously near the end of April. But that good play has continued — primarily, Cora said, because “we’re playing fast, catching the ball, and pitching.”

The Sox are on pace to exceed the 100-win mark, something that they have done only three times since they were established in 1901.

Betts, the team’s center fielder, has evolved into a star, and some argue he could be the best overall player in baseball.

“Any player would want to be [Mike] Trout, perhaps the best player in baseball,” wrote The Globe’s Nick Cafardo. “But after you give Trout his obvious accolades, who wouldn’t want Betts?”

Betts, with his fourth career three-home run game last month, has already passed legend Ted Williams for the most in franchise history. Betts is only 25.

The key, as it usually is for most pennant contenders, will be the ability to stay healthy.

“Everybody says, ‘We’ll be good if we stay healthy.’ Nobody ever stays healthy,’’ Porcello said. “You play 162 games, you’re going to have injuries, you’re going to have guys go on the DL, so you’ve got to have that depth.”

Two months down and four to go — but it’s looking good for the Sox at the moment.