The Boston Red Sox are off to a terrific start in the 2013 season.
Fresh from a 2012 campaign flooded with toxicity and led by a manager in Bobby Valentine who lost his clubhouse from the get-go, this Boston team looks like a band of brothers that plays with a chip on its shoulder.
Leading the armada for the Red Sox this season are dynamic pitchers Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester.
So far, both pitchers look like they are on a mission.
You can see it in the fiery eyes of both every time they take the mound and by how they pound the strike zone. Both pitchers blend a calm demeanor with a sense of urgency in every start they make.
Buchholz has been more impressive of the two thus far, but not by much.
Still just 28, Buchholz has entered his prime with a vengeance, leading Boston to the top of a formidable AL East Division.
Through five starts, this 6’3” 190-pound Texan is 5-0 with a 1.19 ERA. He has 39 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched. Buchholz's WHIP is 1.01 and opponents are batting just .192 against him.
Lester, 29, has also been impressive. With a respected manager in John Farrell now at the helm, Lester takes the hill with a purpose, as if he has a team that is counting on him each game he pitches.
Never one to be shy about wearing his emotions on his sleeve, Lester's competitive juices have been on full display. Just ask the bench in the Red Sox dugout where he went on a frustrated tirade after surrendering a three-run homer to Oakland Athletics outfielder Chris Young on April 24.
Like Buchholz, Lester has five starts under his belt where the 6’4”, 240-pound left-hander from Washington is 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Opposing hitters are hitting .214 off him.
Combined, Buchholz and Lester are 9-0 with a 1.69 ERA.
While baseball fans may debate whether Buchholz and Lester can continue to perform at such a high level, it is inspiring for Red Sox’ fans to see them return to their high-octane form.
Other fans may argue that Ryan Dempster, John Lackey (once he returns) and Felix Doubront will fail to follow the charge of Buchholz, but if both men continue to pitch the way they have, Red Sox Nation will undoubtedly erase the misery it has endured as a franchise over the past few years.