Sox on top, but for how long?

If Rick Porcello can get on track, things could look a lot different for the Red Sox.
(Photo courtesy AP)
Ben Whitehead
Contributing writer

Since being pummeled by the rival Yankees, the Boston Red Sox have gone on to take two of three from Detroit, three of four from Philadelphia, two of three from MLB-leading Houston on the road, and thus far split with Kansas City with a chance today to win the series with Drew Pomeranz on the mound. That equates to an 8-4 record over the past 12 games.

In winning each of the past three series, and the subsequent fall of New York, Boston has taken over sole possession of first place in the AL East. The Yankees went on to sweep Baltimore and took the first game of a three-game series in Anaheim last Monday. However, they haven't won since, losing seven straight to the Angels and A's.

The Sox became just the second AL team to reach 40 wins (Houston being the other). They went from 3 games out of first following the series in the Bronx - eventually falling to 4 games out - to a half-game up today. It's the first time in 2017 that Boston has been alone in first place in the division.

How 'bout that?

But is this a product of playing sub-.500 teams aside from Houston? Or is it a product of the Yankees hitting a slump?

Well, it's a little bit of both. And I stand by my statement two weeks ago that these Red Sox are what they appear to be. On paper, they should be leading the division. They should be winning every series. They should be fun and exciting to watch.

Don't get caught up in what should be happening. Remember, this team is barely leading a division that could flip upside down in a week.

There's a lingering feeling the Yankees won't continue their slide. There's the thought that Boston should've swept Philadelphia or Detroit. Rick Porcello is still getting shelled. The injury bug is still with the team. It feels like the Sox stole the finale in Houston more so due to mistakes by the 'Stros than the power of the Sox.

Oh, it's great that on the first day of summer that Boston is atop the standings. However, each series leading to the All Star Break will be against a team at or above .500 and all at least within two games of the AL Wild Card race.

Where Boston stands on June 21 is one thing. Where it will be on July 9 is another. These next two-and-a-half weeks will be the most crucial to the 2017 season.