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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Boston Red Sox traveled to face a Los Angeles Angels team that had won seven consecutive games, then outscored them 19-1 over a stretch of 18 innings.

They won 10-1 on Tuesday, then 9-0 on Wednesday, becoming the first team in 15 years to start a season with at least 15 wins in the first 17 contests.

Is it too early to call them the best team in the majors?

"Yeah," J.D. Martinez, the Red Sox's new outfielder, said with a smile. "I think it's way too early for that. Come at me when it's July, you know? That's when you can start having those conversations."

Still, the Red Sox -- solid defensively and deep offensively, with a star-studded rotation and a lock-down bullpen -- have shown that they might be on to something, while easily leading the majors in run-differential (plus-60), runs per game (6.35) and starting-pitcher ERA (1.91).

The Red Sox belted six home runs on Tuesday, three of them off the bat of the red-hot Mookie Betts. Then they added another three on Wednesday, one of which was a grand slam by Rafael Devers, his second home run in as many days.

On Tuesday, Angels starter Shohei Ohtani


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Other teams have sizzled in the first month, and fizzled later, but banged-up Boston's start already makes it an easy favorite in the AL East.
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J.D. Martinez golfs one out for his 4th home run of the season to extend the Red Sox lead to 7-0.
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Rafael Devers drives out his 3rd home run of the season and brings in 4 runs with just one swing for the Red Sox.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Shohei Ohtani is expected to make his next scheduled start and won't be limited with his hitting, despite his struggling through a blister in his outing Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox.

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia was noncommittal about when Ohtani's next turn would come, though a six-man rotation would line up Ohtani to pitch Monday on the road against the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. Ohtani's typical schedule would also have him serve as the designated hitter in Thursday's series finale against the Red Sox, but Scioscia only said that Ohtani would be "available" to be in the lineup that day.

"It's something he's had before and he's managed," Scioscia said of Ohtani's blister. "He's not very concerned with it, but we'll definitely, obviously, pay a lot of attention to it this week."

Ohtani gave up three runs, one of them on a leadoff homer by Mookie Betts, and required 66 pitches to record six outs against the surging Red Sox, the first blemish in what had been a mesmerizing start for the rookie two-way sensation.

Ohtani said his blister, which resides on the inside part of his right middle finger, impacted the effectiveness of all his pitches, especially his split-finger fastball. The 23-year-old right-hander hit 100 mph on the radar gun with a handful of second-inning pitches but generated only three swing-and-misses.


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Mookie Betts hits three home runs and Shohei Ohtani only lasts two innings as Boston throttles Los Angeles 10-1.
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Mookie Betts hits a leadoff homer off Shohei Ohtani, smacks another solo shot in the third and finishes with a third solo homer in the eighth.
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The Red Sox hit a trio of long balls in the third inning, part of a 5-run frame to pull away from the Angels.
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David Price gets a called third strike against Albert Pujols to end the fifth inning. Pujols slams his helmet in frustration, and gets tossed from the game.
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A generation ago, Boston was the hard-luck sports city and Washington was the successful one. Now, the shoes, spikes and skates are on the other foot.

Alex Bregman and Andrew BenintendiESPN Illustration

We're starting out 2018 MLBRank with Nos. 100-51. Which young stars will rocket up the rankings? Who deserved a spot in the top 100? We asked our experts to give their thoughts on some of the biggest questions that came out of the bottom 50.

Who are the biggest snubs?

I don't know if there are any obvious snubs, though there are probably too many relievers in general near the bottom of the top 100. I'll go with one player who always seems underrated in Brett Gardner. He can beat you in a lot of ways. He might not match the 21 home runs he hit last year, and he's now 34, but he's coming off a 4.9 WAR season and has been above 3 WAR after each full season of his career. -- David Schoenfield

If I could build a team around any player outside the top 100, it'd be Oakland's Matt Chapman. He's the best defensive third baseman in the American League, has a history of big power numbers in the minors, and in the first few weeks of this year has shown big improvements in plate discipline and contact. He debuted in Oakland last June, and in his first 99 games as a big leaguer he has produced 5.0 WAR at Baseball-Reference. Only 26 big-league hitters had 5 WAR in full seasons last year. He's a star. -- Sam Miller

There are two starting pitchers who are also among the 60 top players in baseball but were omitted from this list of 100: Lance McCullers


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The Baseball Tonight crew discusses the combination of commanding the strike zone and having a solid lineup that is working for Boston early in the season.

The Los Angeles Angels' game against the Royals, in which Japanese star Shohei Ohtani was scheduled to pitch in Kansas City, was the latest to be postponed Sunday because of cold temperatures.

The game will be made up on June 25 in Kansas City.

"Just the simple fact that I was going to be pitching in cold weather, that was a little worrisome for me,'' Ohtani said through an interpreter. "Also, I was worried my fingertips might lose the feel for the ball. That was one of the things I was worried [about].''

After a day off Monday, Ohtani will start Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox as the Angels open a six-game homestand in Anaheim.

The Angels-Royals game was the sixth game postponed Sunday by weather. The last time six MLB games were postponed was Sept. 12, 2008.

Monday's Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles in Boston also was postponed, it was announced Sunday, with the forecast calling for long periods of rain. This is the first time a Red Sox Patriots' Day game -- a traditional 11 a.m. start on the same day as the Boston Marathon -- has been postponed since 1984. That game has been rescheduled for May 17.


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Red Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who has been recovering from a strained left forearm flexor since spring training, felt good after his second rehab start and could return to the rotation within a week.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Saturday that Pomeranz is likely to start either the final game in Anaheim on Thursday or the first game in Oakland on Friday.

However, with rain in the forecast Sunday and Monday, Pomeranz could be pushed back.

Pomeranz, who started this season on the disabled list, has made two rehab starts, the second Friday for Double-A Portland. He allowed four hits, three walks and two runs.

"It felt a lot better this time," Pomeranz said of the start against Binghamton, according to the Boston Globe. "I think I straightened everything out. I'm ready to go."

Pomeranz won 17 games for Boston last season.


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