An April to remember: Sox pitchers set MLB record for strikeouts; Ellsbury reaches franchise milestone

As the Red Sox schedule turns from April to May this week I offer some stats and tidbits. Some of the items will make you feel good about the rest of the season. Some will give you pause for concern. Others will make you scratch your head…

– Ryan Dempster has 43 strikeouts in his first five starts in a Sox uniform. The only pitcher in club history with more through five games is Pedro Martinez in 1998. Perhaps it’s because of that “Bugs Bunny splitty” that catcher David Ross says Dempster is throwing.

–  David Ortiz owns the slowest home run trot of the season to date. Friday night’s bomb vs Houston was timed by tatertrottracker.com at 28.44 seconds. He also has the fourth slowest trot of the year. Must be the Achilles injury.

– The Sox are 17-1 when leading after eight innings. They are 0-4 when trailing after eight innings. Plan your trip to the refrigerator accordingly.

– Jacoby Ellsbury has 11 stolen bases and now has 201 thefts in a Red Sox uniform. He is just the third Sox player to have 200 steals (Harry Hooper 300 and Tris Speaker 267). I know, you are probably thinking —  what about Tommy Harper? Me too. I checked it out – he only played three seasons for the Sox and stole 107 bases.

– Mike Napoli has 18 extra base hits in April passing Jose Offerman’s 16 back in 1999. Just when I keep trying to forget Jose Offerman in a Sox uniform, he pops up again.

– The Red Sox pitching staff has 248 strikeouts. Not only a franchise April record but an MLB record (Arizona in 2002). Where in the name of Randy Niemann, Bob McClure and Curt Young have you been, Juan Nieves!

– The Sox will spend all 30 days of April in first or tied for first place…and that’s a first.

– Mike Napoli has 27 RBI. There have been 90 runners on base when he has come to bat.

– As we enjoy this great start to the season, a reminder that last year’s miserable team left the Sox with the No. 7 overall pick in June’s amateur draft. Be careful with this high pick Mr. Cherrington.

– Big Papi actually has a 20-game hit streak going, dating all the way back to July 2nd of last year when he got hurt. Now that’s a long streak.

– As I write this blog today, Mr. Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez and the LA Dodgers are 11-12 in fourth place in the NL west.

– Jonny Gomes is hitting .179 with no homers and one RBI. He is second on the team in walks (10).

– Set aside David Ortiz limited play, the Sox leading hitter is Mike Carp at .455. Raise your hand if you called this one back in Fort Myers.

– Think about this. The 18-7 record is best the AL and your two starters on the left side of the infield are hitting .146 (Drew) and .202 (Middlebrooks).

– Oh yeah, this same team with the 18-7 record, the No. 3 hitter in the lineup (Pedroia) doesn’t have a home run.

– Watch out for the month of May. 30 games in 31 days… 11 of those games are against Minnesota and Cleveland… Feels like more wins to me!