Deja Vu for the Red Sox

We’ve just about reached the quarter pole of the Red Sox season and, as expected, the team is…pumped to be back at .500. Not exactly what you predicted on Opening Day, right? Despite the Sox’s off-season spending spree, they’re 20-20, just like they were last year after 40 games. But is this year’s team, with mighty (and red hot) Adrian Gonzalez and speedy Carl Crawford at least a better 20-20 than the 2010 edition, which featured, almost from Day 1, a cavalcade of rotating fill-ins like Darnell McDonald?

I hate to be a party-pooper on the day after the Sox just finished a very satisfying sweep of the Yankees in New York, but it seems not. Through 40 games, the 2010 Red Sox, led by the departed Adrian Beltre, were decidedly out-slugging the 2011 team. Check out the stats for each season, through 40 games:

2010: 5.2 runs per game, 55 home runs, batting average .270, on-base percentage .350, slugging percentage of .454.

2011: 4.3 runs per game, 40 home runs, batting average .256, on-base percentage .335, slugging percentage .405.

The pitching stats are more favorable to the current squad, as this year’s staff has posted an ERA of 4.27, compared to last year’s 4.94 through 40 games. But still, that’s a pretty significant gap at the plate.

And yet, the feeling around town is that this year’s team is poised for a big run. Contrast that to 2010 at this time, when we were complaining about the lack of depth in the Sox lineup and pretty much convinced that they just didn’t have firepower to beat out the Yankees and Rays.

The optimism for the 2011 club may be well founded, but strangely enough — at least by the numbers — there was even more reason for it last year.

In any case, enjoy today’s NY Post back page. It’s about as sweet as it gets: