Among the statistical devices Red Sox management has at its disposal is a program that simulates a major league season. One thing the Sox brass has done: place American League teams as presently composed in the National League and simulate a 162-game season. The club's conclusion: There is a 10-game difference (which is considered gigantic) between leagues. In other words: An AL team that projects to win 85 games in the AL this season projects to win 95 in the NL, according to general manager Theo Epstein.
Perhaps this helps explain the Sox' remarkable run of success against the NL. They are unbeaten in six consecutive games (sweeps of Atlanta and Washington) and 8-1 overall this year vs. the NL. (They won two of three at Philadelphia last month. Going back to June 12, 2005, the Sox are 17-2 vs. the NL.)
Against the NL this season, the Sox are 7-1 with a 3.55 ERA (relievers, however, are just 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA). As a team, the Sox are batting .332 and slugging .537 with a .406 on-base percentage against NL pitching. That's a team OPS of .943. Now, Kevin Youkilis's season OPS is .943, meaning just about every Sox batter who goes to the plate against an NL pitcher is performing like Youkilis.
Only two Red Sox regulars, Manny Ramírez (.233) and Coco Crisp (.269), are hitting less than .320 vs. the NL. The rest of the lineup: Trot Nixon (.387), Mark Loretta (.375), Jason Varitek (.333), Youkilis (.333), Alex Gonzalez (.333), David Ortiz (.323), Mike Lowell (.321). Gabe Kapler is 4 for 7 (.571). Even Sox pitchers are hacking with success. Josh Beckett is 3 for 7 with a homer and 3 RBIs, helping the pitchers to a total of 5 for 16 (.313).