Is this what a first-place team looks like?

The Red Sox moved into a tie with the Yankees over the weekend, taking a share of the top spot in the American League East by winning 2 of 3 in Houston. The Yankees – losers of six straight on the West Coast – have fallen back to the pack and the race for the divisional crown is on.

Winning the series with the Astros was a major accomplishment for the Sox. While they’ve had one of the best records in baseball over the past four weeks, fans continue to watch this team with a skeptical eye. “Wait ’til they beat a good team” was the cry from most after the team lost 2 of 3 in the Bronx two weeks ago.

Well, they have beaten a good team. A very good team, in fact. The Astros began the week with a stunning 11-game lead in the AL West and were already 22 games above .500.

Yet the Red Sox went into Houston and won a tight 2-1 pitchers’ duel on Friday to set the tone. After an ugly 7-1 loss on Saturday, they came back with one of the most exciting wins of the year on Sunday Night Baseball. The 6-5 win featured a little bit of everything: two homers from Xander Bogaerts; unnecessary warnings issued to both benches after a couple of hit batsmen; and a strong throw from catcher Christian Vazquez that caught Derek Fisher trying to steal second and ended the game.

There were lots of good things to think about as the team arrived in Kansas City in the wee hours Monday morning. The Sox hadn’t committed an error in a season-long six straight games. The bullpen has the second-best ERA of any team in the AL. The Sox had 13 wins when tied or trailing after six innings, one of the best marks in the game.

If you’re a glass-half-full kind of Sox fan, you’re feeling pretty good about this recent run. If you’re a little more skeptical, you’re probably having trouble getting over the team’s weaknesses. And there are plenty of those, too.

Defending Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello has given up more runs than any pitcher in the American League, and leads the league with nine losses. He once again looked horrible in the first inning Saturday night, digging a hole the Sox could never get out of. David Price couldn’t record an out in the sixth inning Sunday night, and described his 2017 season as “terrible” after the game.

That’s two-thirds of a Big Three that was supposed to lead the Sox to the promised land. They haven’t been able to make good on any promised dominance just yet. They have very little starting depth on the mound, as witnessed by Mexican League project Hector Velazquez making his second major league start Monday.

At the plate, the Sox are still last in the AL with 67 home runs before Monday. Their .413 slugging percentage is fourth worst in the league. Hanley Ramirez, batting in the heart of the Red Sox lineup most of this season, is hitting .240 and with just 26 RBI.

At least Hanley starts most days as the team’s designated hitter. Pablo Sandoval had been benched in seven of the last 10 games heading into Monday. He’s been bad at the plate, and worse in the field. Josh Rutledge has filled in admirably, but has been forced to move to second base to replace Dustin Pedroia after Pedroia was hit in the back by a pitch Sunday.

So what does all this mean? It means the Red Sox are a flawed team. Fortunately for them, so is just about every other team in the American League. After an underwhelming first two months, the Sox have battled back and are now where they expected to be – sitting atop the division. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski will now go about seeing who he can add to the roster to help overcome any of these issues that could interfere with their October dreams.

Is this what a first-place team looks like? Yes, it is. Chances are this team will look even better as the season progresses. They’ve made it this far without playing their best baseball of the season.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.