Friday May 03, 2013 | 05:47 AM

The Boston Red Sox are 20-8 after Thursday's 3-1 win over Toronto. The season is only 17 percent over, but what does history tell us about such a fine start?

According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal (twitter: @TimBritton), 18 teams started 20-8 since the Wild Card playoff format began. Of those 18, 12 reached the playoffs and two won the World Series.

There is also the case of the 2011 Cleveland Indians. Off to a 20-8 start, they were 54-54 by Aug. 8 and finished 80-82.

Biggest news out of Thursday's win was that Joel Hanrahan came in for the save because Andrew Bailey had some soreness in his biceps muscle. This might not be Closer by Committee, but this Closing Pair gives Boston some flexibility.

The Red Sox had to fly to Texas late Thursday (arriving after 4 a.m. EST this morning). Tonight at 8, two lefties are on the mound - Boston's Felix Doubront (3-0, 4.24) and Derek Holland (1-2, 3.38).

The Sea Dogs had to bus back to Portland Thursday from Reading, Pa., but it was after an 11:30 a.m. game, won by Portland 7-4.

Anthony Ranaudo (1.00 ERA) was the winner with 5 1/3 innings of work: 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Daniel Bard entered in the ninth to finish it, but could not. He faced three batters, striking out one and walking two (15 pitches, four strikes). He threw two wild pitches ... this may take a while to get Bard back in his groove. But at least he has demonstrated he has rebounded before.

Xander Bogaerts (.309) led the offense with two hits, including his first home run ... Christian Vazquez (.255) hit his second home run.

The Sea Dogs are home tonight at 6 p.m. Drake Britton is on the mound.

Alfredo Aceves toed the Pawtucket mound Thursday: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K ... Craig Breslow continued his rehab: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 K ... Chris Hernandez appears to be getting "piggy-back" duties with Aceves down from Boston. He threw two innings: 3 H, 1 R, 1 K.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (.300) went 2-for-4, as did Ryan Lavarnway (.327) and Jeremy Hazelbaker (.321).

I'll be tweeting from Hadlock tonight: @ClearTheBases


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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