Daily Red Sox Links: Shane Victorino, Juan Nieves, Mike Napoli

USA TODAY Sports

Today's links include stories on some reasons for the team's sudden improvement from last season, Ryan Dempster's huge uptick in strikeouts, and a strange period in Mike Napoli's career.

Compared to the embarrassment that was the 2012 Red Sox, this year's club has gotten off to a hot start. Andrew Mooney looks at some reasons this may be the case. (Andrew Mooney; Boston.com)

Due to back spasms, Shane Victorino hasn't been able to play in about a week. A decision regarding a DL-stint won't be made until tomorrow, though. (Brian MacPherson; Providence Journal)

Ryan Dempster has seen a big rise in his strikeouts this season, and Jeff Sullivan tries to get to the bottom of that trend. (Jeff Sullivan; Fangraphs)

The Marlins have a roster that could be described by any number of synonyms for the word "bad," but they do have a 20-year old phenom in Jose Fernandez who has shown some serious stuff to start his career. (Scott Lewis; Getting Blanked Blog)

As the team plays preseason favorite Toronto this week, Mike Napoli looks back at a strange four-day period that he spent on that roster. (Alex Speier; WEEI.com)

Across baseball, we have seen a big a rise in strikeout-rates. Has a change in approach by hitters led to that? (David Schoenfield; ESPN's Sweetspot Blog)

The pitchers definitely deserve a large portion of the credit for the improved performance in 2013, but the coaching staff has also been a big reason themselves. (Scott Lauber; Boston Herald)

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