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The Most Surprising Numbers of 2010

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With a lucky 13 games left, the number burned into many fans' heads is 6.5 - the number of games separating Boston and Tampa Bay. But that's hardly the only number that jumps out at you as we near the end of this tumultuous season.

2 - The number of games Jon Lester has to win to become a 20-game winner for the first time. The young lefty is having a phenomenal season. He's accumulated 212 strikeouts, which is good for 3rd in the league behind Felix Hernandez (222) and Jered Weaver (218). His ERA, at 3.06, is 7th in the league.

.778 / .792 - These are the OPS of Darnell MacDonald and J.D. Drew, respectively (before Sunday's game*). Only 14 points in the category separate the two guys. Granted, this is a down year for Drew and a career one for MacDonald, but you have to wonder if MacDonald thinks the perpetually injured guy 3 years his senior deserves to be paid $13 million more.

2.48, 2nd - Clay Buchholz's ERA, second only to King Felix. His FIP (3.71) and xFIP (4.22) are both higher, which doesn't bode so well for next season, but Clay has still been dazzlingly successful.

28 / 30 - At the start of the season, I don't think anyone would have guessed the Sox would have two guys at or near 30 homers, neither named Kevin Youkilis. Beltre's shown his best power, since his 2004 48-homer season. Meanwhile, Ortiz has put a horrid April long behind him, and silenced all the haters who were plunging knives into his back two days into the season ("OMG, HE'S 0/7 DFA HIM NOW!!"). The Sox are second only to Toronto in long-balls, thanks to a few career years, as well as power up and down the lineup (8 players with double-digit home run totals).

.329 / 3rd - Beltre's batting average has stayed consistently high throughout the season. Overall his bat has been a revelation, and though he doesn't walk as much as some of our guys (Ortiz has 76 - twice as many as Beltre's 38), the unexpected power and average are real pluses. Beltre's .945 OPS is highest on the team after the DLed Youkilis.

.848 - Jed Lowrie's OPS this season. If he can keep up this pace, I say give him the starting SS job next year. Scutaro's played utility for Oakland, and he can do so again, especially if he isn't fully recovered. Scoots' OPS is only around .718.

$162,747,333 - Red Sox payroll on opening day (this is an AP figure, Cot's gives $168 million). Spending this much and not making the playoffs is a failure of Yankeesque proportions. That figure averages $5.6 million per player (source), but it's not like we see a lot of it. Between guys on the DL, guys not performing (looking at you, Lackey and Beckett), money to departed heroes (namely Julio Lugo) and the ton of AAA and AA players we're sending out, there's not a lot of salary on the field.

18 - Games in which Jacoby Ellsbury played. Along with Mike Cameron's 48 games, 2/3 of our starting outfield has only logged a little over a third of a season.

2, 4 - Ryan Kalish has hit 4 homers this season, but two of them were grandslams. Talk about good timing.

162* -The number of games this year that Boston will play in all of 2010, barring both a miraculous winning streak and a total collapse by New York or Tampa.

*Since I worked in part from Baseball-Reference, which doesn't update until the next day, some of these numbers increased or changed slightly with the Sunday night game.