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

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.

USA TODAY Sports

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)