While the Yankees struck first with their December trade for Stanton, the Red Sox shrugged and waited out the market for J.D. Martinez, the majors’ leader in slugging percentage last year, at .690 for Detroit and Arizona. They signed him to a five-year, $110 million deal after spring training had begun, emphatically answering the Yankees’ big move.

“We do the same thing,” Betts said. “It’s expected.”

Betts is hitting .432 now, even better than the .368 Xander Bogaerts was hitting on Sunday when he tumbled into the third-base dugout while chasing an errant throw. Bogaerts, the shortstop, cracked the talus bone in his left ankle and will miss about two weeks.

“Being part of this team, the way they’re playing right now, I think anyone can fill in and do the job,” Bogaerts said. “There’s just a lot of positive energy here and I don’t want this to be a setback for anyone.”

The Yankees (5-6) have been battered by injuries, too, with Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks, Brandon Drury and others on the disabled list. But the Red Sox are also missing second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who is recovering from knee surgery and has not been cleared to run the bases, and starter Drew Pomeranz, who is working on command in the minors as he comes back from a forearm strain.

The best news for the Red Sox — and the part that should worry the Yankees — is that their top three starters have looked sturdy. After wilting at the finish last season, in performance or health, Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello have combined for a 1.24 earned run average in seven starts.


Chris Sale had little trouble with the Yankees’ lineup.

Bob Dechiara/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Again, that came mostly against the Rays and the Marlins. But those three have averaged more than six innings per start after a light workload in spring training.

“They’re in a good place,” Manager Alex Cora said. “For me, that was most important: From the first pitch they threw in the program in spring training, they were locked in. This is what they’re doing, and you can see the results.”

The Red Sox have supported them with flawless defense; they are the first major league team since at least 1940 go without an error in their first 10 games.

“I know errors are not as important as when we used to play,” Cora said, alluding to the advanced metrics which now evaluate defense more accurately. “But when you make the routine play, you’re doing something good, and they’ve been making routine plays every day. We haven’t turned a few double plays, and we have to do that. But overall we’ve been a good defensive team.”

Losing Bogaerts may hurt. The Red Sox promoted Tzu-Wei Lin from Class AAA Pawtucket and started Brock Holt at shortstop on Tuesday, with Eduardo Nunez at second. Holt and Nunez are versatile former All-Stars, but they are not Bogaerts and Pedroia.

Even so, the Red Sox seem deep enough to weather their absence, and their start gives them a firm foundation. These first 10 games, with such an emphatic capper on Tuesday, were not so much a statement to the Yankees as a reminder to the Red Sox themselves — they are still the team to beat, with good reason.

“You can go through all the clichés — it’s a long season, we’ve got a lot of games left, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” Sale said. “But you see the morale in here, you see the energy, the confidence, kind of the easiness. It allows you to go out there and just play. There’s no pressing the panic button early. We have a lot of trust and a lot of faith in one another.”

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