Boston Red Sox
1901: The Boston Americans begin their inaugural season as one of the American League’s charter franchises with a solid pitching staff lead by the all-time win leader Cy Young. Cy would win 33 games in that inaugural season as the Americans would finish a close second to the Chicago White Sox, with a 79-57 record.
1902: The Boston Americans are in the race for first place again, falling six and a half games short while landing in third with a record of 77-60.
1903: Before the start of the season, the Presidents of the American and National Leagues sat down and agreed to a postseason series between the Champion of the American and National Leagues. This series would settle the World Championship of Major League Baseball. In their third season, the Americans once again have a steady pitching rotation led by Cy Young, but in this season, he is joined by Bill Dinneen and Tom Hughes, who each win 20 games. The Americans cruise to the AL Pennant with a record of 91-47 and earn a birth to the Inaugural World Series. The first World Series game is played at the Huntington Avenue Grounds, and Cy Young has the honors of delivering the first World Series Pitch. However, the going is rough from the start as he allows four in the first inning runs en-route to a 7-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, Bill Dinneen steps up and pitches the first Series shut out in Game 2. After the Americans losing Games 3 and 4 in Pittsburgh, Boston finds itself trailing 3-1 in Best-of-Nine Game Series, Cy Young redeems his poor Game 1 performance to get the Americans back in the series 3-2. In Game 6, Bill Dinneen wins his second Series game and draws the Americans even 6-3. After rain pushes back Game 7, the final game in Pittsburgh Cy Young comes back and wins again to send the Americans back to Boston up 4-3. Helping Boston get back into the series was a loyal group of fans known as the “Royal Rooters” led by Nuf Ced McGreevy. McGreevy owned the bar third base side of the Huntington Avenue Ground. They traveled with the team and sang limericks throughout the game, often directed in the direction of the opposing Pirate players. The song they most commonly used was called “Tessie,” originally about a woman singing to her parakeet. Tessie would become the Royal Rooters anthem as the pitching in Game 8 honors fell to Dinneen again, who pitched another shut out to win his third Series game, giving the Americans the very first World Series Championship.
1904: The Americans were strong again, leading the AL for most of the season. This was highlighted on May 5th when Cy Young hurled the first perfect game in American League History. However, the New York Highlanders stayed close all year and caught them on the final weekend of the season. The Highlanders were led by Jack Chesbro, who won an AL record 41 games; however, Chesboro would cough up a Wild Pitch on the next to last day of the season to allow the Americans to take home their second consecutive American League Pennant with a 95-59 record. However, due to a protest by John McGraw, manager of the New York Giants, the only team not in favor of a World Series, the Americans were not able to defend their title as undisputed World Champions.
1905: The aging BostonAmericans are knocked out of their perch on top of the American League, falling to fourth place with a 78-74 record.
1906: Just three years after winning the first-ever World Series, the Americans come crashing down into last place, posting an awful 49-105 record.
1907: After a horrid 1906 in which the Americans lost 105 games and finished last, Boston’s American League Team began to be referred to their nickname to the more familiar Red Sox by fans and media. The season gets off to a rough start when Chick Stahl, the CF from the start in 1901 who assumed the duties of player-manager at the end of the 1906 season, took his own life near the end of spring training by drinking Carbolic Acid. The Sox would go on to finish in seventh place with a record of 59-90.
1908: The Red Sox show significant improvement finishing in fifth place with a 75-79 record. Near the end of the season, Smokey Joe Wood makes his pitching debut. He would go on to be a suitable successor to Cy Young.
1909: After three straight losing seasons, the Red Sox show promise contending for first place before finishing in third place with a solid 88-63.
1910: The Red Sox takes a slight step backward, finishing in fourth place with a record of 81-72.
1911: The Red Sox put together another winning season but can’t seem to rise above the middle of the pack finishing more than 20 games out of first with a 78-75 record.
1912: Built on his land in the Fenway section of Boston, John Taylor moved his Boston Red Sox from the Huntington Avenue Grounds, which they leased, to a new stadium they owned, named Fenway Park. The season opener was delayed two days by rain, and when the New York Highlanders touched up starter Buck O’Brien for five runs early, the “Fenway Faithful” numbering 27,000 must have been praying for more rain that Saturday afternoon. The Red Sox wouldn’t quit, as Charley Hall replaced O’Brien in the fourth inning, the Sox started to heat up. They tagged New York for three runs in the 4th Inning, added another in the 6th, and traded runs in the 8th. The game was knotted at 6-6 after nine innings. 2B Steve Yerkes, who put up an impressive 5-for-6 performance, got into scoring position in the 11th inning. Tris Speaker ended the three-hour game by knocking in Yerkes for a 7-6 victory. The Red Sox would go on to cruise to the AL pennant, with a franchise-best record at 105-47. The Red Sox opponent in the World Series was the same New York Giants who refused to face them in 1904. The Red Sox got off to a fast start in the series taking a 3-1 series lead after five games, which include one game, which ended in a 6-6 tie due to darkness. The Giants would not go down as they jumped all over the Sox in Games 6 and 7 to force a decisive eighth game. After nine innings, the World Series was not settled, and the game went to the 10th tied 1-1. Things appeared bleak as the Red Sox were down 2-1 after the Giants scored in the top of the 10th. However, Giants LF Fred Snodgrass dropped a fly ball and allowed the game to be tied up. The Red Sox would then win the World Series when Larry Gardner brought in the winning run with a Sacrifice Fly.
1913: In the Red Sox second season as Fenway, things don’t go quite as well, as the Sox falls back to the middle of the pack with a 79-71 record that lands them in fourth place.
1914: The Red Sox purchased the contract of Babe Ruth for $8,000 from the Baltimore Orioles, which was then a minor league franchise. The Orioles had discovered the young Ruth while he was enrolled at St. Mary’s School, a Baltimore institution for wayward boys, which had a strong athletic program. At 6′ 2″ and 200 pounds (reportedly all muscle in his youth), Ruth was a significant presence with tremendous ability. When the big lefthander took to the mound for the Sox, he threw with terrific velocity. He also hit with power at the plate and showed agility in the outfield. It was clear early the Babe was the complete package. In his first Major League action, the Babe won two games and lost one while batting .200 in ten at-bats. The Sox would go on to finish in 2nd Place with a 91-63 record.
1915: The Red Sox were powerhouses in the American League again winning 101 games to edge out the Detroit Tigers for the AL Pennant. In his first full season, Babe Ruth won 18 games while just losing eight on the mound, while he hit the first three Home Run of his legendary career. In the World Series, the Sox faced the Philadelphia Phillies. After being shut down by Grover Cleveland Alexander in Game 1, the Red Sox won three consecutive 2-1 Pitcher’s duels. The Red Sox would fall behind early in Game 5, but Harry Hooper would hit two Home Runs, including one that gave the Sox the lead for good in the top of the ninth.
1916: The Red Sox found themselves in the thick of another race for the AL Pennant chase. In the end, the Red Sox were superior again, winning the American League by five games over the Chicago White Sox with a record of 94-60. In comparison, Babe Ruth cemented himself as one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball, winning 23 games while sporting a league-leading 1.75 ERA. In the World Series, the Sox faced the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Red Sox won the first game despite allowing four runs in the 9th inning runs, 6-5. In Game 2, the Dodgers scored one run off Babe Ruth in the first inning. That would be the only run they would score off the Bambino in the 14-inning game won by Babe Ruth and the Red Sox 2-1. After losing Game 3, the Red Sox would take Game 4 and 5 to become the first team win four World Series Championships.
1917: The Red Sox fall nine games short in their bid for a third straight championship with a record of 90-62. However, Babe Ruth wins a career-high 24 games. Babe Ruth’s season would be highlighted by a bizarre no-hitter on June 23rd, in which the Babe walked the first batter of the game and was ejected after arguing with the umpire. Ernie Shore came in and produced a double play with his first pitch and then went on to retire the next 25 batters for a combined No-Hitter.
1918: With World War I raging in Europe, the season is reduced to 126 games. The Boston Red Sox would benefit by holding the lead for the AL pennant with a 75-51 record when the shortened season ends at the end of August. The season also saw Babe Ruth start spending less time on the mound and more in the outfield, as his 11 HR were good enough to tie for the AL lead. In the World Series, the Sox would face the Chicago Cubs. In Game 1, the Babe would extend his World Series scoreless inning streak to 22 as he won a 1-0 pitcher’s duel. The Babe would retake the mound in Game 4 and would get another win. However, the Babe’s World Series scoreless inning streak would end at 29.2 innings, (a record that would stand for 43 years). The win also gave the Sox a 3-1 lead in the series. After losing Game 5, the Red Sox benefited from a Cubs error to win their third Championship in four years and fifth overall. Little did anyone know at that time the Red Sox who were the American League’s premier franchise would not win another World Series for 86 years.
1919: In his first full season as an outfielder Babe Ruth establishes a new Major League record with 29 HR. The 29 HR by the Bambino was more than any other team’s total. However, the Red Sox struggled to finish in sixth place with a disappointing 66-71 record.
1920: It was clear entering the new decade that Babe Ruth was one of baseball’s premier stars, and seemed destined to be a star Red Sox fans would be able to enjoy for many years. However, the Bambino’s Red Sox career would come to a sudden and shocking end on January 3rd when Red Sox Owner and Broadway producer Harry Frazee sold him to the New York Yankees for $100,000. The sale was made so Frazee could produce a Broadway Musical entitled “No-No Nanette.” This would change the paths of the two teams for the next 80 years. Before the deal, the Red Sox won five Championships, while the Yankees won none. Since the deal, the Yankees have won 27, while the Red Sox would suffer an 86-year drought. The Red Sox would go to finish in fourth place with a 72-81 record in their first season without the Babe.
1921: The Red Sox continue to struggle in the middle of the pack finishing in fifth place with a record of 75-79.
1922: While the New York Yankees won their second straight Al Pennant, the Red Sox, who continued to sell off their stars to the Yanks would finish in last place with a record of 61-93.
1923: The Red Sox finish in last place for the second straight season posting a record of 61-91.
1924: The Red Sox continue to struggle but climb out of last place while posting a record of 67-87, landing in 7th place.
1925: The Red Sox finish in last place for the third time in four years, with a miserable 47-105 record.
1926: The Red Sox are in even worse than the previous year, finishing in last place again with a wretched 46-107 record.
1927: The Red Sox finish an embarrassing 59 games out of first place while landing in last with an awful 51-103 record.
1928: The Red Sox end a 3-year string of 100-losses with a 57-96 record, but still finish in last place 43 and a half games out of first.
1929: The Red Sox close out the decade by finishing in last place again with a 58-96 record. It will be the fifth straight season and seventh time in eight years that the Sox occupied the cellar.
1930: The Red Sox start of the decade in the same position they closed out the 20’s by finishing in last place with a 52-102 record.
1931: The Red Sox end a six-year stint in last place by finishing in sixth place with a still dismal record of 62-90.
1932: Things could not get much worse for the Red Sox, as they returned to last place with a franchise-worst record of 43-111, finishing 64 games behind the Babe Ruth led New York Yankees, who won their fourth World Championship since the fateful sale.
1933: At age 30, Tom Yawkey took the reigns from the struggling franchise from Bob Quinn with a desire to guide the Red Sox back onto the winning path. In his first move, he hired Eddie Collins away from Philadelphia Athletics to become the team’s vice-president and general manager. This showed that Yawkey was willing to dip into his pocket to bring a solid team to Fenway Park. In Yawkey’s first season as owner, the Sox would finish in seventh place with a 63-86 record.
1934: The Red Sox acquire Left Grove from the Philadelphia Athletics for $125,000. Despite Grove struggling to post an 8-8 record, the Sox finish in fourth place with a 76-76 record, ending a 15-year string of losing seasons.
1935: Joe Cronin takes over the reins as manager and guides the Red Sox to their first winning season since 1918 at 78-75, which was good enough for fourth place.
1936: The Red Six make another big purchase for the Philadelphia Athletics; this time, it is slugger Jimmie Foxx. However, the Sox would struggle to finish in sixth place with a record of 74-80.
1937: The Red Sox continue to play mediocre baseball posting a record of 80-72 while finishing in fifth place.
1938: Led by Jimmie Foxx, who captures the American MVP, as the Red Sox challenge for the AL Pennant, before finishing nine and a half games behind the New York Yankees in second place with a solid 88-61 record.
1939: Ted Williams makes a big splash in his rookie season, by batting .327 while smashing 31 homers, and driving in 145 RBI. The Red Sox would fall short again in their quest for the Pennant, by finishing in second place with an 89-63 record.
1940: The Red Sox finish within eight games of first place while landing in fourth place with a record of 82-72.
1941: Ted Williams went into the last day of the season, hitting .3996, an average that officially rounds up to .400. With a .400 average safely in the record books and the Red Sox eliminated from the postseason with an 84-76 record, no one expected Ted to play in the September 28th season-ending doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics. Manager Joe Cronin even suggested Ted Williams take the day off. Never having backed into anything, there was no doubt in Williams’ mind that he was going to play. Williams went 4-5 with a home run in the first game to raise his average to .404. Would he sit out the second half? Fat chance. Ted was going for it all. Teddy Ballgame doubled and singled in three at-bats to raise his average to a blistering .406. Nobody has managed to hit .400 since.
1942: With another spectacular season from Ted Williams, the Red Sox make another run for the pennant, but fall short again with a solid record of 93-59. Following, the season Ted Williams would enlist to fight in World War II, joining an impressive list of all-stars who would be absent from baseball over the next three years while fighting in Europe and the Pacific.
1943: In the first season without Ted Williams, the Red Sox struggle mightily finishing in seventh place with a 68-84 record.
1944: The Red Sox play mediocre baseball, finishing with a .500 record of 77-77 while landing in fourth place.
1945: With the War wrapping up the Red Sox play their third season without Ted Williams, and finish in seventh place, with a record of 71-83.
1946: With Ted Williams returning from flying combat missions for the Marines in the Pacific, the Red Sox were set to make their return to contention. Williams showed no rust hitting .342 while hitting 38 HR and driving in 123 RBI, as he captured the AL MVP as the Red Sox won 104 games and cruised to their first AL Pennant in 28 years. In the World Series, the heavily favored Red Sox faced the St. Louis Cardinals. However, the Cardinals were able to completely shut down Ted Williams, holding him to a .200 Batting Average while only knocking in one run. After five games, the Sox held three games to two lead, before losing the sixth game to set up a seventh and deciding game. In that game, Enos Slaughter scored the winning run from first base on a single, as Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky was unable to get rid of the ball fast enough. Ted Williams would not make another appearance in the World Series.
1947: Ted Williams, captures the Triple Crown, but loses out on the MVP to Joe DiMaggio, of the New York Yankees, as the Red Sox finish in third Place 83-71 record may have hurt Williams’ MVP effort.
1948: The Red Sox finished the regular season in a first-place tie with the Cleveland Indians at 96-58. This would force a one-game playoff, the first of its kind in the American League, at Fenway Park. In the end, the Indians beat the Sox rather easily by a score of 8-3. Manager Joe McCarthy did not start Mel Parnell, who was the Sox best pitcher, because he was a rookie. Instead, Denny Galehouse took the mound, and lost the game, thus ending the Red Sox season. To make matters worse, if the Red Sox had won the World Series would have been an all Bean Town affair as the cross-town Braves represented the National League in the Fall Classic.
1949: The New York Yankees had a lead over the Red Sox for most of the regular season. However, as September rolled around, the Sox managed to overtake the Yanks and maintained a slim one-game lead with two days to go. However, with the final two games in New York against the Yankees. The Sox would lose both games, and let another shot at the Fall Classic pass them by as they settled for second place with a 96-58 record.
1950: In the thick of a four-team Pennant race all season the Red Sox, fall four games short while finishing in third place with a record of 94-60.
1951: Despite a solid 87-67 record, the Red Sox can only manage to get within 11 games of first place while landing in third place.
1952: With Ted Williams missing most of the season, fighting in the Korean War, the Red Sox struggle to finish in sixth place with a 76-78 record.
1953: Giving new meaning to the term seventh-inning stretch, the Red Sox scored 17 runs in one inning against the Detroit Tigers on June 18th. The Sox sent 23 batters to the plate as the Tigers tried to stop the bleeding with three different pitchers. None of them worked. The Sox had 14 hits and six walks in the record-setting inning. Leading the charge was Dick Gernert and Gene Stephens. Stephens set a major league record with three hits in one inning, while Gernert knocked in four of the 17 runs. The Sox finished with 27 hits and 23 runs. It is too bad that only 3,626 fans showed up to see the barrage of runs. The Sox broke or tied 17 major league records that day, even though the greatest hitter in Sox history, Ted Williams, was still fighting in the Korean War. With Williams returning late in the year, the Sox would go on to finish in fourth place with a record of 84-69.
1954: Ted Williams misses a month due to an injury, and the Red Sox struggle to a 69-85 record that landed them in a distant fourth place.
1955: Despite injures limiting Ted Williams to 98 games, the Red Sox bounce back to finish with a record of 84-70 that had them in fourth Place again, but only 12 games out of first.
1956: In a carbon copy of the year before the Red Sox finish in fourth place again, with a record of 84-70 for the second straight season.
1957: Ted Williams shows flashes of his younger days by leading the American League with a .388 average. The Red Sox would go on to finish in a second-place tie with a record of 82-72.
1958: The Red Sox continue to play mediocre baseball as they finish in third place with a record of 79-75.
1959: Ted Williams’ age begins to show as he hits a career-worse .254, as the Red Sox struggle to finish in fifth place with a 75-79 record.
1960: In his last at-bat of a Hall of Fame career, Ted Williams sent 10,454 fans into a frenzy when he launched a 1-1 pitch from Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher Jack Fisher high into the damp gray sky and in the Red Sox bullpen for a home run. In his customary fashion, Williams quickly circled the bases with his head down. Those who braved the cold that afternoon cheered wildly in an attempt to stir a show of emotion from the 42-year-old retiring star, but the “Splendid Splinter” kept it all inside. Having just missed a home run his last time up, Ted came to bat in the 8th inning and put the finishing touches on his brilliant career with homer No. 521. At the time of his retirement, his 521 homers placed him third on the all-time list behind Babe Ruth and former teammate Jimmie Foxx. The Sox did not fare as well, finishing in seventh place with a 65-89 record.
1961: To replace Ted Williams, the Red Sox call up highly touted prospect Carl Yastrzemski. Yaz did not quite live up to expectations that first year, but he would go on to become a Hall of Famer, and a Sox legend in his own right. In the first season of the post-Williams era, the Red Sox would finish in sixth place with a record of 76-86.
1962: The Red Sox continue to struggle as they finish in eighth place with a record of 74-88.
1963: The Red Sox continue to ride a wave of mediocrity as they finish in seventh place with a record of 76-85.
1964: The struggles of the Red Sox continue as Manager Johnny Pesky is fired near the end of an eighth-place season that season the Red Sox post a 72-90 record.
1965: The Red Sox lose 100 games on the way to finishing in ninth Place, for the Sox it in a seventh consecutive losing season.
1966: The Red Sox lose a league-high 90 games but avoid finishing in last place by percentage points over the New York Yankees.
1967: After a string of eight consecutive losing seasons, the Red Sox find themselves in the heart of a tight three-team race. On August 18th, all hope looked lost when hometown hero and one of the Red Sox top hitters Tony Conigliaro was lost for the season with a severe eye injury after getting hit in the face by a pitch from Jack Hamilton of the California Angels. However, Carl Yastrzemski picked up his team, placed it squarely on his back, and carried them to “The Impossible Dream.” As the pressure mounted, Yaz got better, going 23 for his last 44, 10 for his last 13, seven for his last eight, including a 4-for-4 on the final game of the year to give the Sox the pennant by one game over the Detroit Tigers, and Minnesota Twins, with a record of 92-70. On that last day, the Sox fell behind the Twins 2-0 early. Move to the Sox batting in the 5th; the bases are loaded and up steps Yaz. Like there was ever a doubt, the captain ripped a long single to right to tie things up at two. The Sox would go up 5-2, and the combo of Yaz and Cy Young award winner Jim Lonborg would not let the Twins get close. Yaz ended up taking home the AL MVP while winning the Triple Crown, a feat no one in the Majors has accomplished since. In the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Red Sox were able to take the Impossible Dream to a seventh game. The pitching of Bob Gibson was too much to overcome as he beat Jim Lonborg for his third win of the series to hold off the Red Sox, who forced a seventh game after falling behind three games to one. Lonborg had captured two games himself to keep the Sox hopes alive but matched up against a well-rested Bob Gibson; it was too much for even Lonborg to overcome.
1968: The Red Sox wake up from their “Impossible Dream,” and have another strong season at 86-76, but finished 17 games out of first in fourth Place.
1969: Surpassing remarkable odds, Tony Conigliaro returned and batted .255 with 20 homers and won the Comeback Player of the Year award. However, the Sox would finish a distant third place in the AL East with a record of 87-75.
1970: Tony Conigliaro was even better as he belted 36 dingers with 116 RBI, as the Sox repeated their third-place 87-75 performance. To assist his ability to see pitches, fans sitting in the centerfield bleachers at Fenway Park avoided wearing light-colored clothing. Conigliaro’s vision worsened again and forced his retirement. Tony Conigliaro would make a brief but failed an attempt at a comeback in 1975, but in the end, his injury was too much to overcome. In the end, tragedy would strike Tony C. again when at age 37, Conigliaro suffered a heart attack, which left him in poor physical health before dying eight years later at the young age of 45 in 1990.
1971: The Red Sox finished in third place in the AL East again with a record of 85-77, as they played solid baseball all season.
1972: The Red Sox were frustrated and fell victim to rules set down after an early-season three-week Player’s Strike. The Sox ended up playing one fewer game then the AL East Champion Detroit Tigers. However, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ruled that no games canceled due to the April strike would be made up, and this left the Sox a half-game out with an 85-70 record when the season was over.
1973: The Red Sox would finish in second place again with another solid record of 89-73.
1974: Going into September, the Red Sox led the Baltimore Orioles and the AL East by four games. However, a slump at the wrong time led to a collapse, and the Sox fell to third place seven games behind the division Champion Orioles with an 84-78 record.
1975: Fred Lynn and Jim Rice both playing in their first full season battle all season for Rookie of the Year honors. Rarely does a team led by two Rookies even contend, but the outstanding years by Lynn and Rice were of historic proportions. Each batted over .300, hit over 20 HR, and drove in over 100 RBI. On the mound, Luis Tiant and the irreverent Left Bill “Spaceman” Lee led the Sox to their first division title with a 95-65 record, as Fred Lynn claimed not only Rookie of the Year honors, but became the first player to take home the MVP in the very same season. In the ALCS, the Red Sox would take on the Oakland A’s who had only won the last three consecutive World Series. Surprisingly the Sox would not only win, but they would win easily, sweeping the defending Champions in three straight games. In the World Series, the Red Sox would face the Cincinnati Reds as the Fall Classic took on new meaning. The Series would get off to a fast start for the Sox as Luis Tiant shut down the Big Red Machine 6-0. In Game 2, it looked as if the Sox would win again, heading to the ninth with a 2-1 lead. After a leadoff double by Johnny Bench, starter Bill Lee was replaced by reliever Dick Drago, who would retire the first two men he faced and got the Sox within one out of 2-0 series lead. Dave Concepcion would tie the game on a single, steal second and score the eventual winning run on a Ken Griffey double. Game 3 saw six Homers hit as the game went to extra innings. Ed Armbrister of the Reds bunt in the 10th inning would bring a controversial ending to the game when he interfered with Carlton Fisk’s throw, and the ball sailed into the center. After the Sox rebounded to win Game 4, the Reds took Game 5, and the series returned to Fenway Park Reds leading 3-2. This would set the stage for the most exciting games in baseball and World Series history. After three days of rain postponed Game 6, the Red Sox were able to tab Luis Tiant, who won Games 1 and 4 to start Game 6. The Sox got off to a fast start scoring three runs in the first and lead 3-0 after four innings. The Reds scored three runs to tie the game in the fifth inning and would take the lead 5-3 in the 7th. After the Reds tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, all hope looked lost for the Old Towne Team. With two outs and two on, manager Darrell Johnson called on Bernie Carbo to pinch-hit. Reds reliever Pedro Borbon seemed to have Carbo overmatched as he quickly got ahead of him 0-2. The next pitch, Carbo still looking overmatched, barely fouled off to keep alive. Then out of nowhere, Carbo delivered a dramatic three-run game-tying homer to Center Field to tie the game 6-6. Over the next three innings, both teams had opportunities to win the game but were turned away. In the 12th inning, Carlton Fisk delivered the winning blow when he homered down the Left Field line to force a 7th and deciding game. After a Game 6 that many still call the greatest game ever played, Game 7 would draw the highest Television audience in baseball history. Things looked good for the Sox in that 7th game as the Sox grabbed a fast 3-0 lead. Through five innings, the Sox led 3-0, and Bill Lee had the Big Red Machine off balance. Then all of a sudden, with one swing of the bat, the game would change suddenly when Tony Perez homered with a runner on base in the 6th. The Reds would tie the game in the seventh, and win the game on a Joe Morgan single in the 9th. Once again, the Red Sox would come up short in a Championship chase; however, no one could consider the 1975 team losers.
1976: With the Red Sox still within reach of first place, the Sox bought Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers from the Oakland Athletics for a million dollars. Rudi and Fingers each suited up, ready to play. However, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ruled the deal was illegal, and neither would ever appear in a game for the Red Sox in 1976. Eventually, Rudi would wear a Sox uniform, but years after his prime. The season would end in disappointment too as the Sox finished a distant third with a record of 83-79.
1977: Led by a spectacular offense, the Red Sox were able to compete in a three-way battle for the Eastern Division until the final weekend of the season. The lack of pitching would haunt the Sox as the finished in a tie for second place with a record of 97-64.
1978: The Red Sox would get off to a flying start, and by the middle of the season, led their division by ten games and even had a 14 and a half games cushion on the New York Yankees. The Line-up was even more potent than the year before as Jim Rice hit 46 home runs and drove in 139 RBI en route to winning the AL MVP. The pitching was even more reliable for the Sox as Dennis Eckersley won 20, and newly acquired Mike Torrez gave them a proven winner to stabilize the pitching staff. However, the Sox began to stumble in August as the Yankees made a final charge to defend their crown. Going into September, the Sox still had a stranglehold leading the Yankees by 4 with 4 Game series at Fenway Park beginning on September 7th. Not only would the Sox get swept and see their division lead vanish, but in each game, the Sox would be blown out in what would become known as the Boston Massacre. The Red Sox would start winning again and would remain close to the Yankees for the rest of the year, and on the final day of the season, found themselves in a tie for the division with 99 wins. This would set up a one-game playoff, much like the one in 1948, to be played at Fenway Park. The Sox would get off to a fast start as Carl Yastrzemski hit an HR to give the Sox an early 2-0 lead off the Yankees dominate Cy Young winner Ron Guidry. The lead would hold up until the seventh as Mike Torrez kept the Yanks off-balance all day. Then Bucky Dent perhaps the least likely Yankee to go deep ht a 3-run homer over the Green Monster to give the Yankees a lead. The Yankees would build on the lead, but the Sox would come back, and in the ninth, Yaz came up to the plate with tying run on third and winning run on first. Heroics were not meant to be as Yaz popped weekly to Graig Nettles at third base, and the curse seemed to rear its head once again.
1979: On September 12th Carl Yastrzemski now 40-years old, delivered the 3,000 hits of his prestigious career with a ground ball up the right side. The season would end in disappointment again as the Sox despite winning 91 games was never really in the race for the Division Championship.
1980: Manager Don Zimmer is dismissed near the end of the season as the Red Sox finish in fourth place with a record of 83-77.
1981: After playing mediocre baseball before the strike, the Red Sox make a serious run for the AL East title in the second half of a strike-shortened split season coming one and a half games short while posting a combined record of 59-49.
1982: The Red Sox string of winning season continues with an 89-73 record, but they can only manage a third-place finish, six games out of first.
1983: On October 2nd, the stern exterior cracked enough for millions of fans to catch a glimpse of the man behind the #8. When Carl Yastrzemski exited the dugout before the scheduled game with the Cleveland Indians after a gathering with teammates in the clubhouse, the cheers were deafening. Six minutes of roaring appreciation for the man who guarded the leftfield wall for the Olde Towne Team over two decades. Yaz was presented with a car, a boat and a Bronco, a silver bat, a silver bowl, and a rocking chair. They were small tokens of New England’s appreciation for Yastrzemski’s efforts and approach to the game, presented before a moment that stands clear in memory of all who could see it. Yaz jogged to the fans, beginning a run around the field where he shook as many hands as he could. He made his way down the right-field line, waved to the screaming fans in the center field bleachers, and headed for the familiar confines of left field before reaching the Red Sox dugout. In total, Yaz would end his career with 3,419 hits, 452 Home Runs, and 1,844 RBI. Yaz’s career would not end on a winning note as the Sox sunk to sixth Place with a record of 78-84.
1984: In the first season without Yaz, the Red Sox put up a respectable 84-78 record, but are not even a factor for the division title while finishing in fourth place.
1985: The Red Sox suffered through a mediocre season finishing in fifth place with a .500 record of 81-81.
1986: On April 29th Roger Clemens had a historic day by striking out a nine-inning record 20 Seattle Mariners in a game at Fenway Park. That game would symbolize both the season for Roger Clemens and the Boston Red Sox. Clemens would go on to dominate the American League winning 24 games, and lead the league with a 2.48 ERA. Clemens’s domination would even shine in the All-Star Game as he took home the game’s MVP. It would not be the only hardware the Rocket would take home that season as he won both the Cy Young and MVP. As for the Red Sox, they would lead the way in the AL East for most of the season. The Yankees provided a stiff challenge, but this time, it would be the Sox who would prevail with division championship, winning 95 games. In the ALCS, the Sox would take on the California Angels. The series would get off to a disappointing start when the Angels battered Roger Clemens to take Game 1 by a score of 8-1. The Sox would rebound to take the second game and headed off to Anaheim tied one game apiece. After the Angels took Game 3, the Red Sox led 3-0 in Game 4 in the ninth inning. Roger Clemens would run out of gas, and the Sox would lose the lead with Calvin Schiraldi pitching in the 9th Inning, and in the 11th Inning, they would lose the game to fall behind in the series three games to one. Things would even look bleaker for the Sox when the Angels grabbed 5-2 lead heading to the 9th Inning. Then with two outs and two runs in with another on-base Dave Henderson, and the Red Sox were down to their last strike when all of a sudden, Hendu lifted a two-run Homer to give the Sox a lead. The Sox were in trouble again in the bottom of the ninth inning when the Angels tied the game and had the bases loaded, but the Sox would hold on and win the game in 11 innings to send the series back to Fenway 3-2. The Red Sox would easily win the next two games, and the Old Towne Team found itself back in the Fall Classic. In the World Series, the Red Sox would face the heavily favored New York Mets. The Red Sox would win the first two games at Shea only to lose the next two at Fenway Park. After Bruce Hurst dominated the Mets for the second time in Game 5, the Red Sox would send Roger Clemens to close out the Mets in six games at Shea Stadium. The Sox would lead Game 6 early, but the Mets would battle back to tie. The Red Sox would retake the lead in the seventh inning only to be tied again in the eighth, as the game would go into extra innings. Leading off the tenth, Dave Henderson gave the Sox the lead back. After an insurance run gave everyone the feeling that the Curse of the Bambino was over, the Sox would quickly get the first two outs. Champaign was ready in the Red Sox clubhouse, as was the trophy. The media World Series MVP voted Bruce Hurst. The scoreboard at Shea Stadium even flashed a sign congratulating the Red Sox for winning the 1986 World Series. Manager John McNamara kept the hobbling veteran first baseman Buckner in the game so he could be on the field for the last out. Then without warning, the Mets would come back first; it started innocently enough when Gary Carter singled up the middle. He was followed by singles from Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight. The lead, which seemed comfortable moments ago, had become tenuous at 5-4 as the tying run was only 90 feet away. McNamara not wanting to see Calvin Scharldi hit anymore brought in Bob Stanley. Stanley would get Mookie Wilson to 2 strikes before uncorking a Wild Pitch that would suddenly tie the game. The Sox were stunned, and moments later, the game would be lost when Mookie’s slow dribbler went through Bill Buckner’s legs to force a 7th game. After a Sunday Night rain out, the Sox were able to tap Bruce Hurst to start Game 7. Hurst had the lead until the sixth inning 3-0, but much like in 1975, the lead would be lost, and soon after that, so would the game, as the Sox were left the wonder what might have been.
1987: Roger Clemens repeats his Cy Young performance, but the Red Sox fall to fifth place with a disappointing 78-84 record that had them 20 games out of first.
1988: The Red Sox would get off to a slow start, and after 85 games, they were barely above .500 when the decision was made to fire Manager John McNamara. The move seemed to work magic on the Sox as new manager Joe Morgan seemed to work magic, and the Sox went on a 13-game winning streak. In the second half of the season, the Sox became unbeatable at home, winning 20 straight games at Fenway Park, as they charged back into the American League Eastern Division race. The Sox would remain hot through September and would overtake the Detroit Tigers to win the division by one game, with an 89-73 record. However, the Sox would not provide much of a challenge in the ALCS losing in four straight games to the Oakland Athletics.
1989: The Red Sox would stumble again and finished with a disappointing third Place 83-79 record.
1990: The Red Sox found themselves in another tight race for the division title beating out the Toronto Blue Jays by two games to AL East despite only winning 88 games. However, just like in 1988, the Sox would not provide a challenge to the Oakland Athletics losing in four games. This would extend their postseason losing streak to ten games.
1991: Roger Clemens claims his 3rd Cy Young award as the Red Sox contend for the division again, but this time they fall seven games short with an 84-78 record, that lands them in a second-place tie with the Detroit Tigers.
1992: The Red Sox struggle all year and finish in last place with a record of 73-89. Following the season 3B Wade Boggs would stun Red Sox Nation, by signing a Free Agency Deal with the New York Yankees.
1993: Led by Mo Vaughn, who has a breakout season with 29 homers and 101 RBI, the Red Sox rebound off their last-place season nicely and finishes in fifth place just missing the .500 mark with a record of 80-82.
1994: When the Player’s Strike ended the season on August 12th, the Red Sox were already out of the playoff picture, and fighting just to stay out of last place with a 54-61 record.
1995: The Red Sox surprised even their fans by playing fantastic baseball the whole year and winning their division with an 86-58 record. In the first-ever ALDS, the Red Sox were matched up against a superior Cleveland Indians team. In Game 1, Tim Naehring hit a home run in the top of the 11th inning to give the Sox a lead. All seemed safe with ace closer Rick Aguilera coming in, as he had blown only one game during the regular season since the Sox acquired him in the middle of the season. The first man up was Albert Belle fouled off several pitches before hammering a hanging forkball into the leftfield standing-room-only crowd. With the score tied, the action moved to the bottom of the 15th inning. With two outs, the weak-hitting Tony Peña, a former smashed a 3-0 pitch into the stands to give the Tribe a dramatic opening game victory. From that point, it was all downhill for the Sox, as the Indians took the next two games to complete the three-game sweep. These losses pushed the Sox’ record of consecutive postseason defeats to 13. To make matters worse, AL MVP Mo Vaughn went 0-for-10 in the series.
1996: On September 15th Roger Clemens duplicated his 1986 feat by striking out 20 Tigers in a game in Detroit. As it would turn out, it would be the last great moment for the Rocket Man in a Red Sox uniform as trouble between him and General Manager Dan Duquette boiled over, and the Rocket lifted off for Toronto after the season in which the Sox finished in third place with an 85-77 record.
1997: In the first season without Roger Clemens, the Red Sox struggled and finished in fourth place with a record of 78-84. Meanwhile, Clemens won his fourth Cy Young, playing on a mediocre Toronto Blue Jays club.
1998: To make up for the loss off Roger Clemens one season earlier, the Red Sox acquired Pedro Martinez from the Montreal Expos. Despite being miles behind the New York Yankees the Red Sox for the division title, the Red Sox take the AL Wild Card with a record of 92-70 and head off to the postseason where they face the Cleveland Indians again. In the Game 1 of the ALDS in Cleveland, the Red Sox send Pedro Martinez to the mound. Martinez can work his magic as the Sox put an end to their record 13-game postseason losing streak. That would be the only win for the old town team as the Tribe bounced back to win the next three games and the series.
1999: The Red Sox find themselves behind the New York Yankees again in the AL East. To make matters worse long time Sox hero Roger Clemens is now in the hated pinstripe uniform of the Yankees. Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez dominates the AL, and the Red Sox claim the Wild Card again with a record of 94-68 to earn another series against the Cleveland Indians. After losing the first two games, all hope looked lost again, but the Red Sox were able to take advantage of weak Indian pitching to win the next two and force a decisive fifth game in Cleveland. In Game 5, the Indians hoped all over the Red Sox, but the Sox were able to get back in the games, as Charles Nagy was unable to hold the lead. Manager Jimy Williams seeing the next round in reach, decided to insert Pedro Martinez into the game during the fifth. Pedro would not even allow a base runner as the Red Sox pulled away to win the series and earn an ALCS matchup with the rival Yankees. In the ALCS, the Yankees took the first two games in the Bronx before a Game 3 matchup between Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens. The matchup ended up a mismatch as the Sox won the Game 13-1. However, it would be the only game the Yankees would lose in the series, and postseason, as the Red Sox would be closed out in five games and had salt poured into their wounds when Clemens won the final game of the World Series for the Yankees.
2000: Pedro Martinez, captures his second straight Cy Young. However, the Red Sox have nobody to back him up, as the Sox finish in second place with an 85-77 record, and fail to make the playoffs.
2001: Making a good first impression was a goal for the newly acquired Hideo Nomo when he started the second game of the season on April 4th. However, no one would have expected to be as good as it was. Nomo would end up no-hitting the Baltimore Orioles, for the first no-hitter in the 21st Century, and the first for a Red Sox in 35 years. However, injuries and turmoil would quickly become the story of the season. Nomar Garciaparra would miss the first half with a wrist injury. The injury situation would get worse as Pedro Martinez didn’t win a game after May, with a shoulder injury. However, despite the injuries, the Red Sox remained in playoff contention. However, the problems between Manager Jimy Williams and star OF Carl Everett would come to ahead. GM Dan Duquette, would also have issues with Sox manager, and refused to support him when he wanted to bench Everett. Williams would end up being fired in late August with Sox still in contention. The firing would blow up in the Red Sox’s face as new Manager Joe Kerrigan, saw the Sox go into a slump and fall out of contention before finishing in second place with a record of 82-79. Following the season Carl Everett would be traded as the Sox were fed up with troubles he caused in the clubhouse
2002: Change was in the air in the off-season as the Red Sox were sold to a group headed by John Henry. The new ownership group opened their wallets quickly, signing Free Agents Johnny Damon, and John Burkett. However, the Sox leadership would remain in limbo all the way to spring training when GM Dan Duquette was fired. A week later, Manager Joe Kerrigan would follow him out the door even though pre-season games had already started. By the time the season began, Grady Little was the Manager, and the Red Sox would get off to a fast start winning 30 of their first 41 games, as Derek Lowe emerged as a star in the starting rotation throwing a No-Hitter on the way to 21 wins. However, the Red Sox would only play mediocre baseball the rest of the way, settling for second place with a 93-69 record.
2003: The Boston Red Sox bashed the ball all season as new acquisitions Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, and David Ortiz gave the Red Sox the most powerful lineup in baseball. The Red Sox led the majors in several key offensive categories including RBI, and Batting Average. As the Sox hit an impressive .289 as a team, Mueller and Manny Ramirez finished 1-2 in the AL in hitting separated by one-hundredth of a point. Not only did the Red Sox have a potent offense, but they also had a stable starting pitching staff led by Pedro Martinez, who had a league-low 2.22 ERA. The Red Sox weak spot all season would be their bullpen as they struggled to find someone to close games all season. The Red Sox made several different trades to find the right man to do the job. In the playoffs, as the Sox were on a season-long collision course with their hated rivals, the New York Yankees, who Sox President Larry Lucchino labeled the “Evil Empire” before the season. The Red Sox would settle for second place, but they would earn the wild card with a record of 95-67. In the playoffs, the Red Sox would get off to a shaky start dropping the first two games to the Oakland Athletics. Facing a three-game sweep, the Red Sox kept their hopes alive with a dramatic pinch-hit HR by Trot Nixon in the 11th Inning. Facing elimination again in Game 4, the Red Sox rallied from a 4-1 deficit to even the series on a two-run double by David Ortiz in the 8th Inning. In the decisive Game 5, the Sox jumped out to a 4-1 lead themselves but had to hold on to a 4-3 lead as Derek Lowe struck out Terrance Long with the bases loaded in the bottom of th9th to move on to the ALCS for a classic showdown with the Yankees. Like, two heavyweights, the Red Sox, and Yankees pounded each other all season with neither team showing any signs of dominance as the Yanks took 10 of 19 games. Now in the ALCS, the two looked poised for another battle sure they go the distance with a trip to the World Series on the line. The Sox would draw first blood as Tim Wakefield knuckleball tied up the Yankees in Game 1 for a 5-2 win. After the Yankees took Game 2, the series shifted to Fenway, where the fireworks got started as the two bitter enemies nearly came to blows several times. Pedro Martinez faced former Red Sox Roger Clemens; the Yanks would go on to win the controversial game 4-3 to take a 2-1 series lead. The Sox would bounce back to even the series at two games apiece as Wakefield tied the Yankees up again. In Game 5, the Red Sox bats would be silenced by David Wells as the Yankees to a 3-2 series lead back to New York. The resilient Sox were not about to fold winning Game 6 with some late-inning thunder for a 9-6 win. In Game 7, Martinez and Clemens faced off again, but it was a mismatch as the Sox chased Clemens early as Pedro was dominant with the Sox taking a 5-2 lead into the 8th Inning. However, Pedro was tiring as the Yankees began to hit him hard, instead of calling on the bullpen Manager Grady Little left his ace in the game and became the source of scorn throughout Red Sox Nation as the Yanks tied the game at 5. Tim Wakefield would come into pitch in the extra innings, hoping to keep the Yanks tied up long enough for the Sox to take the lead. On the first pitch of the 11th Inning, Aaron Boone would homer and send the Yankees on to the World Series. Following their late-inning collapse, the Red Sox would fire Little, who was chosen unanimously as the scapegoat for the Red Sox, not making it to the World Series. The Sox would also improve the team on the field by acquiring pitcher Curt Schilling from the Arizona Diamondbacks, giving them perhaps the best 1-2 punch in all of baseball.
2004: Just as the Spring Training was starting, it seemed the Red Sox were upstaged by the New York Yankees again when they acquired reigning MVP Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers after the Red Sox pursued him all winter. This would only add fuel to the fire of rivalry that burned hotter than ever before. The Sox would get their first shot at the Yankees in a four-game series in mid-April taking three of four games at Fenway Park a week later at Yankee Stadium they would do even better sweeping the Yankees in a three-game series on the way to a solid 15-6 April that had them in first place. Over the next two months, the Red Sox would struggle as the Yankees overtook them for the division lead. When they faced their hated rivals again at the end of June, it was the Yankees who pulled out the brooms as Derek Jeter gave up his body for an out while Nomar Garciaparra who had fallen out favor of with the team and the fans sat out with the lingering effects of an Achilles injury. As July arrived, the Yankees were pulling away as the Red Sox found themselves down by ten games when the two met again for a July 24th weekend series in Fenway. The Yankees would grab the first game as no matter what the Sox did seemed to be able to top their rivals. In Game 2, they were trailing again frustrated Bronson Arroyo plunked Alex Rodriguez, as A-Rod yelled out to Arroyo Catcher Jason Varitek stopped in and laid down the law as the Yankees and Sox exchanged punches in a benching clearing brawl. The brawl seemed to awaken the slumbering Sox, as they rallied to win the game 11-10 as Bill Mueller hit a two-run game-winning homer off Yanks’ super closer Mariano Rivera. The following night the Sox would win again 9-6 to take two of three from the Yankees. At the trade deadline, the Red Sox, who were hampered by errors through much of the season, concentrating on speed and defense acquiring. Dave Roberts to be a pinch-runner off the bench in late innings from the Los Angeles Dodgers while getting Doug Mientkiewicz to provide late-inning defense at 1B. The most stunning deal came when the BoSox sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs in a three-team deal that saw them land Orlando Cabrera from the Montreal Expos. With the transactions, and the renewed confidence, the Red Sox were able to cut into the Yankees lead, but they could not regain first place. With a 98-64 record, the Red Sox claimed the Wild Card for the second straight season, as many experts gave them the edge heading into the playoffs thanks to their rotation led by Curt Schilling, who posted a 21-6 record in his first year in Boston. Entering the playoffs, all of baseball was anticipating another showdown between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees. First, the Sox had to beat the Anaheim Angels, which they would do with relative ease, sweeping the ALDS in three games as David Ortiz capped the series with a two-run tenth inning walk-off homer to give the Sox an 8-6 series-clinching win in Game 3. Against the Yankees, things would not be as easy as they dropped the first two games of the ALCS on the road. Things looked even bleaker as Curt Schilling pitching hurt all year had torn tendons in his ankle, putting doubt into whether he could retake the mound. After rain postponed Game 3 for a day, the Sox pitching took it on the chin as the Yankees took a commanding 3-0 series lead with a dominant 19-8 victory that seemed to put to rest the hopes of another season. The Red Sox, who appeared to be star crossed at every turn with no titles in 86 years, were one game away from being swept by the Yankees; most had thought their nemesis had gotten them again.
2004 Comeback: No team in the history of baseball had battled back from a 3-0 deficit, and this was the Red Sox, and those were the Yankees; only idiots thought they had a chance. In Game 4, the death watch was on as the Sox trailed 4-3 entering the 9th inning with super closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. Kevin Millar would lead off the inning by earning a walk; Dave Roberts was sent into to pinch run. Roberts would promptly steal second and score on Bill Mueller’s single to tie the game as the Sox suddenly had new life. The Red Sox would take advantage of that new life as the won the game 6-4 on a 2-run homer by David Ortiz in the 12th Inning. The following day the Yankees had the Sox on the ropes again leading 4-2 in the eighth inning before an Ortiz tied the game with a two-run homer. The game would remain tied until the 14th inning when David Ortiz was the hero again with a game-winning single to send the series back to the Bronx with the Red Sox have all the momentum. In Game 6, a rainy night in New York, Curt Schilling took the mound with his tendons stitched to his ankle as blood was visible through his sock. Schilling was masterful, allowing just one run in seven innings as the Sox had a 4-1 lead. I,n the eighth inning with the score 4-2, it seemed that curse struck again as Bronson Arroyo trying to tag Alex Rodriguez dropped the ball, allowing a run to score and A-rod to reach second with the tying run. However, umpires ruled that Rodriguez had deliberately slapped the ball out of Arroyo’s glove, and the rallied was halted. The Sox would hold on to win the game 4-2 becoming the first team to force a 7th game after trailing 3-0. In Game 7, the Red Sox took 86 years of frustration out on the stunned Yankees jumping out to a 6-0 lead on Johnny Damon’s second-inning homer and never looking back, winning 10-3 to advance to the World Series. They said only an idiot would believe the Red Sox could rally back from 3-0, and the Red Sox were the biggest idiots as Johnny Damon, dubbed them at the start of the postseason, with his long hair which had made him a fan favorite. The Red Sox had beaten the Yankees, but they had not yet conquered the curse four times they had been to the World Series before only to lose a heartbreaking seven-game series. Two of those losses came to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Sox opponents in the 2004 World Series. After such a dramatic ALCS, it was almost impossible for the World Series to measure up. Game 1 would come close as the Red Sox won 11-9 in an exciting game that saw the Red Sox jump out to a 7-2 only to see the Cardinals battle back to tie it twice before Mark Bellhorn gave the Sox the lead for good with a two-run home run in the 8th Inning. Game 2 would see Curt Schilling and his blood-soaked sock take the mound, as he pitched in excruciating pain to give the Sox a 2-0 series lead with a 6-2 win. As the series shifted to St. Louis, the Red Sox were in full control. It seemed as if nothing could stop them. In Game 3, it was Pedro Martinez who was dominant, with seven shutout innings as the Sox established a 3-0 series lead with a 4-1 win. On the night of Game 4, on October 27th, there was a lunar eclipse. This time it was Derek Lowe with seven shut out innings as the Red Sox were making the 2004 Fall Classic anti-climatic. In the ninth inning, it would be closer Keith Foulke, who would finish the 3-0 win by fielding a comebacker from Edgar Renteria and throwing on to 1B Doug Mientkiewicz. The Boston Red Sox had ended the curse winning their first World Series since 1918, as Manny Ramirez, who batted .412, was named series MVP. What had ended the curse? The Tessie old song used by the Royal Rooters when the Red Sox won the first World Series in 1903 was revived by a local Boston Irish Punk band known as the “Drop Kick Murphys,” becoming once again an anthem for Red Sox Nation.
2005: After winning their first World Series in 86 years, there was an understandable sense euphoria surround Red Sox Nation all winter. However, several key members of the team that reversed the curse would be gone by the time opening day arrived, including Pedro Martinez, and Derek Lowe, who left for big Free Agency Money. Meanwhile, Postseason hero Curt Schilling had still not quite recovered from pitching with a torn ankle tendon and began the year on the DL and was not healthy all year. To try and fill the void in the rotation, the Sox acquired Matt Clement, who had a solid 13-6 record. The Sox would not get off to a flying start as they only had 28-23 record at the end of May. A solid 17-9 June the Red Sox surged to the top of the AL East, but it was not without its bumps as Derek Lowe their reliable closer from the year before, was struggling and eventually sidelined with a leg injury. As the second half began, it was clear that the Sox would battle the New York Yankees again for the AL East, but this time the Wild Card was not guaranteed as the Sox and Yankees both were not putting up the same win totals. Also highlighting the Yankees-Sox battle for the AL East was the debate for AL MVP between the Yankees Alex Rodriguez and the Sox David Ortiz for MVP, both put up similar numbers with A-Rod leading the AL in homers, while Ortiz led in RBI. Though Ortiz seemed to have bigger hits and was better in the clutch, the ultimate difference came down to A-Rod playing the field while Ortiz was a DH, as big Papi settled for the Hank Aaron Award. The Al East race would come down to the final three games of the season with the Yankees played at Fenway Park. The Sox needed a sweep to win the division outright, and two wins to force a tie, while the Cleveland Indians stood nearby challenging each for the Wild Card. The Sox and Yanks split the first two games while the Chicago White Sox was sweeping the Indians. This would allow both the Yankees and Sox to make the playoffs once again, and since the Sox lost the season series, they would settle for the Wild Card despite winning the final game of the season to finish with an identical 95-67 record. In the playoffs, the Red Sox faced the White Sox matching of a team that had ended a long 86-year drought and one who was hoping to end a more protracted 88-year drought. The series would get off to a bad start as the Red Sox were smashed 14-2 in Game 1. Looking good to tie the series in Game 2, the Sox grabbed an early 4-0 lead. However, a Tony Graffanino error in the fifth inning opened the flood gates as the White Sox rallied to score five runs capped by Tadahito Iguchi three-run homer. Down 2-0, the Red Sox hoped the Green Monster would awake their bats, but it was not be, as fell behind again. With the White Sox leading 4-3, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth inning but were stymied by Orlando Hernandez, who came in for relief and got Jason Varitek and Graffanino to pop up before Johnny Damon struck out. The Red Sox would not threaten again as they lost the game 5-3, and the White Sox completed the three-game sweep on the way to winning their first World Series since 1917.
2006: The core group of idiots that helped the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series continued to go their separate ways as Kevin Millar was not offered arbitration and landed with the Baltimore Orioles, while Bill Mueller left for the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, the most painful loss came when Johnny Damon, did the unthinkable by signing with the hated New York Yankees for four years at $52 Million. The Red Sox would make some effort to improve their pitching staff landing Josh Beckett along with Mike Lowell in a trade with the Florid Marlins for prospects. The new-look Red Sox would get off to a good start as 25-year old Jonathan Papelbon established himself as a dominant closer replacing Keith Foulke. The latter was unable to recover from a series of arm injuries. Papelbon was the story of the first half for the Red Sox as outstanding ERA of 0.92 and 35 saves, had him in the All-Star Game, and at the top of the list of Rookie of the Year candidates. The Red Sox led the American League East most of the first half of the season entering the All-Star Break with a 53-33 record that was highlighted by a 12-game winning streak in June during interleague play as the Sox owned the NL posting a 16-2 interleague record. Also continuing to dominate was David Ortiz, who hit 54 Home Runs and drove in 137 RBI to lead the American League. The second half would be a completely different story for the Red Sox as injuries would take their toll; one of the more devastating injuries came to Jonathan Papelbon, while 22-year old Jon Lester, who posted a solid 7-2 record was diagnosed with lymphoma. Captain Jason Varitek was out much of the second half with a knee injury after struggling all season with a .238 average. In August, the injuries would take their toll as the Red Sox were caught in the standings by the Yankees, who marched into Fenway and swept the Red Sox in five straight games, bringing back bad memories of the 1978 Boston Massacre. When August was over, the Red Sox who posted a 9-21 record were not only out of first place but in danger of missing the playoff altogether. The Red Sox would not do any better in September as they posted a mediocre 13-14 record and ended the season in 3rd place, behind the Toronto Blue Jays with a record of 86-76.
2007: After their disappointing third-place finish, the Red Sox looked to rebound by solidifying their pitching, and the solution came from the Far East, as they won the bid for Japanese star pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. However, when the season began, it was the pitcher they acquired a year earlier that was the difference maker as the Red Sox built a big lead in the American League Eastern Division. That pitcher was Josh Beckett, who won his first nine decisions, while the Sox built a ten-game lead over the second-place Toronto Blue Jays with a 48-26 start, more important was that the New York Yankees were 15 games back. Meanwhile, while Dice-K struggled to adjust to the Major Leagues, with a 15-12 record and an ERA of 4.40, it was countryman Hideki Okajima who excelled in the bullpen posting a 0.88 ERA in the first half to become the perfect set up man for Jonathan Papelbon, who continued to be a dominant closer. Another rookie providing a spark was 2B Dustin Pedroia, who gave the Sox the table-setter they were missing in 2006, as he batted .317 while providing steady defense as he was named Rookie of the Year. In the second half, the Yankees would make their run and would close the gap to within two games. While several Red Sox pitchers, including Okajima, and Beckett seemed to tire down the stretch, as Curt Schilling spent time on the disabled list, it was the presence of rookies who kept the Yankees at bay as they closed the gap to one game. One of the pitchers coming up from Pawtucket was Jon Lester, who returned after battling Lymphoma to go 4-0 down the stretch, while Clay Bucholz pitched a no-hitter in just second career start on September 1st. The Red Sox would go on to win the division title with a record 96-66. In the playoffs, the Red Sox seemed to be armed for another long run, as Josh Beckett who finished with a 20-7 record and a 3.20 ERA started Game 1 of the ALDS and held the Los Angeles Angels to just four hits in a complete-game effort with eight strikeouts as the Red Sox won 4-0. In Game 2, it would be late-inning thunder that would be the difference, as Manny Ramirez hit a walk-off three-run home as the Sox won 6-3. The Sox would go on to complete the sweep with a dominant 9-1 win in Anaheim in Game 3. In the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians, it was Josh Beckett who emerged victorious in a battle of Cy Young candidates against CC Sabathia, as the Sox took Game 1 by a score of 10-3, as Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell drove in three runs each. In Game 2, it would be former Red Sox Trot Nixon who would spark a seven-run 13th inning as the Indians evened the series with a 13-6 win. As the series shifted to Cleveland, the Indians continued to light up Red Sox pitching take a 3-1 series lead, as Beckett battled Sabathia again in Game 5 needing a win to keep the Sox hopes alive and send the series back to Fenway Park. Once again, Beckett stepped up huge, allowing just one run over seven innings as the Sox pounded Sabathia, the eventual Cy Young winner for the second time in the ALCS, winning 7-1. Even though the Sox still trailed the series 3-2, it was all over for the Indians, as the Sox clobbered the Indians in the final two games winning 12-2 in Game 6 and 11-2 in Game 7 to advance to the World Series for the second time in four years.
2007 World Series: Heading into the World Series, the Red Sox were overwhelming favorites as they faced a Colorado Rockies team on a magic carpet ride, 20-1 record down the stretch to make the playoffs while sweeping through the NLDS and NLCS. Unfortunately for the Rockies, it would be Josh Beckett on the mound as the World Series got underway in Fenway Park. From the first hitter, it was all Red Sox, as Dustin Pedroia led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run, as the Red Sox jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Game 1 would never be close, as Beckett dominated again within a 13-1 win. The Rockies would take a 1-0 lead in Game 2, but Curt Schilling was strong the rest of the way as the Sox won 2-1 in Game 2. As the series shifted to Colorado, the Red Sox continued to pound the ball scoring six runs in the third inning as they took a commanding 3-0 lead with a 10-5 win. The would go on to complete the sweep with cancer survivor Jon Lester getting the win in Game 4, as Mime Lowell homered and was named series MVP as the Red Sox completed the sweep with a 4-3 win. The team that could not win a World Series in 86 years now had won two of the last four.
2008: Coming off their second World Championship in four years, the Red Sox entered the season fully expecting to repeat, as they faced the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo in the first two games of the season. With Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound before his home fans, the Red Sox had the Japanese fans behind them. However, after Dice K got roughed up, it was Hideki Okajima who got the win, as the Sox won the game in ten innings 6-5. Coming back to North America, the Sox beat the A’s twice more in Oakland before suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays; the Red Sox returned to Fenway where they raised another championship banner and beat the Detroit Tigers 5-0. The Sox would play well in April as they posted a 15-7 record in their first 22 games. However, they came back to earth with five straight losses, which included a sweep at the hands of the upstart Tampa Bay Rays. A week later, the Sox would hand a sweep of their own to the Rays at Fenway Park, in a series that was capped by an ugly bench-clearing brawl that would demonstrate to the Red Sox that the Rays would be in the fight all season. Over the next two months, the Red Sox and Rays would battle for first place in the American League East. However, as often is the case with teams defending a championship, injuries became a factor for the Red Sox, as David Ortiz, Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew each missed time due to injury. However, the real drama surrounded Manny Ramirez, who hit his 500th career Home Run on May 31st against Chad Bradford of the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Despite being celebrates as one of the Sox best home run hitters, Manny was not happy, as he wanted the team to open his contract and renegotiate a bigger deal. A week after his milestone, Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis had an altercation in the dugout over Youkilis’s reaction after strikeouts. A few weeks later, Manny clashed with team officials, pushing traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground after the two argued over Manny’s request for extra tickets when the Red Sox made a trip to face the Houston Astros. While the Sox remained locked in a battle with the Rays for the AL East after the All-Star Break, things came to a head with Manny Ramirez as he informed manager Terry Francona that he did not want to play in a July 25th game against the New York Yankees. After being informed Mann would be suspended if he missed another game, with what Manny called a sore knee he would be suspended the often enigmatic star drew further ire when he did not run out a ground ball. With the trade deadline approaching and Manny Ramirez sulking the Red Sox became concerned, he could drag the team down as it made a final push for the playoffs. So the Red Sox decided to trade the LF who helped them erase 86 years of frustration, sending Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a three-team deal that saw the Red Sox got Jason Bay from the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his first game with the Red Sox, Bay hit a triple and scored the winning runs in the 12th Inning as the Red Sox ended a three-game losing streak with the 2-1 win over the A’s. In his next game, Bay would homer as the Sox got the distraction of Manny Ramirez behind them and focused on winning the AL East. With the Yankees dealing with several injuries, the Sox battle for the East became anti-climatic as both the stunning Rays and Red Sox had comfortable cushions for the Wild Card. In the end, it would be the Rays getting the crown, as the Red Sox settled for the Wild Card, as Dustin Pedroia, who batted .340 in the second half, was named AL MVP.
2008 Postseason: In the ALDS, the Red Sox were matched up with the Los Angeles Angels for the second year in a row. During the season, the Angels had given the Red Sox fits, winning eight of nine. However, the pitching of Jon Lester and the hitting of Jason Bay got the Sox off to a quick start as they took the opener in Anaheim 4-1. The Sox jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in Game 2 but found themselves in a tight one as the Angels battled back to tie the game 5-5. However, providing postseason heroics once again was J.D. Drew, who hit a two-run home off Angels super closer Francisco Rodriguez. After dropping Game 3 at Fenway Park in 12 innings 5-4, the Sox ripped the hearts out of the Angels for the second year in a row, as Jason Bay scored with a headfirst slide on Jed Lowrie’s two-out single in the ninth inning to give the Red Sox a 3-2 win which eliminated the Angels in four games. Moving on to the ALCS, the Red Sox found themselves staring down the Tampa Bay Rays once again. The Sox once again got off to a strong start as Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed just four hits in seven innings as he struck out four and got the win as the Red Sox took the opener in Tropicana Field 2-0. The Sox got off to a fast start in Game 2 as Jason Bay gave them an early 2-0 lead, with a two-run double in the first inning. However, the Rays would quickly answer back as the game went back and forth all night and was tied 8-8 heading into extra innings. In the end, the Rays would even the series as Pinch-runner Fernando Perez dashed home on B.J. Upton’s sacrifice fly in the 11th inning. During the regular season, the Sox had dominated the Rays at Fenway Park, winning seven the first seven times they played in the 96-year-old stadium. However, the Rays took the last two games in September and came into Fenway Park ready for some fireworks, as the slammed the Red Sox 9-1 in Game 3. The next game was not any better, as the Sox found themselves down 3-1 in the ALCS for the second year in a row after suffering a 13-4 loss in Game 4. Things would get even bleaker as they trailed 7-0 in the seventh inning of Game 5. However, the team that became the first team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit to win it’s first World Series in 86 years, and rallied from 3-1 down to win another three years later, was not dead yet. Not by a long shot, as the Sox, dormant offense came alive with a three-run homer by David Ortiz that drew the Sox to within three runs. The power surge continued in the eighth inning as J.D. Drew made it 7-6 with a two-run home of his own. The Sox would tie the game a few batters later as Coco Crisp singled home Mark Kotsay. J.D. Drew would strike again in the ninth inning as he drove in Kevin Youkilis with the winning run to send the series back to Tampa. In Game 6, it would be 2007 hero Josh Beckett, who was pitching with a tired arm that got the Red Sox to a seventh game with a gutsy five-inning performance as the Sox bullpen shut down the Rays in a 4-2 win that evened the series. However, the comeback would fall one game short this time, as the Rays won 3-1 in the decisive seventh game to advance to the World Series. For the Sox, the end came in the eighth inning, as Rays David Price, the overall number one pick in 2007, who spent most of the season in the low minors struck out J.D. Drew with the bases loaded.
2009: After losing the ALCS in seven games, the Red Sox looked to regain their World Championship by getting off to a quick start as they posted a 14-8 record in April on the strength of an 11-game winning streak. Highlighting this streak was a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees. Early in the season, the Sox dominated the Yankees, winning the first eight games by sweeping three series in the first half of the season. However, the Red Sox strong start was slowed in May, as Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the disabled list with a tired arm after pitching in the World Baseball Classic during Spring Training. The Sox were also concerned about David Ortiz, who struggled through much of the first half, as rumors of Performance Enhancing Drugs swirled. Despite the injuries, the Red Sox still held a three-game lead in the American League East at the All-Star Break with a record of 54-34. However, out of the break, the Sox struggled, losing eight of their first 12 games in the second half as the Yankees grabbed control of the Eastern Division. The Yankees would hold first place as they hosted the Red Sox in a four-game series in August. With John Smoltz getting thumped in the opener, the Yankees came out early and pounded the Red Sox 13-6. The next game would be different as Josh Beckett, and A.J. Burnett locked horns in a great pitcher’s duel. Neither would get the decision as the game remained scoreless until the 15th inning when Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run home run off Junichi Tazawa. The Sox would struggle again the next day as they were shut out 5-0 with CC Sabathia on the mound. The Yankees would sweep the series, and the Sox would leave New York six and a half games out of first place. The Yankees would go on to win the division, but the Red Sox would recover and would go on to post another solid 95-67 to earn the Wild Card. Facing the Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS for the third straight season, the Red Sox had visions of another ALCS showdown with the Yankees. However, the Angels grabbed control of the series with a 5-0 win in Game 1 behind the pitching of John Lackey. The Angels would also win Game 2, as the Sox came home to Fenway needing to win three straight to avoid losing in the Division Series for the first time since 2005. The Sox looked to be on the way to making it a series as they jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in Game 3. The Red Sox would hold a 6-4 lead in the 9th Inning as they handed the ball to closer Jonathan Papelbon. However, Papelbon fizzled, giving up three runs as the Angels rallied to win the game 7-6 to complete the sweep. Following the season, the Red Sox would fail in their efforts to re-sign Jason Bay. However, they made improvements to the pitching staff as the signed John Lackey to a five-year contract worth $82.5 million.
2010: The Red Sox got off to a bit of a slow start, as they posted an 11-12 record in April, as they lost four straight games at home during Patriot Day Weekend to the Tampa Bay Rays. As May and June arrived, the Red Sox got on a roll, posting a 36-20 record as they found themselves in a three-team race in the American League East with the Rays and New York Yankees. Part of the resurgence was due to David Ortiz, who after a slow start and some question about his age, began to look like the Papi of old on the way to a strong season where he led the team with 32 home runs and 102 RBI. Also pacing the Sox in the first half was 3B Adrian Beltre, who signed a one year contract to help fill the void left by Jason Bay, hitting 27 Home Runs, while tying Ortiz with 102 RBI to lead the team. Leading the Red Sox on the mound was Jon Lester, who posted a 19-9 record with a solid ERA of 3.25, while Clay Bucholz was 17-7, with an ERA of 2.33. Injuries would play a role all season, as Leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury was limited to just 18 games after a collision with Beltre led to a hairline fracture of his ribs. In total, 19 players spent 24 stints on the disabled list, as the Red Sox used 53 players during the season. Another critical loss was Josh Beckett, who posted a 6-6 record while suffering through a back injury. The Red Sox would also lose Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis to season-ending injuries in the second half. Despite all the injuries, the Red Sox were in a three-team for two spots race into August, as the top two teams in the East were well on the way to both getting into the playoffs with the Wild Card. However, the Sox could not get enough together to make a final run as the Rays and Yankees pulled away. In the end, the Sox finished in third place with a record of 89-73. Following the season, the Red Sox would pick up Carl Crawford from the Tampa Bay Rays, signing the free agent to a seven-year, $142-million. The Sox also would pick up 1B Adrian Gonzalez in trade with the San Diego Padres for prospects. The Red Sox then signed Gonzalez to a seven-year contract extension worth $154 million.
2011: After missing the playoffs, the Red Sox had a busy off-season, signing OF Carl Crawford, a free agent of the Tampa Bay Rays and trading for 1B Adrian Gonzalez of the San Diego Padres, both of whom were coming off All-Star seasons. However, despite all the optimism, the Sox got off to a slow start, losing their first six games to the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians. Coming home to Fenway Park, the Red Sox finally earned their first win against the New York Yankees in their home opener, and took two of three against their arch-rivals. Despite the victories over the Yankees, the Red Sox struggles continued as they posted a 2-10 record in their first dozen games. On Patriots Day weekend, the Red Sox began to turn things around as they beat the Toronto Blue Jays three of four and swept a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels on the road. However, they would still end April with an 11-15 record, as Carl Crawford was one of several Red Sox to get off to a miserable start. In May, the Red Sox would get back over .500 as they swept a three-game series with the Yankees in the Bronx. This was despite losing starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to an elbow injury that required season-ending Tommy John surgery. In June, the Sox pitching injuries continued as they lost Clay Buchholz to a back injury for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his back. Despite the loss of two starting pitchers, the Sox began to seize control of the American League East in June, with another sweep of the Yankees in the Bronx. Thanks to their power-packed lineup, as Adrian Gonzalez was among the league leaders in average and RBI, while Jacoby Ellsbury was in the midst of a breakout season hitting 32 home runs, with 105 RBI and a .321 average, finishing second in MVP voting. Meanwhile, Dustin Pedroia bounced back from an injury-plagued 2010 to drive in 91 runs, with 21 homers while David Ortiz drove in 96 RBI with 29 homers. The Sox would continue to dominate in July, as they posted a 20-6 record and battled the Yankees for the first place with both teams appearing to be heading for the postseason. The Sox continued to play well against the Yankees, winning two of three in Fenway Park at the start of the month. However, the Yankees would come back at the end of August and take two of three in Fenway Park, to get within a half of a game of the Sox first-place perch. However, with a comfortable nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the Wild Card, the Sox appeared to be cruising into October. Suddenly as September began, the Sox pitching woes would catch up with them, as Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, the two most reliable pitchers all season, struggled down the stretch. Also hurting were injuries as Beckett, Eric Bedard, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and Adrian Gonzalez all spent time on the disabled list in September. The Sox would lose 11 out of 14 games as the Yankees soared past them and went on to win the division. However, what was the more significant concern was the Rays who were quickly gaining ground on the struggling Sox, winning six of seven over two-weekend series. At no point in September, would the Red Sox win back-to-back games. With the team in a free fall, fingers began to point at a clubhouse in disarray as rumors of pitchers playing video games while drinking beer and eating fried chicken on off days painted a picture of a team out of control. Heading into the final series of the year, the Red Sox lead over the Rays had slipped to just one game. The lead would be completely gone following a 6-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on September 26th. After both the Sox and Rays won the following day, the two AL East rivals entered the final day of the season tied for the Wild Card. Things looked bright for the Sox as they held the lead over the Orioles at Camden Yards, while the Yankees led the Rays 7-0 in Tampa. However, Jonathan Papelbon unraveled in the 9th inning as the Orioles won 4-3. Meanwhile, the Rays would rally to beat the Yankees in extra innings 8-7 stunning all of Boston to win the Wild Card, as the Red Sox horrendous 7-20 record in September capped off the biggest collapse in baseball history. Following their season in which the Red Sox posted a 90-72 record, Manager Terry Francona, who won two World Championships, was fired. Also, leaving Boston was General Manager Theo Epstein, who built the team that beat the curse as he decided to go after another curse by taking over the reins of the Chicago Cubs.
2012: After the dust settled from the Red Sox September collapse, the Red Sox had a new General Manager Ben Cherington and a new manager, Bobby Valentine. Where Terry Francona was a player’s manager, Valentine was brought in to bring more discipline to the clubhouse, as the loose atmosphere in the clubhouse was blamed for the Red Sox collapse. Before Spring Training began, Sox Captain Jason Varitek announced his retirement, completing the change of leadership. Right away, Bobby Valentine showed he would keep a tight rein on the club, as he openly criticized the work effort of Kevin Youkilis. This began to alienate the team from the manager before the season even began. The 2012 season was to be one of celebration for the Boston Red Sox as Fenway Park turned 100. Still, when it was over, the Red Sox season resembled the sinking of the Titanic, which was also commemorating its 100th Anniversary. As the season started, injuries began to plague the Red Sox as newly acquired Closer Andrew Bailey missed most of the season after a thumb injury at the end of Spring Training. Carl Crawford also missed the first half of the season after injuring his wrist in the off-season. After losing five of their first six games, the Sox came home to face the Tampa Bay Rays, winning three of four games over Patriot’s Day weekend. When the injury bug bite them as they lost Jacoby Ellsbury in the season opener to a shoulder injury. On April 20th, Sox legends of the past returned to Fenway Park as they and the York Yankees wore the same uniforms they wore 100 years earlier when the old ballyard hosted its first game. Among those receiving a warm reception was Terry Francona. At the same time, current manager Bobby Valentine was already getting booed at Fenway, as fans were angry over him to hold allegiance to New York by appearing weekly on the radio in the big apple. The Yankees would spoil the Fenway Centennial Celebration with a 6-2 win. The following day, things took a turn for the worse, as the Sox jumped out to a 9-0 lead, only to see the Yankees win the game 15-9 with 15 unanswered runs as the final game of the weekend series was mercifully rained out. The loss had dropped the Red Sox to 4-10, but upon hitting the road, it appeared they had emerged from the storm as they won seven of their next eight to finish April with a record of 11-11. Over the next two months, the Red Sox managed to tread water as they posted a 30-26 record, but problems continued around the team as Bobby Valentine continued to alienate players and fans. This would only get worse as Kevin Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Brent Lillibridge and pitcher Zach Stewart on June 24th. In his final at-bat before the trade Youkilis was given a stand ovation, as fans continued to express their scorn to Valentine, whose trade of Youkilis also seemed to anger the team. Another player that was in the manager’s dog house was Josh Beckett, who was struggling from the start of the season. Beckett was not alone, as Jon Lester struggled with a 9-14 record, while Daisuke Matsuzaka was 1-7 with a sky-high ERA of 8.28 after returning from Tommy John surgery. As the All-Star Game approached the Red Sox like the Titanic began taking on water, as they lost three of four to the Yankees in the Bronx and ended the first half with a record of 43-43. The Red Sox looked to get a boost after the break, like Crawford, Ellsbury, and Bailey all returned. However, Ellsbury was not 100% as hit just four home runs, with 26 RBI, while batting .271 in 74 games, as Bailey never found his command, posting an ERA 7.04 in 19 games, while recording just six saves. With Carl Crawford, the situation was even worse as he was playing with a sore elbow, which required Tommy John surgery. However, Bobby Valentine felt he should be playing through it, which only angered Crawford and the team even more. The Sox would end July with a record of 53-51, but the ship was about to go underwater. As they had in previous months, the Red Sox started August in a slump, dropping below .500, by losing six of eight. On August 13th, the Red Sox family had a personal loss as Johnny Pesky, who had been with the club for most of the last 70 years, died at the age of 92. The Red Sox would continue to struggle after the death of Pesky, slipping further and further out of the playoff race. As August came to an end, word of a team meeting hit the papers in which several players went to management, asking that Manager Bobby Valentine be fired. In response, the Sox would decide to blow up their roster and made one of the most stunning waiver deals in baseball history trading sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for James Loney and four prospects Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus, Jr. The Red Sox would post a 9-20 record in August and a 7-22 mark over the final month as they sank into last place with a record of 69-93, their first 90 loss season since 1966. Down the stretch, the Red Sox would lose 12 of their last 13 games, including eight straight to finish the season as nobody was able to look at Manager Bobby Valentine and say that it had been a pleasure to play with him. The Red Sox season would end as the Yankees swept them in New York before the last game Bobby Valentine hit a pedestrian while riding his bicycle in Central Park. He also bashed his coaching staff, stating they were never on his side during the season the day after Bobby Valentine was fired. To replace Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox reached out to the Toronto Blue Jays and hired John Farrell, who had been the Sox pitching coach from 2007-2010.
2013: The Red Sox started the season strong, winning four of six on the road against the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays to start the John Farrell era. The Sox would also win their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles, before playing the Tampa Bay Rays on Patriot’s Day Weekend. Rain would postpone the first game as the Red Sox won the next three games, including a 2-1 walk-off win on Patriot’s Day. About an hour later, two homemade bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring dozens. In the aftermath, the Red Sox won three straight on the road against the Cleveland Indians managed by Terry Francona. When they came home, their first game against the Kansas City Royals was postponed as police sought to bring the bombers to justice, instituting a day-long chase that shut down the city of Boston and its outlying suburbs after killing Tamerlan Tsarnaev a dramatic shootout. The Red Sox took the field the following day after the second bomber Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev was captured hiding in a boat in Watertown. Before the game, they honored the first responders and victims, as David Ortiz gave an emotional speech. Down 3-1 in the eighth inning, Neil Diamond showed up to sing Sweet Caroline live, as Daniel Nava hit a three-run home run to put the Red Sox up 4-3 as they went on to win their seventh straight, competing with a solid 12-4 start. While the Royals would take the next two games, the Red Sox quickly recovered and finished April in first place with a strong record of 18-8. The only negative in April was the Red Sox decade long sellout streak at Fenway Park came to an end in the second home of the season an 8-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on April 10th. The steak, which lasted 820 games, had begun on May 15th, 2013. The Red Sox were unable to keep up their pace in May, starting the month by losing 10 of 14 games to lose their grip on first place in the American League East. However, they quickly recovered winning two of three in Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays as they won 10 of 13 to split 30 games between May evenly at 15-15. The Red Sox would start June a strong note, winning the last two games of a three-game series with the New York Yankees in the Bronx as they won 17 games, highlighted by a thrilling 14 inning 10-8 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field on June 10th. While most expected the Red Sox, being unable to maintain their strong start, they would go into the All-Star Break with the best record in baseball at 58-39. The Sox would not slowdown in the second half, either finishing the season with a 97-65 record as they cruised to their first division championship since 2007, ending a three-year playoff drought. There was not one singular player that carried the Red Sox during the season. Instead, it was a group effort as many players had bounce-back seasons or career years. In contrast, the small additions made in the off-season all had a positive impact, Additions like Mike Napoli, who had 23 homers and 92 RBI to rank behind team leader David Ortiz who had 30 homers with 103 RBI. Shane Victorino became a valuable table-setter, batting .294 with 82 runs scored, while Jacoby Ellsbury stayed healthy, batted .298, led the American League with 52 stolen bases, and scored 92 runs. Dustin Pedroia also stayed healthy and hit .301 with 91 runs and 84 RBI. The Sox also get strong pitching from Jon Lester, who had a bounce-back season, winning 15 games with an ERA of 3.75, while Clay Buccholz was on his way to winning the Cy Young before injuries forced him to miss most of the second half. Buccholz still managed an incredible season, posting a 12-1 record with an ERA of 1.91. The Red Sox had more trouble in trouble in the bullpen as they spent most of the season looking for a reliable closer. Little did they know they had one under their nose the entire time, as Koji Uehara took over in the second half of the season and retired 37 straight batters during a stretch where he pitched 29 scoreless innings. Uehara had a WHIP of 0.57 in 74.1 innings set the record for a pitcher with 50 or more innings pitched, while saving 21 games.
2013 Postseason: The Red Sox expected hairy playoffs as many players following in the tradition of NHL playoff beards did not shave during the second half of the season and entered October with plenty of facial hair. Facing the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, the Red Sox struggled early before igniting with a parade of doubles in the fourth and fifth innings on the way to winning the opener at Fenway Park 12-2. Jon Lester allowed just two runs on three hits in seven and two-thirds innings and earned the win. In Game 2, the Sox got a pair of home runs from David Ortiz to win the game 7-4. Looking for the sweep, Koji Uehara was stunned by a two-out homer from Jose Lobaton in the inning as the Rays won 5-4. In Game 4, the Red Sox would use smart base running to close the series as Jacoby Ellsbury stole his fourth base of the series and came around to score the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on Shane Victorino’s infield hit. Rebounding from his performance in Game 3, Uehara closed out the 3-1 win with a four-out save. In the ALCS, the Red Sox faced the Detroit Tigers and found themselves handcuffed by Anibal Sanchez. He struck out 12 over eight innings as the Sox did not manage to get a hit until Daniel Nava singled in the ninth inning to break up the no-hitter, as the Tigers took the opener 1-0. In Game 2, the Tigers pitching continued to frustrate the Red Sox as Max Scherzer held them hitless through five innings. Down 5-0, the Sox finally scratched the scoreboard on a double by Dustin Pedroia, but down 5-1 in the eighth inning, the Red Sox stared the possibility of leaving Fenway Park down 2-0 in the ALCS. However, the Red Sox were able to load the bases with two outs, setting up David Ortiz for a game-tying home run that revived the Fenway faithful. The Red Sox would win the game 6-5 as Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled home Johnny Gomes. Game 3 would be another pitcher’s duel, with Mike Napoli providing the only offense with a seventh-inning homer as John Lackey picked up the win. The Tigers would strike back with a 7-3 win in Game 4 to set up a rematch of Game 1. This time the Red Sox would solve Sanchez, scoring four runs thanks in part to a 445 solo blast from Mike Napoli in the second inning. Jon Lester meanwhile pitched effectively as the Red Sox won 4-3 to take a 3-2 series lead back to Boston. Down 2-1 in the seventh inning, the Red Sox got more late-inning magic as Shane Victorino hit a two-out Grand Slam of Jose Veras to send the Red Sox to the World Series with a 5-2 win. Koji Uehara was named ALCS MVP, by blanking the Tigers in five appearances while earning a win in Game 2 and three saves.
2013 World Series: In the Fall Classic for the third time in ten years, the Boston Red Sox faced the St. Louis Cardinals in a battle of the two top teams in baseball. In the opener, it was all Red Sox, as Jon Lester pitched a gem, going seven and two-thirds shutout innings as the Red Sox started early with a bases-clearing double by Mike Napoli in the first inning. David Ortiz, who was robbed of a Grand Slam earlier in the game, later hit a two-run homer as the Sox won the opener 8-1. Game 2 was a pitcher’s duel as Michael Wacha tied up the Sox for five innings before David Ortiz delivered a two-run homer to give John Lackey a 2-1 lead. However, it would be short-lived as the Cardinals scored three times in the seventh inning to win the game 4-2. In Game 3, in St. Louis, the Red Sox would show their resiliency as they twice rallied to tie the game after trailing by two runs. However, the Cardinals would win the game 5-4 when Will Middlebrooks was called for interfering with the baserunner as Jarrod Saltalamacchia tried to turn a double play after tagging out Yadier Molina at home. Salty’s throw to third went wild as Allen Craig tripped over Middlebrooks, who attempted to stop the ball from going into Leftfield. However, the ever-resilient Red Sox bounced back with a 4-2 win in Game 4, as Johnny Gomes lifted a three-run home run in the sixth inning. In Game 5, Jon Lester earned his second win of the series as the Sox held off the Cardinals 3-1. David Ortiz continued to dominate at the plate as he set a series record by reaching base in nine consecutive plate appearances. Leading 3-2, the Red Sox had a chance to close out a World Series at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918. In their previous series victories, the Sox had won easily but on the road. This set up the most in-demand ticket with prices of over $2,000 just to get in the building. The 38,447 fans on hand would not be disappointed as the Red Sox closed out their eighth World Championship and third in ten years with a 6-1 win, as they put up a three-spot in the third and fourth innings. David Ortiz was named 2013 World Series MVP with two Home Runs, six RBI, and an incredible .688 batting average with a 1.948 OPS.
2014: Coming off their third World Championship in ten years, the Boston Red Sox were a different team as players like Center Fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Pitcher Ryan Dempster had departed in the off-season. After starting the season by winning two of their first three games on the road, the Red Sox opening weekend at Fenway Park would be spoiled by the Milwaukee Brewers, who won all three games. The Red Sox never quite got on track in April; in May, things would get even worse as they suffered a ten-game losing streak. Whether it was a World Series hangover or playing through injuries, several key Red Sox underperformed all season. Xander Bogaerts, selected to be the starting Shortstop, batting .240 with 12 home runs and 46 RBI, while Clay Buccholz pitched to a 5.34 ERA and had a record of 8-11. David Ortiz was immune to the Red Sox slump leading the team with 35 home runs and 104 RBI. The Red Sox would continue to play disappointing baseball through June and into July, as they went into the All-Star Break with a record 43-52. The Red Sox would win their first four games out of the All-Star Break but quickly went into another funk, losing eight of nine to finish the month of July with a record of 48-60. The Red Sox ended July in a tailspin. A decision was made to begin focusing on retooling for the 2015 season. With several expiring contracts, the Red Sox would be sellers at the trade deadline. The Red Sox would deal RHP Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants for LHP Edwin Escobar and RHP Heath Hembree on July 26th. On the day of the deadline, the Red Sox made four deals; the biggest would see them ship LHP Jon Lester and with Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics for slugger Yoenis Cespedes. They would also deal RHP John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for Outfielder Allen Craig and RHP Joe Kelly. Reliever Andrew Miller was sent to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez. The Red Sox even made a rare trade with the rival Yankees dealing Infielder Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson. The Red Sox would go on to finish in last place for the second time in three years with a record of 71-91.
2015: After a disappointing last-place season, the Boston Red Sox hoped to yo-yo back into World Series contention. Looking to upgrade their lineup the Red Sox had two big signings in the off-season, inking San Francisco Giants World Series hero Pablo Sandoval to a five-year, $90 million contract with a sixth-year club option of $17 million or a $5 million buy-out and Hanley Ramirez who left the Los Angeles Dodgers and returned to Boston with a four-year, $88 million deal with a fifth-year vesting option worth $22 million. Ramirez has been the Red Sox top shortstop prospect in 2005 but was traded in the deal that landed the Red Sox Josh Becket and Mike Lowell, both of who were vital in the 2007 World Series run. Neither deal worked as well as the Red Sox hope as Sandoval affectionately known as Kung Fun Panda in San Francisco was criticized for being out of shape as he batted .247 with just ten home runs and 47 RBI. Hanley Ramirez, an infielder for most of his career, was signed to play leftfield and struggled to adjust, posting a disappointing average of .249 with 19 home runs and 53 RBI. After spending much of April in first place and posting a record of 12-10. However, May would be a disaster for the Red Sox as they suffered a 10-19 record and found themselves in last place again. Pitching was a significant source of the problems in Boston, as Rick Porcello acquired from the Detroit Tigers in the off-season for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and Gabe Speier. Procello was routinely walloped, finishing the season with a record of 9-15 with a career-worst ERA of 4.92. Clay Buchholz also struggled to post a record of 7-7 as injuries limited him to 18 starts. The Red Sox would spend most of the summer in last place as they began August with a record of 47-58. With injuries to starters and the playoffs, a longshot the Red Sox used the previous two months for their young players to audition for the future. At the same time, they suffered another blow when Manager John Farrell was diagnosed with lymphoma on August 11th. Farrell would miss the rest of the season undergoing treatment, while Torey Lovullo ran the club over the last two months. The youngsters impressed given their chance as Mookie Betts had a breakout season batting .291 with 18 home runs with 77 RBI, becoming a double machine with 42. Eduardo Rodriguez meanwhile made his debut and was the Red Sox’s most impressive pitcher, posting a record of 10-6 with an ERA of 3.85 with 120 strikeouts in 21 starts. Meanwhile, it was the old veteran David Ortiz still supplying the power in the middle of the lineup for the Old Towne Team. Ortiz led the Red Sox with 37 home runs and 108 RBI while batting .273. On September 12th, Big Papi joined elite company, becoming the 27th player to join the 500 home run club, with a blast off Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Despite positives in August and September, the Red Sox still finished in last place for the second straight season as they lost their final four games and finished the season with a record of 78-84.
2016: The Boston Red Sox looked to continue the momentum of their strong finish as they added David Price to improve the starting rotation. As the season began, the focus was on David Ortiz, who announced that he would retire following the season, giving fans all over the American League a chance to tank Big Papi. Price was strong early, winning his first four decisions, but he was outdone by Rick Porcello, who won five games in April as the Red Sox got off to a strong start, posting a record of 14-10. The Red Sox were even more potent in May, winning 18 games as they spent most of the month in first place. Leading the way was Jackie Bradley Jr., who was named Player of the Month thanks to his 29-game hitting streak. The Red Sox thought would suffer a June swoon, as they went 10-16 with much of their pitching staff struggling as David Price, who was 7-1 at the end of May, lost four of five decisions. Boston bounced back in July as they posted a record of 15-10, with first-time All-Star Mookie Betts being named player of the Month, posting a 1.068 OPS in 23 games. Throughout August, the Red Sox were in a three-way battle for first place in the American League East with the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles posting a record of 17-13. In September, when it mattered, the Red Sox were at their best as they went into Baltimore and completed a three-game sweep, part on an 11-game winning streak that helped capture another division title for the BoSox. A big part of the Red Sox strong finish was Rick Porcello. After a disappointing first season in Boston, became the ace the Red Sox were looking for, winning Pitcher of the Month in September, more impressively Porcello finished the year with a record of 22-4, with an ERA of 3.15 and 189 strikeouts to win the Cy Young Award. As the Red Sox finished the season with a record of 93-69, fans at Fenway gave a fond farewell to David Ortiz, the man perhaps most responsible on the field for their three World Championships ending the dreaded curse. However, some would look at how Big Papi plays and ask why he was retiring, as he still appeared to be in his prime at the age of 40, having one of the best final seasons of any career in baseball history. David Ortiz, batted .315 with 38 home runs and a league-leading 127 RBI to win the Hank Aaron Award. However, he was not the most impressive hitter in a power-packed lineup as Mookie Betts, was a finalist for MVP with a .318 average, 214 hits, 122 runs scored, 42 doubles, 31 home runs, 113 RBI, and an MLB-leading 359 total bases. Other players who played a significant role in the Red Sox division title were Hanley Ramirez, who bounced back from a rough first season in Boston, by hitting .286 with 30 homers and 111 RBI. While on the mound, David Price finished 17-9, with a 3.99 ERA and 228 strikeouts.
2016 ALDS: In the Division Series, the Boston Red Sox would face the Cleveland Indians. In the opener, Rick Porcello got the start at Progressive Field but got hit hard, allowing five earned runs in four and one-third innings. Trailing 5-4, the Red Sox got the tying run on base in the eighth and ninth innings but did not get the needed key hit as Cody Allen got the save, and the Tribe took Game 1. In Game 2, David Price got lit up, allowing five runs in three and third innings, while the Red Sox bats fell silent against Corey Kluber with the Indians winning game 6-0. The Red Sox hoped returning to Fenway Park could get them back in the series as they have many times before. However, after a one day delay due to rain, the Red Sox season came to an end with a 4-3 loss in Game 3. Like Game 1, the Red Sox had their chances in the last two innings, but Cody Allen slammed the door. A part of closing the door meant facing David Ortiz, which Allen chose not to do, walking the future Hall of Famer in what would be his final at-bat.
2017: After the retirement of David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox looked to again win the Eastern Division by focusing on pitching as they acquired Chris Sale in the off-season from the Chicago White Sox. The deal proves to be essential for Boston as David Price spent most of the season on the disabled list while reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello had a disappointing season, posting a record of 11-17 with an ERA of 4.65. Sale, meanwhile, was one of the most dominant pitchers in the American League, posting a record of 17-8 and an ERA 2.90, while striking out a league-best 308 batters. Chris Sale would finish the season second in Cy Young voting as he faded down the stretch of the season. The Red Sox lineup was a concern most of the season as several players had disappointing seasons, especially early in the season, as they seemed to miss the bat and leadership of Big Papi. Things began to turn in the Red Sox favor in June as they took over first place in the American League East, a position they would remain in for nearly the rest of the season as old rivalries were renewed with the resurgent New York Yankees. Both teams played themselves in a position to make the postseason, taking some pressure of the battle for the division, though the Red Sox were able to hold and win in the East for the second straight season with a record of 93-69. Boston’s top hitter was Mookie Betts, who led the team with 24 home runs and 102 RBI while batting .264. Andrew Benintendi had a strong season, finishing second in Rookie of the Year balloting, batting .271 with 20 homers and 90 RBI. Another rookie playing a pivotal role was Rafael Devers, who took over at third base in the second half of the season, hitting ten home runs with 30 RBI with a .284 average in 58 games. None of Devers’ hits were more significant than the game-tying homer of Yankees Closer Aroldis Chapman on August 13th at Yankee Stadium, as the Red Sox won the game 3-2 in ten innings.
2017 ALDS: The Boston Red Sox had a tough matchup in the Division Series as they faced the Houston Astros. Facing the Astros created a unique situation for the Red Sox as they ended the regular season losing three out of four to Houston at Fenway Park. The Red Sox had Chris Sale on the mound at Minute Maid Park in the opener, but the Boston ace struggled, giving up seven runs in five innings. The Astros would win the game 8-2 as Jose Altuve hit three home runs. In Game 2, the result was the same as Drew Pomeranz struggled in his start, with the Astros recording another 8-2 win with Carlos Correa driving in four runs. Facing the prospects of being swept again, the Red Sox found themselves down 3-0 after the first inning. The Red Sox were able to turn things around as Joe Kelly and David Price shut down Houston out of the bullpen. Meanwhile, the Boston bats came to life thanks to a big home run by Rafael Devers that gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead in the third inning. The Sox would add to their lead with six runs in the seventh, capped by a three-run home run from Jackie Bradley Jr to win the game 10-3. In Game 4, Rick Porcello got the start as the game went back and forth. With Chris Sale pitching out of the bullpen, Boston took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on a home run by Andrew Benintendi. Sale did not allow a hit for his first three innings but began to show signs of fatigue in the sevenths. John Farrell allowed him to start the eighth inning, with Alex Bregman hitting a game-tying home run over the Green Monster. Evan Gattis followed with a single, before Craig Kimbrell, the American League’s top closer, was finally brought in to keep the game tied. However, Kimbrell was not sharp as Josh Reddick drove in the go-ahead run for Houston. The Astros added an insurance run in the ninth, which they needed as Devers led off the bottom of the inning with an inside-the-park home run to deep center. The Red Sox thought would not get any closer, as the Astros won 5-4 to advance to the ALCS on the way to winning the World Series. The Red Sox meanwhile made a significant change firing John Farrell at the end of the season.
2018: The Boston Red Sox went into the season with a new manager in Alex Cora. The Red Sox significant acquisition was J.D. Martinez. With a talented rotation of Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello, the Red Sox got off to one of the best starts in baseball history at 17-2 start, including an eight-game winning streak. Perhaps one of their biggest wins of the season came on July 14th with a walk-off grand slam from Xander Bogarts against the Toronto Blue Jays, as the Red Sox held a 68-30 record at the All-Star Break. Boston had five players go to the All-Star Game in J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Craig Kimbrel, Mitch Moreland, and Chris Sale. The Red Sox would lose Sale for some time in the second half with a shoulder injury. When Sale returned, his velocity was not the same, causing lots of concern amongst Boston fans. With lots of big names on the move at the trade deadline, the Red Sox brought in a couple of minor deals brining in Nathan Eovaldi, and Steve Pearce both would pay big dividends in the playoffs. Immediately after the deadline with a five and a half-game lead over the second-best team in baseball, Boston faced the New York Yankees in another four-game series. After winning the first three games of the series, Andrew Benintendi walked off the Yankees with a base hit in a 5-4 win to improve the Red Sox record to 79-34. Brock Holt, another massive contributor for the Red Sox as the season went on, hit a crucial pinch-hit three-run home run against the Blue Jays on September 11th to clinch a playoff spot. The Red Sox would pick up win number 100 just a day later and went on to win the AL East in the Bronx on September 21st in a wild 11-6 win. The Red Sox would set a franchise record for wins at 108-54. Mookie Betts had the biggest season for Boston as he led the American League with a .348 average and .640 slugging percentage. Betts also led the league with 129 runs as well as hitting 32 home runs and driving in 80 RBI to win the MVP. J.D. Martinez led the team with 43 home runs and drove in 130 RBI. Xander Bogaerts also drove in 103 RBI, as the Red Sox offense was the best in baseball. On the mound, Chris Sale pitched to a 2.11 ERA but did not win a CY Young due to his second-half arm troubles. Sale finished with 12 wins, which were fourth on the team behind Rick Porcello, David Price, and Eduardo Rodriguez. An impending free agent, Craig Kimbrel, saved 42 games.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2018 ALDS: Facing the New York Yankees in the Division Series, the Boston Red Sox started the series off strong, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in Game 1 highlighted by a three-run home run from J.D. Martinez, as J.A. Happ was pulled after two-plus innings. The Yankees would respond to trim the deficit to 5-3, and in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel allowed a solo home run to Aaron Judge but held on for a 5-4. The Yankees would take back the home-field advantage in Game 2, as they returned the favor jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez homered both homered for the Yankees. Xander Bogarts homered to get the Red Sox on the board until Sanchez hit his second homer to give the Yankees a 6-1 lead, as they 6-2 to even the series. In a pivotal Game 3 at the Bronx, the Red Sox bats exploded for 16 runs in a 16-1 win. Brock Holt hit the lone home run of the game, as he had the first postseason cycle in MLB history, with five RBI. Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and J.D. Martinez all drove in at least two runs, and Nathan Eovaldi earned the win on the mound. In Game 4, Boston took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning, before Brett Gardner brought the Yankees back within three. With hopes of ending the series in four, the Red Sox brought Chris Sale into the game in the eighth setting it up for Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel would struggle as the Yankees loaded the bases in the ninth. Neil Walker was hit by a pitch to force in a run as Gary Sanchez just missed a grand slam settling for a sacrifice fly for the second out. After the Red Sox looked to have gotten the final out on a Gleyber Torres ground out to third, the Yankees challenged suspending the celebration for just a few minutes but was called out as Boston moved on to the ALCS.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2018 ALCS: The Boston Red Sox would face the reigning champion Houston Astros with a trip to the World Series on the line. The Astros took Game 1 at Fenway, scoring the final six runs in a 7-2 win, as Chris Sale lasted only four innings. Carlos Correa singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth, and Houston added four more in the ninth on home runs from Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel. In Game 2, Boston raced out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on run-scoring hits by Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers. The Astros would tie the game up on a two-run double from George Springer and take a two-run lead on a blast by Marwin Gonzalez in the third inning. In the bottom of the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. gave the lead back to Boston with a bases-clearing double. The Red Sox would go on to win the game 7-5. Heading to Houston for the next three games, the Red Sox offense would come to life. In Game 3, Steve Pierce and Jackey Bradley Jr. each homered in an 8-2 win with Nathan Eovaldi earning another win. In Game 4, both Rick Porcello and Charlie Morton struggled in their outings as neither pitcher lasted into the fifth inning. The Red Sox scored seven runs in the first seven innings, but the Astros kept responding with runs from the second inning to the fifth inning. George Springer and Tony Kemp hit home runs for the Astros, and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit one for the Red Sox. With Craig Kimbrel coming into the eighth inning, he allowed a run-scoring ground out, but finished the game with two innings to get his fourth save of the postseason, as the Red Sox took a commanding 3-1 series lead with an 8-6 win. In Game 5, David Price silenced the critics pitching six scoreless innings. J.D. Martinez hit an early home run off Justin Verlander to give the Red Sox a lead, while Rafael Devers hit a three-run provided some insurance as the Red Sox won 4-1 to reach the World Series for the 13th time. Jackie Bradley Jr. was named ALCS MVP with nine RBI in the series.
Written by Matthew Rothman
World Series: It would be a matchup of historic franchises, as the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers wet in the 2018 World Series. In Game 1, at Fenway Park, the Red Sox jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on RBI hits from Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez off Clayton Kershaw. That lead would be trimmed in half just an inning later, as Matt Kemp homered against Chris Sale. The teams would trade runs back and forth until Eduardo Nunez hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give Boston an 8-4 win. In Game 2, David Price was on the money. After struggling in the postseason most of his career, Price pitched six innings and allowed two runs. The Red Sox jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a single from Ian Kinsler, but the Dodgers would respond two runs in the fourth. That lead would not last long as World Series MVP, Steve Pearce, walked with the bases loaded as the Red Sox added two more on a two-run single by Martinez. Game 3 in Los Angeles would turn into a marathon for the ages. Each team scored one run on home runs from Joc Pederson and Jackie Bradley Jr. through nine innings. The Red Sox looked to have pulled off a win with Edwardo Nunez plating the go-ahead run in the 13th, but the Dodgers tied the game due to shotty defense by the Red Sox. The game remained tied until the 18th inning when Max Muncy sent the fans home with a walk-off home run to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win in the longest game in World Series history. Game 4 saw the momentum continue to favor the Dodgers as they scored three runs in the second with two coming off the bat of Yasiel Puig, who had one of the most talked-about bat flips of all time. The Red Sox would not go down without a fight as both Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce homered to bring Boston back into the game. With the game tied at four, Pearce drove in three more runs with a double as the Red Sox won 9-6 and were one win away from a ninth World Championship. Game 5 would see Steve Pearce hit another home run to give Boston an early lead, but David Freese tied the game at one with one of his own. In the sixth, the Red Sox regained the lead on a shot by Mookie Betts, while Pearce homered in the seven and J.D. Martinez homered in the eighth to give the Red Sox a 4-1 win, with Chris Sale, coming out of the bullpen to close out the World Series.
Written by Matthew Rothman
2019: After a fourth World Championship since vanquishing the curse, there were feelings of optimism for the Boston Red Sox. These feelings of optimism were then confirmed on Opening Day when J.D. Martinez quickly put the team in front during the first frame with an RBI single off Seattle Mariners starter Marco Gonzales. Surprisingly, things quickly went awry for the Red Sox, as Chris Sale proceeded to surrender seven earned runs on six hits in just three innings in a 12-4 loss that would be a microcosm of the season. It did not get much better for Boston into April and beyond. The team that had trampled over the league just one year before got off to a 2-8 start in its first ten games during an 11-game west-coast road trip. It was a continued trend of poor starting pitching followed up by inconsistent bullpen performances that plagued Boston for most of the season. Sale and David Price, who together made up $60 million of Boston’s league-high payroll, combined for just 13 wins. To make matters worse, Nathan Eovaldi, fresh off a four-year, $67 million contract extension in the offseason, submitted a 5.99 ERA on just 67 innings, bouncing back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen. To bolster the starting rotation, the Red Sox acquired long-time Andrew Cashner from the Baltimore Orioles, who served to chew innings in the heat of summer at best. As to be expected, the Sox bit the bullet after trying their luck at a closer-by-committee system, surrendering a league-high 31 blown saves. Fortunately for Alex Cora’s club, opposing teams still had to manage to get 27 outs on a nightly basis against the Sox. Boston’s bats stayed hot in 2019. The 21-year old, third baseman Rafael Devers had a breakout year, tallying 32 home runs and a .916 OPS while making significant strides at the hot corner. On the same side of the infield, shortstop Xander Bogaerts hit 33 long balls and drove in 117 runs on his way to an All-Star game appearance and a much-deserved contract extension. Though they regressed slightly from their historic 2018 seasons, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez still managed to hit .295 and .304, respectively. Red Sox fans also got to witness the debut of young infield prospect Michael “Ice Horse” Chavis, who provided an instant jolt to the lineup in Dustin Pedroia’s absence. The Red Sox managed to score the fourth-most runs in the MLB, which unfortunately did not equate to a playoff-caliber resume. All in all, it was an up and down season in Boston. Fortunately, this is an organization and a town that prides itself on their performance between the lines; unfortunately, an 83-79 record was viewed as a stunning disappointment as fans were waiting all season long for the team to return to their dominant ways when the season ended.
Written by Jeffrey Mullavey
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Page created on June 4, 2001. Last updated on May 10, 2020, at 11:30 pm ET.