Boston Red Sox: World Series Champions

Sam Linnerooth

A year ago at this time, the Boston Red Sox were recovering from a disastrous season in which they failed to meet lofty expectations and finished with the organization’s worst regular season winning percentage in nearly fifty years. The team’s collapse prompted the front office to fire the manager and trade away the expensive salaries of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford in an effort to free up cap room for the following season. The Red Sox looked to be in full rebuilding mode.

However, baseball is an unpredictable game. The Red Sox spent the offseason retooling through free agency and rebounded with the best regular season record in the American League and an eventual World Series championship. The Red Sox entered the postseason as favorites and were able to make it through the playoffs without facing a single elimination game; however, it would be presumptuous to think that they had an easy road to the championship. In reality, the Red Sox struggled mightily on offense at times and almost faced

elimination as a result.

The Red Sox lost Game One of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers after being no-hit until the bottom of the ninth. This trend continued well into Game Two as Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer was able to no-hit Boston through the first five innings. The Red Sox faced a four-run deficit going into the bottom of the eighth inning and looked to be in danger of falling behind two games to start the series. However, with two outs and the bases loaded, David Ortiz stepped up to the plate and proceeded to launch the first pitch he saw into the right field bullpen for a game-tying grand slam. The Red Sox would go on to win the game and tie the series with the Tigers.

While the Red Sox offense might not have ever completely gotten going, it was able to make it through the rest of the playoffs with a combination of timely hits and David Ortiz’s unparalleled dominance. After closing out the series with the Tigers, David Ortiz earned World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors by taking control of the series against the Cardinals with two home runs and an unbelievable .688 batting average.

The Red Sox also benefitted immensely from a brilliant postseason from their veteran closer, Koji Uehara. Uehara recorded seven saves and allowed only one run over 13 2/3 innings of postseason baseball.

After such an emotional and unpredictable season, it will be interesting to see how the Red Sox will return next year. While the majority of the team will stay intact, Boston will most likely lose star outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to free-agency this offseason. This will certainly be a significant loss of talent in the short term, but losing veterans like Ellsbury will allow the Red Sox to develop some of their more talented prospects such as Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts.

Overall, the Red Sox might take a small step back next season, but they should still be expected to finish as one of the best teams in the league.

Contact Sam Linnerooth at [email protected]