The 2013 Red Sox Season: A Fan’s Perspective
It’s been over a day since Koji struck out Matt Carpenter to put the Red Sox on top of the baseball world, but I don’t think it’s completely sunk in yet. All season long I was waiting for the Red Sox to crash down to earth and start playing like the way the “experts” said they would, but it never came. Sure it’s the not the first World Series I’ve been around for, but still it feels weird.
The Red Sox finished with 69 wins last year in a season that couldn’t end quickly enough. In April when the Red Sox started the season in New York, nobody expected them to be a contender, yet as there is every year, there was hope and belief from fans that this team could be a good and entertaining team. They took 2 of 3 from the Yankees, and ended an emotional month in Boston with a record of 19-8, the best in all of baseball. Fans before the 2004 season had seen this kind of thing happen before, a great start but then .500 or below baseball the rest of the way.
They used the money they dumped on the Dodgers to acquire Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, Joel Hanrahan, Stephen Drew, and Mike Napoli, none which were high profile players. As the season progressed the Red Sox found themselves in a tight AL East Pennant race with the Tampa Bay Rays, and at the trade deadline they weren’t sellers like people predicted they would be before the season started. Everyone though Jacoby Ellsbury would be on the market because they knew they weren’t going to be able to keep him past the 2013 season.
But with a team in first place, they traded a good young player in Jose Iglesias, for veteran pitcher Jake Peavy, who helped bolster the rotation. When they were at the top of the standings in July, they were in it to win it, with a group of hard playing guys. Guys like Mike Carp, who was a late spring training signing played a major role off the bench to help the team win every night.
When they won the AL East, the question was; how far can this team really go? They were matched up against a Tampa Bay team that was led by lefty David Price, who was supposed to dominate Boston hitters. He wasn’t able to, and the Red Sox beat the Rays in 4 games.
Next were the Detroit Tigers. Sure they were able to beat Price, but there was no way they would be able to beat a team with 2 aces in the rotation in Justin Veralnder and Max Scherzer. But they proved everyone wrong, and the Tigers didn’t win a game when Scherzer or Verlander were pitching. They were about to go down 0-2 in the series heading to Detroit, but Big Papi put the team on his back and tied game 2 on a grand slam, after the team was trailing by 5 runs. After game 2 it was a cake walk. The new guys, Victorino and Napoli, helped power them past a great Detroit team.
Then there were the Cardinals. They had the same record as the Red Sox in the regular season, and had something the Rays and Tigers didn’t have. A reliable bullpen. The Sox made the bullpen a non factor in game 1, winning 8-1, and then stumbled in games 2 and 3. Game 3 was lost on a technicality after a nice comeback, but one obstruction call couldn’t prevent the Red Sox from coming back out and taking care of business.
It was as if the obstruction call lit a fire underneath Boston. They won game 4 by 2 runs, and it ended when Koji picked off a base runner in the 9th. Koji who was surprisingly dominant since becoming the closer early on in the season, beat the Cardinals. Then in game 5 Gomes was the hero with a 3 run shot that gave the Red Sox all they needed.
The final game of the season was another scrappy win with everybody contributing. Victorino had 3 RBI’s, and Stephen Drew who had been struggling had 2 hits including a homerun. To end things Koji Uehara, who started the season as a middle reliever struck out the guy with the most hits in the National League.
The team of misfits came together, and never stopped fighting. They didn’t care what anybody thought about them. That included John Lackey who was hated in Boston over the last 2 seasons for his terrible pitching in 2010 and 2011. Lackey was dominant in his game 6 win. 2013 was the total opposite of 2012, and everything went right, when in 2012, nothing went right.
After last year, I thought it would be at least 5 years for the franchise to get back to where it was from 2004-2008, but now I truly believe this team could beat the reaming 26 teams in 7 game series if they needed to. Just a day from now the Duck Boats will be driving around Boston with the Red Sox onboard to celebrate its 3rd World Series title in a decade.
Although it was just 6 years in between championships for the Red Sox, enjoy this one, because you never know when they next one may be. And if there’s ever another disaster of a season like 2012 was, you can remember this amazing season, and remember why you love the team.
Red Sox 2013: The Improbable Dream is complete!