Red Sox Enter Postseason
Sox Will Face Tampa Bay Rays at Home on Friday Night
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 00:10
The Red Sox start was incredible: 18 wins in April, including two out of three against the Yankees to kick off the season. There were blips, such as a 13-0 loss to Oakland and John Lackey’s unsuccessful opener to what would be an up and down season for him, but overall, the Red Sox were back.
The previous season had been a struggle. The Red Sox finished with a record of 69-93—their worst in 47 years. Bobby Valentine, the manager who had taken the reins during the previous offseason, was fired only one day after the regular season ended.
All of a sudden, the Red Sox faithful had their team back, and for the month of April optimism reigned. Then came May, when the Sox went 15-15. A little less optimism, a little more reality, but that didn’t signify the end of a season. At the end of the regular season, the Red Sox were 97-65. It may not be the 69 percent winning percentage that the Sox had in May, but it was enough for Boston to finish the regular season at the top of the AL East, the nearest team more than five games back.
Over the course of the season, pitching came into the forefront as one of the Red Sox’ biggest strength. Clay Bucholz posted the final win for Boston on Sunday, bringing his record to 12-1 on the season. His win total was surpassed only by John Lester, wwhose 15 tallies in the win column were enough for a tie for 11th place in all of Major League Baseball and sixth in the American League. Lackey was not as successful in terms of wins and losses, as he went 10-13 in his starts, but he finished the season with an ERA of 3.52, lower than that of Lester.
As for closers, Koji Uehara led the team in saves, earning 21 in his 24 opportunities. He finished the season with a miniscule ERA of 1.09.On offense, fan favorite David Ortiz leads the team in batting average (.309), home-runs (30), RBIs (103), and on-base percentage (.395).
The only major measured statistic that one of his teammates surpasses him in is hits, where another favorite, Dustin Pedroia, comes out on top with 193. As a team, the Red Sox finished the season with the most runs, the highest on base percentage, the highest slugging percentage, and the second highest batting average in all of MLB.
The Red Sox clinched their postseason berth and the best record in the AL East by topping the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 22. Finishing the season with the AL’s best record, despite losing their final two games of the season, they will enjoy home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“It’s a tribute to the guys in uniform, the way they’ve come in and competed every day to put ourselves in position to secure home-field advantage,” Farrell said. “We’d have liked this game to finish up differently, but to know going into the postseason that every series we go into we’ll have home-field advantage and playing in front of Fenway fans and how comfortable and successful we’ve been at home, this is a good thing.”
On Friday, the Red Sox will face the Tampa Bay Rays who topped the Cleveland Indians in last night’s American League wild-card game. Farrell held off announcing the pitching rotation until midway through the week, and the suspense caused quite the buzz as Farrell plays his cards close to his chest, letting on only that he will keep 11 pitchers in the American Leagues Division Series. On Wednesday night, however, he announced the Lester would be starting game one of the ALDS on Friday night, as the Sox will be putting their trust in their winningest pitcher.