When the season began back in April, there were a lot of questions about the 2013 Boston Red Sox.
Can they bounce back from a last-place finish? Is new manager John Farrell the answer? Do they have enough pitching? Will the new signings work out?
Fast forward a couple months and the resounding answer to every question is, yes.
The Red Sox clinched their 7th American League East title last night with a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, and how fitting it was that they were able to do it in front of the Fenway faithful, on a night when Jon Lester recorded his 100th career victory.
The joy every Sox fan is feeling right now is 4 years in the making (even though it feels like a decade). They haven’t been to the postseason since 2008, and if you throw in a colossal collapse and a guy named Bobby Valentine into the mix, it’s safe to say the Red Sox are ready for October baseball.
From worst to first, everybody knows the story by now. It reads more like a fairy tale than a baseball season. After a 69-93 season with a roster full of players that fans basically despised, not for their talent, but for their character on the field, a turnaround of this proportion was out of the question. Yet, slowly, but surely, Ben Cherington and the rest of the front office made all the right moves and transformed the Red Sox into a lovable bunch of hard nosed baseball junkies. They gave fans a team to fall in love with again.
With a potent offense, deep starting pitching, and a perfect juggling act of the bullpen, the Red Sox found the right formula to grind this season out and return to their seat on the throne in the east. Apparently that formula was based around hitting the cover off the ball. It took 805 runs, 167 home runs, 351 doubles, 1489 hits, 120 stolen bases, a couple dents in the Green Monster, and a whole lot of beard to get the job done before the Sox could call themselves division champs, but the journey is half the fun right?
If I was a betting man, I would have put my life savings on the Blue Jays tonight, because the only thing that can beat the Red Sox is a champagne hangover. But by no means is business done.
The Red Sox will still need to play their best baseball if they want to fend off the Athletics and Tigers to secure the best record in the American League, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. There’s nothing like playoff baseball in Boston, and with the Sox toting a 52-27 record at Fenway Park this year, locking up the best record is an important step to paving the way to a World Series.