From worst to first; from a team of underperforming, overpaid players, to a group that exemplifies team unity.
It seems like a plot line for a movie, but for the 2013 Boston Red Sox, it is a reality. The 2012 version of Red Sox boasted high-profile manager Bobby Valentine, and high-priced stars like Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford.
By the July 31st trading deadline, all three of those stars, along with their near-quarter million dollars in salaries, was off the books. The team sunk to last place, losing the division by a whopping 26 games.
Fast forward to 2013, Valentine was fired, and former bench coach John Farrell was installed as manager, and gritty, low-profile players like Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp, and Mike Napoli were brought in to bring balance to a floundering team.
Expectations for this year’s club were at an all-time low- even the club’s storied sell out record, which had been alive since 2003, ended at 820 consecutive games.
However, something strange happened with this year’s team; they took to winning, and winning a lot. Through 151 games, the club has its best record since 150. The offense, which was predicted to be average at best, has been one of the best in baseball all season, and have scored 24 more runs than the next closest team.
The club’s pitching, which was abysmal last season, has been good enough to keep the club in close games, and third-string closer Koji Uehara has been virtually unhitable.
Last Friday the club wrapped up its first division title since 2007 and currently holds the best record in baseball. If this trend continues, the American League path to the World Series will go through Boston- where the team is 25 games over .500 thus far; meaning any opposition faces a daunting task.
While the club would love to win its third World Series title in nine years, just the fact they have been able to overturn a dismal 2012, and perform at such a high level is certainly something to be proud of.
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