Red Sox Season Review: A Massive Overachievement

Alexander Bingham, Sports Editor

Coming off of one of the worst seasons in franchise history, in which the Boston Red Sox finished dead last in their division, they were a team without an identity and without much hope. Centerpiece of the franchise — Mookie Betts —  was traded away and won a World Series in his first season with the Dodgers. Not only did Betts leave, but fan favorites Dustin Pedroia (retirement), Andrew Bennintendi (trade), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (free agency), also made their way out of Boston. Questions also circulated on the leadership of manager Alex Cora who was returning after a year long suspension for his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal from 2017. 

Yet, the ‘Sox miraculously went on a season opening hot-streak fueled by the bats of Xander Boagaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D Martinez. Boston then acclaimed the reputation of the team to beat in the American League (AL) East after a pair of convincing series sweeps against the New York Yankees — the AL favorite before the season. Along the way, this roster established a collective identity through their winning and traditions such as pushing players through the dugout on laundry carts after a home-run. As the team’s unprecedented success continued, fans began to wonder if this was in fact a team capable of playing late into October. 

Boston seemingly regained their early season magic late in the season.

Following the trade deadline, Boston’s playoff hopes came crashing down as the Yankees and Rays both surged ahead in the standings. Their cold spell raised criticism over general manager, Chaim Bloom’s unwillingness to spend heavily on the team. The slump was only exacerbated when a slew of positive Covid tests further sent Boston into a downward spiral. 

Boston seemingly regained their early season magic late in the season, but after being embarrassingly swept by the Yankees at home and losing a series to the Orioles, their playoff hopes were yet again in jeopardy, especially with the Blue Jays and Mariners looking unstoppable. Nevertheless, the Red Sox earned a key series sweep in the final three games of the season against the Nationals, which aided by losses by the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Mariners, brought the storied Red Sox-Yankees rivalry to a single elimination wild-card game in Fenway Park. 

Boston jumped on New York early, knocking their ace — Gerrit Cole— out of the game after only two innings. They went on to win the game 6-2. Boston’s momentum extended to the ensuing games, overcoming the 100 win Rays in an exhilarating four game series that featured two walk off wins. After Boston smashed three grand slams over two blowout wins over the Astros, establishing a 2-1 series lead, it seemed inevitable that this dominant offense would go on to become World champions in only a couple weeks time. But the roller coaster ride that was Boston’s World Series hopes this season took a final dive, when the offense inexplicably only managed three runs over the final three losses of the season. 

Red Sox fans were left with a bad aftertaste following the six-game loss to the much-hated Houston Astros, but it’s hard for ‘Sox fans to not be proud of this team, as being in contention for the playoffs, much less falling two wins away from the World Series was once considered inconceivable.

This piece also appears in our November 2021 print edition.