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2006 Red Sox Review
by Tony Aubry, BaseballEvolution.com
September 27, 2006

Tony Aubry

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Looking Back

 

 

Before the season started, it looked like the Red Sox were going to have two awesome 1-2 punches, one in Schilling and Beckett and the other in Papi in Man-Ram. They also had a new young closer in Jonathon Papelbon who looked very good in his limited work a year ago.

 

Keith picked them to go all the way while Richard and Eric each picked them to win their division. For the first few months of the season, the Bosox made these guys look like geniuses. Schilling and Beckett combined to go 15-4 with a 4.20 ERA, Papi and Manny combined to go .284/.480/.565, and Papelbon had saved 20 in a row with an ERA below 1.

 

This team was rolling, while the Yankees were nursing their ailing injuries, the Red Sox were in the midst of 12 game winning streak. As of June 29th, Boston was the hottest team in all of baseball, standing 20 games above .500 with a 4 game lead over the Yankees. For the first time in a decade, it looked like A) the Red Sox would win the division and B) the Yankees wouldnít make it to the playoffs.

 

However, as you all know, the season ends in September, not in July. Heading into the All Star game, the Sox were slipping. They saw their lead drop in the AL to only a half game and lost 8 out of 12. This was only the appetizer of the upcoming full course meal. On July 30th and 31st, like the Yankees, they lost two key players which caused, their season hit rock bottom. They lost Tek, whom was the glue that kept that team together and Nixon, who was having a nice comeback season. These two, along with a plethora of others, were forced to go on the shelf.

 

From July 31st to August 16th, the day before Massacre II, Boston lost their hold of first place in the division, two key players, and Papelbon proved that he was indeed human, as he blew back to back saves to two cellar dwelling teams. That second weekend of August was when Bostonís seasons truly ended. The Yankees demolished Bostonís rotation (or lack there of) and ate their bullpen for lunch. The Yankees smacked around Boston for five games in four days and put up some ridiculous numbers.

 

 

Just a few days ago, Bostonís hopes of making the playoffs were officially over when the Twins clinched the only spot that Boston could have possibly taken. Itís going to be the first time since 2002 that Boston wonít make the playoffs, and it certainly doesnít bother me one bit.

 

 

Looking Ahead



To be honest, I really donít know what to look for next year. No one knows whether Beckettís season was just an abberation or whether thatís the way heís going to pitch for the rest of his career. Schilling will be yet another year older and Papelbon will have to prove he can be a successful starter in this league.

 

Also, if Papelbon does indeed start, and does it well, theyíre not going to have a closer. This could be a huge problem. The only closer that is going to be on the market next year that I can think of is Francisco Cordero. Francisco has pitched well since getting traded to Milwaukee, but they might want to bring him back. If Cordero wonít be available, Hansen or Delcaremen might have to become their closer, and quite frankly, they have flat out sucked this year.

 

Offensively, barring injury, theyíll still have the best 1-2 punch in Ortiz and Manny, Varitek will look to have a bounce back year, and guys like Lowell, Loretta, and Youkilis should have a season on par with what they did this past season. Coco Crisp has obviously been a huge disappointment with Boston. Everyone thought Crisp was a younger version of Damon. Either he just isnít what people thought he would turn out to be, or he canít handle playing in a big city like Boston. I wouldnít be surprised if Boston tried to shop him around.




Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Tony Aubry lives in Queens, New York, and can be reached at tony@baseballevolution.com.


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