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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ten Moments That Won A Division

After a long season the Sox did what they did in 1986 and 2007 and clinched the division on September 28.  158 games is a lot of games but even in those games there are moments that matter. With that in mind, here are ten key moments from the 2016 season;

Opening Day – John Farrell writes Travis Shaw’s name on the lineup card.

So this was not a surprise obviously but it was important.  Farrell had a similar moment in 2013 with Jackie Bradley though this worked a bit better.  The important thing is the Sox were not standing back and letting the numbers on the contract dictate playing time but deciding playing time based on merit.

May 14 – David Ortiz does it again and again.

Down to their final out against the Astros the old man delivered a run scoring triple to tie the game in the ninth, then laced an RBI double in the 11th to win it.  The old man was off to a great start and was adding his patented clutch mastery to the equation.


July 3 – Hanley Ramirez double ignites seven run fifth inning

One day after a humiliating 21-2 battering to the Angels the Sox answered Pedroia’s subdued call to arms “we just need to win tomorrow and win the series.”  Sean O’Sullivan gave the Sox five crucial shutout innings and the Sox erupted in the fifth.  The Angels rallied but the Sox warded them off and did indeed win the series.  July would be different from June.

July 9 – Brad Ziegler acquired from Arizona for Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe

A struggling bullpen in need of help got some when the submariner surfaced in Boston.  Ziegler has been critical in stabilizing that back end with a 1.38 ERA and giving John Farrell a much needed option to help navigate injuries to Kimbrel and Uehara.

July 31 – Dustin Pedroia goes deep.

The Sox were faced with a painful start to a long road trip as they were en route to a third loss in four games to last place Los Angeles.  Instead Dustin Pedroia cracked a two out home run to center to give the Sox the lead (and Xander Bogaerts added insurance a moment later) as the Sox got a split.  Once again the Sox had won a game they probably shouldn’t have.

July 31 – Nothing happens, nothing at all.

With everyone waiting for a big move, maybe with reviled starter turned mop up man Buchholz shipped to Siberia GM In All But Title Dave Dombrowski stood pat.  This turned out to be a big move when Steven Wright was injured a week later.  Buchholz has since turned in a 4-1, 3.43 effort with quality starts in 6 of his 8 outings including a brilliant effort in the clincher on Wednesday night.

August 11 – David Ortiz wakes up and is functional.

The night before the Sox had suffered a 9-4 loss that could be described as painful in many ways.  Mookie Betts left with a minor injury and David Ortiz fouled a ball off his leg in the ninth inning and had to be helped off the field.  It was hard not to think at that moment that we had seen the last of David Ortiz as an active player.  He returned the next night and has an OPS over 1.100 since.

September 7 – Koji Uehara is back.

Late night on the West Coast in a comfortable 6-2 game against a bad hitting team in a pitcher’s park John Farrell turned to the 2013 post-season hero for the first time in over a month.  Koji was sharp hitting his spots and featuring his trademark split.  He quickly returned to being the primary 8th inning guy.

September 11 – 2013 Redux

C’mon, we all saw Joaquin Benoit coming in to protect a lead against David Ortiz and thought “here we go.”  Papi took him deep and the Sox had a lead they would never relinquish as they won the critical series in Toronto.

September 15 – Hanley Ramirez goes deep

After losing two in a row to the Orioles the Sox were clinging to a one game lead in the division and trailed the Yankees 5-1.  An Ortiz dinger passed Mickey Mantle and made it 5-2 in the 8th.  In the 9th the Sox rallied and with two outs Hanley took a Dellin Betances pitch deep into the night.  When it landed the Sox had a 7-5 win and were off and running on a division securing win streak.

Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 28, 2016 at 10:23 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 28, 2016 at 10:59 PM (#5309635)
I really think this might be my favorite team ever. It's just such a fun ####### team to watch.
   2. Phil Coorey. Posted: September 29, 2016 at 05:54 AM (#5309700)
Great list Jose , that Benintendo catch in Tampa was HUGE though .

Can we add that ?!

Really felt good once hanley hit the Yankee walk off , that was just insane

Hope everyone's well , can't wait for what is looking like a Tito match up which will be fun (and tough)
   3. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 29, 2016 at 06:49 AM (#5309704)
Oh man, that catch was something else wasn't it? It has been so much fun to watch the kids on this team come through time and again.
   4. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 29, 2016 at 07:17 AM (#5309705)
Objectively speaking, with the roster they've got now they should win the World Series, but given the way the Cubs are being portrayed as the second coming of the 1998 Yankees, it's the first time since 1986 where losing it wouldn't be seen as a crushing anticlimax. And by winning they'd be portrayed as giant killers. It's kind of a can't lose situation.

Unless, of course, they lose it the way they did in 1986, with a bullpen implosion and Ramirez letting a ball roll under his legs. That might be a bit disturbing.
   5. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 29, 2016 at 08:14 AM (#5309721)
I can't speak for anyone else but personally this season has been so much fun the playoffs are gravy. Obviously I want the Sox to go all the way but I don't think this team is dramatically better (or worse) than any of the other post-season teams.
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 29, 2016 at 09:08 AM (#5309739)
I can't speak for anyone else but personally this season has been so much fun the playoffs are gravy. Obviously I want the Sox to go all the way but I don't think this team is dramatically better (or worse) than any of the other post-season teams.

Just for fun, here are the OPS+ / ERA+ / SRS numbers for this year's Red Sox team, along with their other post-WWII pennant winners:

Year OPS+/ERA+/SRS
2016 110 / 114 / 1.3**
2013 116 / 109 / 1.3
2007 107 / 123 / 1.6
2004 110 / 116 / 1.1***
1986 107 / 107 / 0.6
1975 107 / 104 / 0.5
1967 103 / 105 / 0.6
1946 106 / 108 / 1.1

** 2016 Cubs: 107 / 129 / 1.3

*** 2004 Yankees: 111 / 96 / 0.6
That miracle was no upset.
   7. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: September 29, 2016 at 10:24 AM (#5309788)
That miracle was no upset.


Was still a miracle, though. The 2003-2004 ALCS series as a package deal might be as good as baseball has ever been in terms of storyline.

I'm really happy with this team. I'd like to see them make a deep run in the playoffs for Papi, and I'll cheer for them every step of the way.* But they've been great over the past dozen years or so and I really can't be too hurt if they don't win the World Series when the kids on the team are so promising and the team has been so much fun to watch all year.

* I'm going to be really torn if the Mets somehow make the World Series, because while I want Papi to get a fourth ring, I'd really like to see David Wright get one before he's forced to retire from his back injury and the Mets have a much longer WS drought at this point. Plus, it would probably stick in the Yankees craw even more for lolMets to win a World Series when they can't even make the playoffs.
   8. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 29, 2016 at 10:29 AM (#5309792)
Rooting interest after the Sox;

Cubs
Indians
Tigers
Blue Jays
Dodgers
Nationals
Mets
Cardinals
Giants
Orioles
   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 29, 2016 at 10:36 AM (#5309800)
Rooting interest after the Sox;


Good question:

Indians
Nationals
Cubs
Tigers
Orioles
Mets
Blue Jays
Giants
Cardinals
Dodgers
   10. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 29, 2016 at 01:02 PM (#5309912)
Rooting interest after the Sox:

Nationals*
Orioles*
Cubs
Indians
Tigers
Dodgers
Mets
Cardinals
Blue Jays
Giants

*entirely self-interested, I live in DC so the possibility of local playoff games appeals.
   11. Srul Itza Posted: September 29, 2016 at 01:08 PM (#5309918)
No love at all for Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran and the overachieving Rangers?
   12. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 29, 2016 at 01:09 PM (#5309921)
Wow, brain fart totally didn't include them. Oops. I think I put them between the Dodgers and Nationals.
   13. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 29, 2016 at 01:26 PM (#5309951)
Rooting interest after the Sox;


Indians
Rangers
Tigers
Nationals
Mets
Dodgers
Cardinals
Giants
Cubs
Blue Jays
Orioles
   14. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 29, 2016 at 01:28 PM (#5309954)

No love at all for Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran and the overachieving Rangers?


Hey, I just copied Jose's list and moved them around as necessary. I'd slot them in below the Tigers.

   15. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 29, 2016 at 01:31 PM (#5309957)
Hey, I was just testing SoSH to see if he was reading closely.
   16. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: September 29, 2016 at 02:19 PM (#5309997)
Rooting interests.

Red Sox = Mets
Cubs
Indians
Tigers
Mariners
Blue Jays
Orioles
Dodgers
Nationals
Getting hit by a bullpen car
Giants
Cardinals
   17. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: September 29, 2016 at 02:21 PM (#5309999)
Argh, I copied Jose too.

Rooting interests, corrected.

Red Sox = Mets
Cubs
Indians
Tigers
Mariners
Blue Jays
Orioles
Rangers
Dodgers
Nationals
Getting hit by a bullpen car
Giants
Cardinals
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: September 29, 2016 at 02:30 PM (#5310005)
I don't know how to say this without sounding like a blowhard who takes this stuff too seriously, but when the Sox are in the playoffs (or clinched, like now), I don't consider myself as having any rooting interest for any other AL team at all (with the possible exception of rooting for a team to beat the Yankees). The only interest I have in them is related to the Sox eventually playing or not playing them in an LDS or LCS.

This is not some principled stance that I am trying to take.
   19. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 29, 2016 at 02:47 PM (#5310012)
Given how stressed I've been the last couple of days you don't need to worry that you sound like you are taking it too seriously.

Are you getting to any of the games?
   20. John DiFool2 Posted: September 29, 2016 at 03:09 PM (#5310031)
Cubs for me, then a huge gap to everyone else.

Really hoping it's Sox/Cubs in the Series. That would rock, hard.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: September 29, 2016 at 03:19 PM (#5310039)
Are you getting to any of the games?
At the moment, no, but there's a chance.
   22. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 29, 2016 at 03:26 PM (#5310045)
I don't know how to say this without sounding like a blowhard who takes this stuff too seriously, but when the Sox are in the playoffs (or clinched, like now), I don't consider myself as having any rooting interest for any other AL team at all (with the possible exception of rooting for a team to beat the Yankees). The only interest I have in them is related to the Sox eventually playing or not playing them in an LDS or LCS.


For me, rooting for almost any other team in any way doesn't happen until the Sox are out.

Last game I attended was the Hanley Game against the Yankees. I left after 7. You're all very welcome.
   23. jmurph Posted: September 29, 2016 at 04:04 PM (#5310076)
For me:

Cubs
(big gap)
Nationals
Blue Jays
(big gap)
Rangers
Dodgers
Tigers
Mets
Giants
Orioles
Indians
(giant chasm)
Cardinals
   24. jmurph Posted: September 29, 2016 at 04:05 PM (#5310079)
By the way after seeing only the equivalent of like 7 full Red Sox games all year, I look forward to jumping into the playoffs full steam and immediately expressing only partially formed opinions about everything, but doing so VOCIFEROUSLY.
   25. Textbook Editor Posted: September 29, 2016 at 04:21 PM (#5310093)
The wife of a very good friend of mine is a Cubs fan (as are their kids), and has been her whole life--all while growing up in a Cardinals fan household. If the Red Sox can't win it, I'd sure as heck want the Cubs to win it. And if it's a Cubs-Red Sox World Series, I'll just enjoy what will no doubt be hyped as the biggest WS of all time, regardless of the outcome.

I suppose Cleveland is a distant 3rd, mainly because 1997 was a painful thing to watch... Although now that the Cavs won it's not like they're championship-starved there in Cleveland...

Agree that this has been a fun year, especially to see so many of the kids contribute in big ways.
   26. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: September 29, 2016 at 04:27 PM (#5310096)
One of the benefits of Cleveland winning it would be an almost certain plaque for Terry Francona down the road.
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 29, 2016 at 04:36 PM (#5310101)
I don't know how to say this without sounding like a blowhard who takes this stuff too seriously, but when the Sox are in the playoffs (or clinched, like now), I don't consider myself as having any rooting interest for any other AL team at all (with the possible exception of rooting for a team to beat the Yankees). The only interest I have in them is related to the Sox eventually playing or not playing them in an LDS or LCS.

This is not some principled stance that I am trying to take.


That's funny, because that's exactly how I used to feel in elementary school and high school. If the Yankees weren't in the World Series, which was almost never back then, I rooted for the NL team to crush the AL pretender (the Indians and the White Sox). But ever since then I just automatically root for the AL team, although that's no more of a principled stance than yours. I just hate the National League for the way it tried to ruin my childhood every July and October, and way too often succeeded.
   28. Mark Armour Posted: September 29, 2016 at 04:39 PM (#5310104)
No story would be as big as the Cubs winning the World Series -- it would be comparable to the Red Sox in 2004, putting them on the cover of non-sports magazines and getting dozens of books written within months. I tend to root for the long-suffering fan bases, and will root for them vigorously unless they face the Red Sox, when I would have to sheepishly root for a city which has been overserved of late. Sports is strange.

Cleveland is a close second. My wife is from Cleveland, and my in-laws are loyal diehards of all of their teams. That 2007 Indians team was a great one, and it took a fair bit of fortune for the Red Sox to pull that series off.

The Nationals would also be a great story. I should feel the same way about Texas, except ... Texas.

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