Rise of the Boston Red Sox



Probability of the Red Sox’s chance to appear in the postseason

The 2020 Red Sox season was similar to that of 2020 itself: depressing. Their fanless season was shortened to less than half of their regular season, and the Red Sox only managed 24 wins out of their 60 games. Consequently, the world of Major League Baseball assumed the 2021 Red Sox season would be equally disappointing; however, the Red Sox roster pulled out all the stops to achieve a 90-72 record this season. Despite their successful regular season, they approached the postseason as the underdogs. Yet this fall, the Red Sox created an unforgettable story that is the quintessence of American baseball. 

Concluding their regular season with a three-game sweep against the Washington Nationals was an unexpected success for the Red Sox as it pushed them into a Wild Card game, a one-game series that would determine the team that would move forward in the playoff season, the following week against their greatest rivals: the New York Yankees. Despite their 9-10 record against the Red Sox, the majority of sporting networks predicted that the Yankees would be the victorious team in this game. Aggressive right fielder Aaron Judge’s killer-mentality in the outfield as well as powerhouse offender Giancarlo Stanton and clutch-hitter Brett Gardner appeared unbeatable, but like any good underdog story, this was not the case. Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts started the rally with his two-run homer in the first inning combined with Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi’s eight strikeout performance were a recipe for success as the Red Sox defeated the Yankees with a score of 6-2. The next stop was a best of seven series against another talented team: the Tampa Bay Rays.

In a poll taken by 36 ESPN staff members, only one expected the Red Sox to beat the Rays as the Rays were ranked first in the American League East. After a tough 5-0 loss at Tropicana Field, it appeared that the Red Sox were setting the tone for a very disappointing series. However, game two exemplified the resilience the Boston Red Sox have as a baseball team as they made this a historic game. Since 1998, the Atlanta Braves were the only team in MLB history to hit three grand slams in a postseason series. In this Saturday night game, however, J.D. Martinez, Raphael Devers, and Kyle Schwarber each hit a grand slam to contribute to the 14-6 final score. Not only did they match up with the Braves record, but the Red Sox made even more history as they were the first team in MLB history to hit three grand slams in a single postseason game. 

After a successful game, the Red Sox gained the momentum to win the entire series. In the next series against the Houston Astros, however, the Red Sox did a nose dive. A tough 5-4 loss set the tone for the series as the Red Sox were stuck in a monotonous cycle of winning one game against the Astros, but losing the next. A tremendous 12-3 win for the Sox gave them hope going into game four, but pitching by Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta fell short and gave the Astros the lead. The Red Sox downfall happened in game 5 when they suffered a 5-0 loss and were eliminated from the postseason. 

Both on the regular season and postseason roster, Red Sox center fielder Kiké Hernandez was easily considered one of the best players in baseball. His hot bat drove in 25 home runs for their 2021 season, 5 of which happened in the postseason. Additionally, Hernandez’s athleticism in the outfield is highlighted by his aggressive dives that have stolen countless hits from opposing teams. Nonetheless, Hernandez’s efforts were complemented by the Red Sox pitching star, Garrett Whitlock. Following Nathan Eovaldi’s eight strikeouts in the Wild Card game, Whitlock later stepped in to close the game with a huge win for the Red Sox. Collectively, the Red Sox season was nothing short of a breakthrough and are predicted to be one of the hottest teams in baseball this coming spring.