The 2006 Red Sox finished in third place, 86-76. The team was doing well until a complete and utter collapse in August and September brought about partially due to a number of players hitting the D.L. and some bad pitching. The highlight of the season was the terrific infield defense from Kevin Youkilis (1B), Mark Loretta (2B), Alex Gonzalez (SS), and Mike Lowell (3B). It was one of the best infield defenses Boston has ever had and it is a shame that no one won a Gold Glove.
Ortiz had a monster season in 2006 and could have been in the running for AL MVP if the team had done better. As it was, he finished third after leading the league in home runs (54), RBIs (137), walks (119), and total bases (355). He set a new team record for home runs, breaking Jimmie Foxx's old mark. Just a huge season.
Varitek was very disappointing in 2006, spending a lot of time on the D.L. and being a poor hitter when healthy. Varitek hit just .238/.325/.400 with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs, numbers that were down significantly from his great 2005 season. His injury left the team scrambling for a catcher and lead to the acquisition of Javy Lopez, who also disappointed.
Manny also had a good season, despite missing some considerable time with injuries. He still managed to hit .321/.439/.619 with 35 home runs and 102 RBIs. He also walked 100 times. Ramirez was still a very dangerous hitter.
Schilling came back from an injury-riddled 2005 season to have a successful year. He lead the team in ERA (3.97) and went 15-7 at the age of 39. Schilling also struck out 183 in 204 innings while walking just 28. It was a pretty good year for the old pitcher.
In his first full season as a regular, Kevin Youkilis made an impact, batting out of the leadoff spot a lot and playing terrific defense at a new position, first base. Youkilis had a successful season with the bat too, hitting .279/.381/.429 with 13 home runs, 72 RBIs, and 100 runs. He displayed some hopeful signs of increased power too, hitting 42 doubles.
It was yet another injury-plagued season for Nixon in 2006. He played in just 114 games, hitting .268/.373/.394 with eight home runs and 52 RBIs. His injuries meant increased playing time to Willie Harris, Dustan Mohr, and Wily Mo Pena, among others.
Wakefield was another injured star for Boston. He pitched in just 23 games, starting all of them. He managed just a 7-11 record with a 4.63 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 140 innings.
Foulke came back from a bad year in 2005 to do a decent job as a setup and mop-up man. He pitched in 44 games, finishing 16 but did not record a save. His record was 3-1 and he had a 4.35 ERA while striking out 36 and walking just seven in 49.2 innings.
Acquired in a massive trade with the Marlins before the season, Lowell did what he does best, hit consistently and play terrific defense. Lowell had been on the decline in Florida, but found Fenway to his liking by hitting .284/.339/.475 with 20 home runs and 80 RBIs. He lead the team with 47 doubles.
Pena was acquired in a trade with the Reds and was expected to be a bench player for the season but found his way into the lineup due to injuries. His power was impressive and he was a better hitter than expected but did not walk much and played badly in the field. He hit .301/.349/.489 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs.
Another player acquired in a trade, Loretta came over from the Padres and played so well to start the season that he was voted the starting second-baseman in the All Star game, beating out Robinson Cano of the Yankees. Loretta hit .285/.345/.361 and lead the team with 181 hits. Loretta also played great defense.
FAVORITE MIDSEASON ACQUISITION
What a terrific season. Papelbon finished second in the Rookie of the Year vote and could have won it had he not gone down with an injury over the final month. He made the All Star team though and had one of the greatest seasons as a closer in Red Sox history. Papelbon saved 35 games and had an outstanding ERA of 0.92 while striking out 75 in 68.1 innings.
Crisp was another big trade acquisition and looked ready to have a huge season in Spring Training. Unfortunately, an injury derailed his season. When he came back, he was not the player he was expected to be, hitting just .264/.317/.385 with eight home runs, 36 RBIs. He did steal 22 bases though and was outstanding in the field.
Beckett was picked up in the same trade as Mike Lowell and was expected to become the ace of the staff. He did lead the team with 16 wins, but he lost 11 and had an ERA of 5.01. Not the numbers that were expected.