Getting back into some of my old series here.
In 2009, Boston once again won the Wild Card with a record of 95-67. They were swept out of the first round of the postseason by the Angels.
FIVE FAVORITE PLAYERS
Bay proved to be a very good replacement for Manny Ramirez. He was incredibly productive as a hitter and was voted to the All Star game. For the year, Bay hit .267/.384/.537 with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs. He was a little bit of a liability in the field though and was allowed to leave as a free agent after the season. He finished seventh in the MVP race and won the Silver Slugger.
Youkilis had his second consecutive outstanding season at the plate in 2009. He hit .305/.413/.548 with 27 home runs and 94 RBIs. He was an All Star and finished sixth in the AL MVP race.
Pedroia followed up his MVP season with another great year. He was an All Star for the second time and ended up leading the league in runs with 115. He also hit .296/.371/.447 with 15 home runs and 72 RBIs, while stealing 20 bases. He walked 74 times versus just 45 strikeouts.
Lester emerged as the ace of the rotation in 2009, going 15-8 with a 3.41 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 203.1 innings. He was just 25 years old at the time and it appeared that the sky was the limit for Lester.
Ellsbury put his speed to great use in 2009. He lead the American League in stolen bases with 70 and triples with 10. His stolen base mark shattered the Red Sox previous record of 54 set by Tommy Harper in 1973. Ellsbury could also hit, putting up a line of .301/.355/.415.
Beckett had another excellent season in 2009. He lead the team in wins, going 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA and 199 strikeouts. He was an All Star for the second time in his term with the Red Sox.
Papelbon continued his terrific work out of the bullpen, making it to the All Star team for the fourth time in a row. He saved 38 games with a miniscule 1.85 ERA and racked up 76 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched.
As a 42-year-old, the knuckleballer was named to his first All Star team. Unfortunately he never made it into the game. Wakefield went 11-5 with a 4.58 ERA. His numbers were a little better at the break.
Saito was signed as a low-cost option for the bullpen and was very effective. He was 3-3 with a 2.43 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 55.1 innings, saving two games. Saito parlayed this season into a multi-year deal with the Braves.
The long-time Rays outfielder attempted to come back from his mitochondrial issue with Boston as a fourth outfielder. Baldelli was effective in limited work, but was not ready to return full-time. He hit .253/.311/.433 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs.
FAVORITE MIDSEASON ACQUISITION
The Red Sox acquired the Indians catcher for a package headed by Justin Masterson at the trading deadline after Jason Varitek continued to decline. Martinez was terrific down the stretch for his new team and hit .336/.405/.507 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs in just 56 games.
It is hard to remember now, but Bard was terrific early in his career. The rookie right-hander was a big boost for the bullpen, saving one game and going 2-2 with a 3.65 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 49.1 innings pitched.
Boston took a chance on the former 20 game winner, hoping to fill out their rotation. Despite the occasional decent start, Penny ultimately ended up with a 7-8 record and a 5.61 ERA. He was cut loose and caught on with the Giants and turned his season around.
The future Hall of Famer was entering his last season. He failed to impress in 8 games, going 2-5 with an ERA of 8.33. Convinced he was finished, Boston released him as well. He finished his final season with the Cardinals with a slightly more respectable record.
Boston failed to impress in the ALDS. But Game 3 appeared to be going their way, until Papelbon blew the save, giving up three runs after Boston handed him a two-run lead.