FIVE FAVORITE PLAYERS
Ortiz was not immune to the injury bug in 2012. He was having a terrific season up until that point, hitting .318/.415/.611 with 23 home runs and 60 RBIs and was the team's lone All Star. He went down with an injury in mid July then came back for one game late in August and was shut down for the remainder of the season.
Pedroia was relatively healthy in 2012, only missing 21 games over the course of the season. He turned in some pretty impressive numbers too, hitting .290/.347/.449 with 15 home runs, 65 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases for one of his better years.
Oddly, Saltalamacchia was the Red Sox home run leader in 2012 after hitting a career high of 25. Otherwise, the catcher's offensive stats were not terribly impressive. He finished with a slash line of .222/.288/.454 and 59 RBIs.
Buchholz ended up tying for the team lead with 11 wins. Yeah, it was that kind of year for Boston. He was dreadful early in the season but started pitching quite well in the second half with an ERA nearly two runs lower.
Ellsbury is another player whose career was cut short by injury. He was injured early in the season and did not make it back until late in the first half. He made it into 74 games and stole 14 bases. It was not the best way to build on his terrific 2011 season.
Boston acquired two closers prior to the 2012 season, giving up talented young players Josh Reddick and Jed Lowrie in the process. Yet it was Aceves who turned out to be the primary closer for the Red Sox, saving 25 games despite losing 10 games and having a 5.36 ERA.
Nava returned to the Majors in 2012 after not appearing in 2011 and performed reasonably well. Nava hit .243/.352/.390 with 6 home runs and 33 RBIs in 88 games, primarily as the left-fielder. He would build on this season with a greater 2013.
Aviles ended up being the starting shortstop after Boston (foolishly) traded both Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro prior to the season. Aviles was very impressive defensively but not quite as good at the plate, though he did hit 13 home runs and steal 14 bases.
Ciriaco was an under-the-radar acquisition who paid some big dividends. Ciriaco played almost every position and had an impressive season with the bat. He hit .293/.315/.390 and was second on the team with 16 stolen bases.
Tazawa started becoming one of the team's most trusted middle relievers after striking out 45 in 44 innings and ending up with a 1.43 ERA. He solidified his spot on the roster with the terrific season, leading into becoming a very valued part of the bullpen in 2013.
He was not expected to be one of the team's top hitters, nor even one of the best outfielders, but Cody Ross put together a very good season quietly and may have been the team's MVP. Ross hit .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs.
Together with Alfredo Aceves, Boston had a very intimidating bullpen. The general theory was that both Padilla and Aceves were a little bit nuts. Padilla would occasionally surprise batters with an eephus-like pitch and ended up with a 4-1 record and a 4.50 ERA in 56 games.
FAVORITE MIDSEASON ACQUISITION
Breslow was acquired from Arizona for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik at midseason and had a terrific stint with Boston with a 2.70 ERA in 23 games, striking out 19 and walking nine in 20 innings. It was Breslow's second stint in Boston. Making that trade even better for Boston is the fact that Podsednik was released by Arizona and came back to Boston.
I went to my first Red Sox game since 2006 in 2012 and Doubront was the starter. He did not pitch particularly well, but ended up with the win. On the season, Doubront lead the team in strikeouts with 167 in 161 innings, and tied for the team lead in wins with 11. It was a decent season for the southpaw.
The hitting star of the game I went to was Middlebrooks who took over at third base for the rapidly declining Kevin Youkilis. Middlebrooks hit two home runs in that game and 15 home runs on the season and looked like a rising star before he too was injured.
The pitching staff was one of the biggest disappointments of the year. John Lackey underwent Tommy John surgery, Clay Buchholz was inconsistent, and Josh Beckett was eventually traded in the big Dodgers trade. But Lester was the biggest problem, going 9-14 with an ugly 4.82 ERA.
As bad as the starters were, the relievers were even worse. Boston has a bad track record in trading for relievers and this was definitely one of the bad trades. Boston acquired Bailey and Ryan Sweeney for Josh Reddick and two minor leaguers. Bailey had control issues and injuries and ended up 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA and only six saves. Meanwhile, Reddick hit 32 home runs and won a Gold Glove for Oakland.
Boston made two trades for closers coming into the season and neither of them worked out. Melancon was acquired for Jed Lowrie and immediately struggled. He spent a lot of time in the minors and ended up 0-2 with a 6.20 ERA and one save. Lowrie hit 16 home runs as the Astros starting shortstop.