2004 Boston Red Sox season


2004 Boston Red Sox season

MLB yearly infobox
name = Boston Red Sox
season = 2004
misc = World Series Champions

current league = American League
y1 = 1901
division = East Division
y2 = 1969
Uniform logo =
ballpark = Fenway Park
y4 = 1912
city = Boston, Massachusetts
y5 = 1901
owners = John Henry
Tom Werner
Larry Lucchino
managers = Terry Francona
television = WSBK-TV
WBZ-TV
(Sean McDonough, Jerry Remy)
NESN
(Don Orsillo, Jerry Remy)
radio = WEEI
(Jerry Trupiano, Joe Castiglione)
WROL
(Bill Kulik, Uri Berenguer, Juan Pedro Villamán)|

The Boston Red Sox 2004 season is the 103rd Major League Baseball season for the Boston Red Sox franchise. Managed under Terry Francona, the team finished with a 98-64 record (three games behind the New York Yankees in the American League East Division). The Red Sox played in Fenway Park to a local attendance of 2,837,294 fans.

They clinched the AL wild card to assure a berth in the 2004 post-season. They swept the Los Angeles Angels in the first round to enter the ALCS against the Yankees for the second straight year.

As Boston entered the fourth game of the ALCS, they had fallen three games behind the Yankees, including a Game Three loss by the score of 19-8.

In the 9th inning of Game 4 they embarked upon an improbable comeback from a three-game deficit to defeat the New York Yankees in the series. After the ALCS, the Red Sox swept the Cardinals to win their first World Series since 1918 (86 years). [cite web|url=http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2004.shtml|title=2004 Boston Red Sox Statistics|work=Baseball Reference|accessdate=2007-06-13]

Offseason

* November 28, 2003: Curt Schilling was traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Boston Red Sox for Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa, and Michael Goss (minors).
*December 22, 2003: Gabe Kapler was signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox. [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/k/kaplega01.shtml Gabe Kapler Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com ] ]

Pre-season events

During the 2003-04 off season, the Red Sox acquired another ace pitcher, Curt Schilling, and a closer, Keith Foulke [http://www.baseball-reference.com/f/foulkke01.shtml] . Many visitors at their Spring Training at Fort Myers, Florida were very enthusiastic about the 2004 Red Sox team. Expectations once again ran high that 2004 would finally be the year that the Red Sox ended their championship drought.

Regular season

Opening Day Lineup

Starting pitchers

Post-season

Division Series

Boston began the playoffs by sweeping the AL West champion Anaheim Angels. The Red Sox blew out the Angels 9-3 in Game 1, scoring 7 of those runs in the fourth inning. However, the Sox' 2003 off season prize pickup Curt Schilling suffered a torn tendon when he was hit by a line drive. The injury was exacerbated when Schilling fielded a ball rolling down the first base line. The second game, pitched by Pedro Martínez, stayed close until Boston scored four in the ninth to win 8-3. In game three, what looked to be a blowout turned out to be a nail-biter, as Vladimir Guerrero hit a grand slam off Mike Timlin in the seventh to tie it at six. However, David Ortiz, who is famously noted for his clutch hitting, delivered in the 10th inning with a game winning two-run homer over the Green Monster. The Red Sox advanced to a rematch in the 2004 American League Championship Series against their bitter rivals, the New York Yankees.

League Championship Series

Despite high hopes that the Red Sox would finally vanquish their nemesis from the Bronx, the series started disastrously for them. Curt Schilling pitched with the torn tendon sheath in his right ankle he had suffered in Game 1 of the Division Series against Anaheim, and was routed for six runs in three innings. Yankee starter Mike Mussina had six perfect innings, and held an 8-0 lead. Despite the Sox' best effort to come back (they scored seven runs to make it 8-7), they ended up losing 10-7. In Game 2, already with his Yankees leading 1-0 for most of the game, John Olerud hit a two-run home run to put the New York team up for good. The Sox were soon down three games to none after a crushing 19-8 loss in Game 3 at home. In that game, the two clubs set the record for most runs scored in a League Championship Series game. At that point in the history of baseball, no team had come back to win from a 3-0 series deficit (in fact, only the 1998 Atlanta Braves and 1999 New York Mets had ever gotten as far as a Game 6).

In Game 4, the Red Sox found themselves facing elimination, trailing 4-3 in the ninth with Yankees superstar closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. After Rivera issued a walk to Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts came on to pinch run and promptly stole second base. He then scored on an RBI single by Bill Mueller which sent the game to extra innings. The Red Sox went on to win the game on a two-run home run by David Ortiz in the 12th inning. In Game 5, the Red Sox were again down late, this time by the score of 4-2, as a result of Derek Jeter's bases-clearing triple. But the Sox struck back in the eighth, as Ortiz hit a homer over the Green Monster to bring the Sox within a run. Then Jason Varitek hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Dave Roberts, scoring the tying run. The game would go for 14 innings, capped off by many squandered Yankee opportunities (they were 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position). In the top of the 12th, the knuckleballing Tim Wakefield came in from the bullpen, without his customary "personal catcher," Doug Mirabelli. Though Jason Varitek, the starting catcher, had little trouble with Wakefield's tricky knuckleballs in the 12th, he allowed 3 passed balls in the 13th. The third and last of those gave the Yankees runners on second and third with two out. Red Sox Nation was spared, however, as Ruben Sierra struck out to end the inning. In the bottom of the 14th, Ortiz would again seal the win with a game-winning RBI single that brought home Damon. The game set the record for longest postseason game in terms of time (5 hours and 49 minutes) and for the longest American League Championship Series game (14 innings), though the former has since been broken.

With the series returning to Yankee Stadium for Game 6, the improbable comeback continued, with Curt Schilling pitching on an ankle that had three sutures wrapped in a bloody (red) sock. Schilling struck out four, walked none, and only allowed one run over seven innings to lead the team to victory. Mark Bellhorn also helped in the effort as he hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Originally called a double, the umpires conferred and agreed that the ball had actually gone in to the stands before falling back in to the field of play, which was apparent to the television audience but angered Yankees fans. A key play came in the bottom of the eighth inning with Derek Jeter on first and Alex Rodríguez facing Bronson Arroyo. Rodríguez hit a ground ball down the first base line. Arroyo fielded it and reached out to tag him as he raced down the line. Rodríguez slapped at the ball and it came loose, rolling down the line. Jeter scored and Rodríguez ended up on second. After conferring, however, the umpires called Rodríguez out on interference and returned Jeter to first base, the second time in the game they reversed a call. Yankees fans, upset with the calls, littered the field with debris. The umpires called police clad in riot gear to line the field in the top of the 9th inning. In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees staged a rally and brought former Red Sox player Tony Clark, who had played well against the Red Sox since leaving the team, to the plate as the potential winning run. Closer Keith Foulke however, struck out Clark to end the game and force a Game 7. In this game, the Red Sox completed their historic comeback on the strength of Derek Lowe's one-hit/one-run pitching and Johnny Damon's two home runs, including a grand slam in the second inning off the first pitch of reliever Javier Vazquez, and defeated the New York Yankees 10-3. Ortiz, who had the game winning RBIs in Games 4 and 5, was named ALCS Most Valuable Player.

2004 World Series

Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League are the three professional sports that feature best-of-seven games series in their playoffs. The incredible feat of coming back to win a seven game series when down by three games has only been accomplished by three teams in the history of the MLB, NBA, and NHL. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) came back from being down by three games to the Detroit Red Wings to win the 1942 Stanley Cup. The 1975 New York Islanders (NHL) did the same when they came back to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1975 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals. No team in the NBA has ever accomplished such a comeback and the Boston Red Sox are the only team in Major League Baseball history to ever do so. The Red Sox faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. The Cardinals had posted the best record in the major leagues that season, and had previously defeated the Red Sox in the 1946 and 1967 Series, with both series going seven games. The third time would be the charm, however, as the momentum and confidence Boston had built up in the ALCS would overwhelm St. Louis. The Red Sox began the Series with an 11-9 win, marked by Mark Bellhorn's game-winning home-run off Pesky's Pole. This was unusual because Bellhorn was known for ground balls or striking out rather than hitting a home run. He later on said that he "just did what he needed to do." It was the highest scoring World Series opening game ever (breaking the previous record set in 1932). The Red Sox would go on to win Game 2 in Boston (thanks to another sensational performance by the bloody-socked Schilling). The Red Sox won both these games despite making 4 errors in each game. In Game 3, Pedro Martínez shut out the Cardinals for seven innings. The Cardinals only made one real threat — in the third inning when they put runners on second and third with no outs. However, the Cardinals' rally was killed by pitcher Jeff Suppan's baserunning gaffe. With no outs, Suppan should have scored easily from third on a Larry Walker ground ball to second baseman Bellhorn, who was playing back, conceding the run. But as Bellhorn threw out Walker at first base, Suppan inexplicably froze after taking several steps toward home and was thrown out by Sox first baseman David Ortiz as he scrambled back to third. The double play was devastating for St. Louis. The Red Sox needed one more game to win their first championship since the 1918 World Series. In Game Four the Red Sox did not allow a run, and the game ended as Edgar Rentería (who would become the 2005 Red Sox starting SS) hit the ball back to Keith Foulke. (This was the second time that Renteria had ended a Series, as he had won it for the Marlins seven years prior in the 1997 World Series.) After Foulke lobbed the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz, the Sox had won their first World Championship in 86 years. The Sox held the Cardinals' offense (the best in the NL in 2004) to only three runs in the last three games, never trailing in the Series. Manny Ramírez was named World Series MVP. The Red Sox won Game Four of the series on October 27, eighteen years to the day from when they lost to the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series.

The Red Sox performed well in the 2004 postseason. From the eighth inning of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees (a tie) until the end of the World Series, the Sox played 60 innings, and never trailed at any point.

To add a final, surreal touch to the Red Sox championship title, on the night the Red Sox won, a total lunar eclipse colored the moon over Busch Stadium to a deep red hue. The Red Sox won the title about eleven minutes before totality ended. Many Red Sox fans who were turned away due to no tickets for the game were allowed to watch the final inning from the confines of Busch Stadium after being let in free of charge.

The Red Sox held a parade (or as Boston mayor Thomas Menino put it, a "rolling rally") on Saturday, October 30 2004. A crowd of more than three million people filled the streets of Boston to cheer as the team rode on the city's famous Duck Boats.

Following their 2004 World Series win, the Red Sox replaced the dirt from the field as a "fresh start". They earned many accolades from sports media and throughout the nation for their incredible season.

Farm system [Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., "The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball," 2nd edition. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 2007]

* Class AAA: Pawtucket Red Sox (International League; Buddy Bailey, manager)
* Class AA: Portland Sea Dogs (Eastern League; Ron Johnson, manager)
* Class A: Sarasota Red Sox (Florida State League; Todd Claus, manager)
* Class A: Augusta GreenJackets (South Atlantic League; Chad Epperson, manager)
* Class SS-A: Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn League; Luis Alicea, manager)
* Rookie: GCL Red Sox (Gulf Coast League; Ralph Treuel, manager)

References

* [http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teamstats/roster.php?y=2004&t=BOS 2004 Boston Red Sox season at baseball-almanac.com] succession box
title = AL Wild Card
years = 2004
before = Boston Red Sox
2003
after = Boston Red Sox
2005
succession box
title = American League champion
years = 2004
before = New York Yankees
2003
after = Chicago White Sox
2005
succession box
title = World Series champion
years = 2004
before = Florida Marlins
2003
after = Chicago White Sox
2005


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