How Did The Boston Red Sox Go From Worst To First In American League East?

By Randy Holt
John Lackey
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of this week, the Boston Red Sox will get their 2013 postseason underway. It’s a surprising turn of events for a club that struggled so mightily, and so publicly in 2012. They’ve gone from the American League East’s worst team, to the top team in all of the AL.

To what do we attribute the turnaround that the BoSox have experienced? It’s certainly been a pleasant site to watch, as the Sox have gone nearly wire to wire as the top club in the AL East, despite facing off against some of the top competition anywhere in baseball, whether it be Tampa Bay or Baltimore.

The managerial change certainly helped. Last year, Bobby Valentine wasn’t the right choice, and that was pretty clear from the beginning. Cleansing themselves of that situation, along with dumping plenty of overpaid salary last August, certainly helped.

You’ve had players who have had career years this year, and players who have rebounded. John Lackey had a fantastic regular season for the Sox, showing up in the best shape of his career, and rebounding completely after looking like a massively failed contract.

While the remainder of the pitching staff hasn’t seen the type of year that Lackey has, at least in the starting rotation, they’ve been solid overall. They have one of the best bullpens in baseball, which is led by Koji Uehara, who has been absolute dynamite with his 1.09 ERA.

But the real reason for this team’s resurgence is the way they’ve been able to hit the ball. They didn’t make too many changes as far as their actual lineup was concerned heading into the season, but they didn’t have to. They’ve seen several players stick to their career norms, or improve as 2013 has worn on.

David Ortiz has done what he’s always done in his career. As has Dustin PedroiaJacoby Ellsbury was having an MVP caliber year before he went down with an injury. Mike Napoli, here on a one-year deal, has posted outstanding power numbers.

All in all, the Red Sox have gotten contributions from all over the lineup, which has led to the success they’ve experienced in 2013. Having the drama out of the clubhouse, and there was a lot of it in 2012, certainly helps, but when it comes down to it, the Red Sox are a team that was simply built to win this year.

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