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MLB Boston Red SoxMLB Playoffs

10 Things You Need to Know About the Boston Red Sox

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10 Things to Know About Red Sox

Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

The Boston Red Sox experienced a complete turnaround from last season’s struggles. It all started with the wise managerial change of letting Bobby Valentine go and replacing him with former pitching coach John Farrell. Farrell had a great relationship with a lot of these players, and it only made sense to reunite them.

The other saving grace from last year’s disaster is that new general manager Ben Cherrington was able to dump a bunch of salary by sending Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers. This allowed them to make moves this offseason that benefited the team like the signings of Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, as well as a contract extension for Dustin Pedroia.

And where have all of these brilliant moves gotten the Red Sox? They will begin their quest for a third World Series title in 10 years tomorrow as they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS. The Rays are a familiar opponent and it might be easier to face them than having to face former beloved manager Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indians.

The Red Sox have had a really good season pretty much from start to finish. They have the talent to win the World Series and they have the right manager in place that has a good feel of the pulse of this team. You know the Red Sox on paper, but here are 10 things you really need to know about them heading into the ALDS

Zach Slotter is a contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page and add him on Google.

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10. Looking for 3 Titles in 10 Years

Joy R. Absalon - USA Today Sports

The Red Sox ended their long World Series drought in 2004 and followed it up with another. They are looking for their third crown in 10 years, and they would be the first team to win that many titles in that span since the Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000.

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9. Healthy at the Right Time

Bob DeChiara - USA Today Sports

The two biggest question marks heading into October were the health of Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz. Ellsbury went 3-for-11 with three runs and two steals in his few tune-up games, while Buchholz has made four starts and gone 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA. Both of these guys are ready to play big roles in October.

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8. Starting Pitching Depth

Winslow Townson - USA Today Sports

The Red Sox have six quality starting pitchers that they could throw at you on any given day. Their rotation is so deep that Felix Doubront might not even make the postseason roster. Ryan Dempster should move to the bullpen and Jon Lester leads what could be the deepest rotation in the playoffs.

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7. Home-Field Avantage

Greg M. Cooper - USA Today Sports

The Red Sox have the home-field advantage in the series against the Rays, and Fenway has been friendly to the Sox this year. They're the best in the American League with a 53-28 home record.

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6. They Have the Rays' Number

Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

During the regular season, the Red Sox won 12 out of 19 games against the Rays, including two out of three in their most recent matchup in mid-September.

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5. Gold Glove Caliber

Bob DeChiara - USA Today Sports

The Red Sox don’t just hit; they were tied for fourth in the AL in fielding percentage and committed the fifth fewest errors in the AL. Victorino, Ellsbury and Pedroia are all Gold Glove-caliber players that make big plays for their pitchers.

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4. Speed

Anthony Gruppuso - USA Today Sports

Boston was fourth in the league with 123 stolen bases, led by Jacoby Ellsbury’s major league-leading 52. Their offense is simple; get on base, steal bases, score runs and win ball games.

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3. Efficient Offense

Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

The reason why the Sox score so many runs is because they get a ton of guys on base. They led the league with a .349 on base percentage and were third with 581 walks.

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2. 853 Runs

Joy R. Absalon - USA Today Sports

The Sox led the entire league in runs, 57 more than the second-place team. This offense is high-powered and had four individuals in the top 40 in the majors in runs scored.

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1. 97-65

Winslow Townson - USA Today Sports

The Red Sox tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for best record in baseball during the regular season, making them the favorite in my opinion to come out of the American League.