2016 Boston Red Sox
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2016 Boston Red Sox / Franchise: Boston Red Sox / BR Team Page
Clinched Division: September 28, 2016
Managed by John Farrell
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2016 Boston Red Sox came into the season whether this would be a good year, like 2013, when they won the World Series, or a bad one, like 2012, 2014 and 2015, when they finished last in the AL East all three years. On the strength of a solid last two months in 2015, and some key off-season acquisitions led by free agent pitcher David Price, they were hopeful it would be a good year, though.
Early returns were positive, as a strong offense led the team to first place in the division in early May, on the strength of a streak of 14 wins in 18 games. On May 12th, they defeated the Houston Astros, 11-1, marking their fourth straight games with at least 11 runs and 14 hits, a feat not performed since the 1930 Philadelphia Athletics. Leading the offense was CF Jackie Bradley, who extended his hitting streak to 18 games that day. When Bradley extended the streak to 25 game with a homer on May 20th, it marked the 20th straight game in which the Red Sox had hit a home run, breaking a team record dating back to 1996.
The Red Sox ended the first half in second place in the division, behind the Baltimore Orioles, but with the Toronto Blue Jays breathing down their necks. Their offence had been excellent, with a team batting average of .292, and so were their top three starters - Price, Steven Wright and Rick Porcello - who had combined to go 30-13, 3.49, but the back end of the rotation and the bullpen were issues of concern, as was the bench. GM Dave Dombrowski set about to address these issues aggressively, making four trades in quick succession that brought in IFs Aaron Hill and Michael Martinez, closer Brad Ziegler and SP Drew Pomeranz, the latter brought in on July 14th just two days after he had represented the San Diego Padres at the All-Star Game.
The Red Sox wavered between second and third place for most of August, then made their move in September, claiming first place from the Blue Jays on September 6th, and hanging on. Porcello won his 20th game on September 9th, becoming the first 20-game winner for the Sox since Josh Beckett in 2007. On September 15th, the Red Sox made a statement when they went into the 9th inning of the opening game of a four-game series against the New York Yankees trailing, 5-2, but scored five runs capped by a walk-off homer by 1B Hanley Ramirez to win, 7-5. They then proceeded to win the next three games as well, coming back from a 4-0 deficit in the last game when Ramirez again was the hero, homering twice, to increase their division lead to three games. This "Boston Massacre" in reverse virtually eliminated the Yankees from playoff contention.
On September 25th, the Red Sox won their 11th straight game, 3-2 in 10 innings over the Tampa Bay Rays and set a couple of major league records in the process. Their pitchers - Eduardo Rodriguez, Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly recorded 21 strikeouts over the first 9 innings, one more than the previous mark of 20, and between the 4th and 7th innings, they retired 11 straight batters on strikes, also besting the previous mark by one. Rodriguez tied a personal best with 13 Ks but had to exit after only 5 1/3 innings after running a high pitch count, and Hembree followed by retiring all five men he faced on strikes. Logan Forsythe singled off Barnes to lead off the 8th and break the string, but the next out also came on a strikeout, giving Boston 17 straight via that route; Kelly then induced pinch-hitter Nick Franklin to ground into an inning-ending double play to end that string. On [September 28]]th, the Sox lost, 5-3, to the Yankees on a grand slam by Mark Teixeira, but a loss by the Blue Jays that night clinched the AL East title for them, crowning a "worst-to-first" season. However, the year ended on a down note, as the Red Sox were swept by the Cleveland Indians in three games in the DivisionSseries, losing the first two games on the road at Progessive Field, and then Game 3 at home in what was Ortiz's last major league appearance.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Craig Kimbrel, David Ortiz and Steven Wright
- AL Cy Young Award: Rick Porcello
- AL Gold Glove: Mookie Betts (RF)
- AL Silver Slugger Award: Mookie Betts (OF), Xander Bogaerts (SS) and David Ortiz (DH)
- Mike Bauman: "Sunnier skies await Red Sox in 2016: Savvy offseason, youngsters could reinvigorate Boston", March 2, 2016. 
- Ian Browne: "Papi's last hurrah an exhilarating ride for Sox: Though Boston's season had abrupt end, journey was filled with lasting memories", mlb.com, December 28, 2016. 
- Ian Browne: "Big Papi reflects on historic final season", mlb.com, January 9, 2022. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Red Sox road trip shines light on toughest MLB opponent: The schedule", USA Today Sports, August 15, 2016. 
- AP: "Red Sox clinch first AL East title since 2013", USA Today, September 28, 2016