What a Difference a Year Makes
The 2012 Red Sox won 69 games the whole season.
The 2013 Red Sox won 69 games as of August 6th.
Aug 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox managerJohn Farrell
(53) walks in the dugout before a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
What a difference a year makes. On August 6, 2012 the Red Sox had a 55-56 record, were in fourth place, and were 9 games out of first place. By the end of the season the Sox would land in last place, 26 games out of first. This year the Sox hold first place have a 1.5 game lead over Tampa Bay.
What changed? What caused such a remarkable turnaround? The most obvious change is in the manager’s office. Bobby Valentine, manager in 2012, was far from a fan favorite. He’d managed the Mets for 7 years, collected one pennant, and a .534 winning percentage. His personality, however, didn’t mesh well with some players and most fans. John Farrell was the Sox pitching coach from 2007-2010 and the assumed successor to Terry Francona. While he was away from the Sox, he managed the Toronto Blue Jays for two years. Under his direction the Jays ended in fourth place twice with a .475 winning percentage. Red Sox Nation rejoiced when John Farrell replaced Valentine as skipper.
But there must be more to the change than that. Baseball managers are important, but can one man possibly be that influential? This year’s Sox seem to have a never-say-die attitude that was missing last season. The incredible comeback games just this month show a change of heart. The 2012 Sox would never have come back from a 7-0 deficit like the 2013 team did against Seattle. Last night, the Sox were down 5-0 thanks in part to Steven Wright‘s knuckleball and Ryan Lavarnway‘s inability to catch it. But the team rebounded and won 15-10. Lavarnway himself contributed with 2 RBI.
This team doesn’t quit. Whether it’s because of excellent locker room pep talks from the manager or just the baseball gods smiling on Boston, there is something special about this year’s Sox. Worst to first? It’s too early to tell but things are looking up!