Red Sox, Where’s That 2003 Offense?


It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox offense has been struggling in the 2015 season. The team is ranked 10th out of the 15 teams in the American League in the total amount of runs scored (309) and tied for ninth place for RBIs (292).

On this day in 2003, however, offense was definitely not an issue. In fact, the Red Sox were absolutely destroying the Florida Marlins before they had any thought of identifying themselves strictly with Miami.

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 The Associated Press reported the game through, stating that “Boston set a major league record by scoring 10 runs before making an out and cruised to a 25-8 victory over Florida on Friday night — but it was marred by a frightening injury to Marlins pitcher Kevin Olsen.”

Boston’s Todd Walker hit a seventh-inning line drive that struck “Olsen in the head and 34,764 fans fell silent. He was carted off the field on a stretcher and taken to the hospital, where he was in good condition with minor injuries.”

Back to 2015, things have not much changed. We have a pitcher named Alex Torres playing for the New York Mets while wearing a protective hat. The padding around the sides has had many pitchers saying that they would never wear it. If they became the next Kevin Olsen, only with worse results at the hospital, maybe more pitchers would spend more time thinking about it.

That wasn’t all for the physical threats on the field, that day in 2003, however. The benches cleared in the ninth inning, as Boston’s relief pitcher Hector Amonte threw behind Florida’s Andy Fox, after Blaine Neal hit David Ortiz, still a new face to Red Sox Nation, with a pitch in the eighth inning. Nobody was injured, but Amonte was ejected and the Marlins accused the Red Sox of running up the score.

“That late offense contributed to Boston tying a team record with
28 hits and scoring the second most runs in team history. The
records for runs and hits both came in a 29-4 win over the St.
Louis Browns on June 8, 1950.”

“For Boston, Bill Mueller had a career-high six RBIs, Jason
Varitek had four and Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Walker three each. Damon equaled a major league mark with three hits in an inning – a single, double and triple in the first.”

“‘It was miserable. It was embarrassing,’ Florida’s Mike Lowell said,” who later joined the Red Sox in 2006 and won the 2007 World Series. He also earned the World Series MVP nod as well as his last of four All-Star game appearances. Lowell retired with the Red Sox in 2010.

What would Lowell say now, if he was on the Red Sox in 2015? Left field looks about the same on defense, right down to the hair, but he’s not quite the same run juggernaught on offense. The catcher’s name changes almost daily, with injuries abounding. The designated hitter is the same man, just without the success that earned him his first of nine All-Star votes a year later. And the center fielder is still a kid who didn’t sell his soul to the Evil Empire of New York.

Lowell might also say that the present Red Sox could be a bit more similar to that 2003 team than people realize. Young players like Mookie Betts and Brock Holt are already coming into their own, much like a young Ortiz did when Boston gave him the chance that the Minnesota Twins did not, after 2002.

Just don’t expect the same record-breaking offense to happen 12 years later. Tampa Bay Rays pitching stud Chris Archer is on the mound in today’s game.

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