Boston Red Sox: Why 2015 was the bridge year 2014 was supposed to be

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Sep 27, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder

Mookie Betts

(50) and second baseman

Dustin Pedroia

(third from left) celebrate a victory against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

There’s nothing quite so awkwardly anti-climactic for a Boston Red Sox fan than yet another last place finish. No doubt, like me, you drove your spouse/friends/colleagues/pets to distraction with all the juicy gossip and inflated expectations before April 2015. After this they could pinpoint with almost precise certainty, indeed showing an ability to adjust the clocks to it, your descent into frustration fueled rage at how none of said expectations actually panned out. Indeed on the contrary.

But now, like a train derailing, it’s over and done. The World has moved on to the next big thing, like football season, Donald Trump’s hair and maybe, just maybe, the 2015 MLB Postseason. Fear not, loyal Bosox Injection reader. The offseason moves and shakes are just around the corner and in the meantime, I’ve got some things for you to ponder; 2015 really was what it should have been.

OK, so Boston did end up in the cellar again and they spent quite a bit of time and effort to do so, but there’s plenty to be hopeful for going forward and particularly if you’re willing to sit back, take off the nostalgia glasses, and compare to where we were last year. 2014 was the bridge year that never was. Coming off the back of an unexpected, nigh fantastical, World Series win in 2013, the Red Sox did something even more unexpected and fantastical, they flopped.

The year finished with a dire record of 71-91, only two wins better than 2012 under soon-to-be-sacked Bobby “Lame Duck” Valentine. The reversal of Boston’s fortunes caught management so off-guard that the year was written off as a blip on the radar, a necessary evil to returning to the norm of contention, a bridge year.

We know now that the only thing 2014 was a bridge to was another radar blip and more necessary evil, but there’s reasons to be positive. I want to show you why I feel 2015 was the real bridge year towards a return for the Red Sox to the postseason and of course to your topic of discussion with spouse/friends/colleagues/pets etc., etc. To do so, let’s examine the things that went implicitly wrong in 2014 and the transition to 2015 and see how things were done differently and the changes yet to come.

Next: Too many gaps