Red Sox: 10 best MLB postseason performances in franchise history
6. Keith Foulke – ’04 Playoffs
While I like to think many people are aware of this, it nonetheless bears mentioning that the great distiguisher between the Red Sox of 2003 and 2004 was a shut down closer. The great tragedy that befell Grady Little in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS was not that he held too much faith in Pedro Martinez, it was that he lacked any truly reliable options in the back end of his bullpen.
Following the heartbreak that was Game 7 in ’03, Theo Epstein made sure his team, or his new manager in Terry Francona, would never be put in a similar situation the following year when he went out and acquired Oakland A’s closer Keith Foulke.
While Foulke was phenomenal during the ’04 regular season (2.17 ERA, 32 saves, 79 Ks in 83 IP, 223 ERA+), I believe his contributions that fall have been forgotten thanks to other moments during that postseason that, understandably, stole much of the spotlight from him.
Over the course of the ’04 postseason, Foulke appeared in all but 2 games. He tossed 14 innings of work, recorded 3 saves, finished 8 of the 11 games he appeared in, surrendered just 7 hits and 1 run, and struck out 19 batters to 8 walks all the tune of a cool 0.64 ERA. For Red Sox fans it’s impossible to forget the moment he recorded that final out.