The city of Boston was devastated by tragedy when a terrorist attack interrupted Marathon Monday in April of 2013. The Red Sox provided a beacon of light in these dark times. David Ortiz’ passionate speech rallied the city and fueled a championship season sparked by the Boston Strong mantra.
The 2012 salary dump deal with the Dodgers enabled the Red Sox to rebuild their roster around high-character veterans. Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, and Jonny Gomes were among the positive influences brought in to repair the fractured clubhouse culture and they each provided production on the field that proved vital to the team’s success.
Koji Uehara was another unheralded newcomer who was one of the key figures leading this team to championship glory. Boston shuffled through several options to fill the closer role before settling on Uehara out of necessity. That led to a career year in which the veteran from Japan posted a stellar 1.09 ERA and a 0.57 WHIP that set a major league record (minimum 50 innings).
Jon Lester’s brilliant postseason run helped carry the Red Sox rotation. The lefty went 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA five postseason starts.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of this postseason was a game-tying grand slam from Ortiz in Game 2 of the ALCS. Boston would go on to win the game to even the series, avoiding a scenario in which they nearly lost the first two games at home. They may never have recovered from that hole but Big Papi came through in the clutch once again to ensure that didn’t happen.
So much can change in the span of one year. The Red Sox went from their worst season of the decade to winning 97 games and being crowned World Series champions.