The Red Sox exceeded their low expectations
Last year’s season was a disaster. The Sox finished with an abysmal record of 24-36 over 60 games. Their winning percentage of .400 was the club’s lowest since they finished the year with a .383 in 1965.
To put these numbers into context, their winning percentage last season was worse than it was in 2012, one of the most infamous seasons in recent memory. Unlike the 2012 Red Sox, last year’s team did not have the excuses of a universally hated manager in Bobby Valentine, David Ortiz missing most of the second half of the season due to a torn Achilles, or one of their starters from their rotation, Josh Beckett, and two of their everyday position players, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, being sent away as part of a blockbuster trade with a month and half left to go in the season. They were just really bad.
Needless to say, the expectations were low from many heading into this season. Prior to the season, most analysts had the Red Sox projected for around 80 wins. Certainly an improvement from 2020, where had they played a full 162 games with that same winning percentage they would have finished with around 65 wins, but certainly not enough to make the postseason.
The attitude heading into this season was that while this team would be better than last year and would be respectable, they were still a rebuilding team and probably another year or two away from being playoff contenders.
However, this team shocked everyone, going 92-70 in the regular season and securing home field advantage in the Wild Card game. They did this despite a massive COVID-19 outbreak that occurred in September that could’ve easily derailed their season.
Once they got into the postseason they continued to defy expectations. Despite having home field advantage, most had chosen the Yankees to win the Wild Card game. The Red Sox not only beat the Yankees, they embarrassed them, winning the game 6-2 and knocking their ace Gerrit Cole out in the 3rd inning.
Following their Wild Card game victory, the Sox were once again the underdogs. Everyone, including most Red Sox fans, were expecting the Rays to finish them off in the ALDS, especially following their win in Game One of the series. But once again, the Sox used this as motivation, winning the next three games in a row to win the series. Throughout the season this team proved those who doubted them wrong, may they continue to do that next season.