2007 Boston Red Sox season
|2007 Boston Red Sox|
World Series Champions|
American League Champions
American League East Champions
|Major League affiliations|
|Owner(s)||John W. Henry (New England Sports Ventures)|
|General manager(s)||Theo Epstein|
|Local television||New England Sports Network|
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The Boston Red Sox' 2007 season began with the Boston, Massachusetts-based Major League Baseball team trying to rebound after a disappointing 2006 season, in which they finished third in the American League East behind the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, and missed the postseason for the first time since 2002. They rebounded from the disappointment of 2006 by posting the best record in the league, winning the American League East division with a lead they never relinquished since April 18, and winning the American League Pennant.
Advancing to the World Series, the Red Sox beat the Rockies in four straight games, winning their second Championship in four years.
On November 14, 2006, Major League Baseball announced that the Red Sox had competed for the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston won with a bid of US$51.1 million and had 30 days to complete a deal. On December 13, 2006, the day before the deadline, Matsuzaka signed a six-year contract worth $52 million.
It was initially announced that closer Jonathan Papelbon would become a starter in 2007, partially to protect his arm from the injury that sidelined him for the final month of his rookie season. With Papelbon planned to be a starter and Keith Foulke declining arbitration and leaving the team, the Red Sox began building up their bullpen in search of a new closer. Left-handed pitchers Hideki Okajima and J. C. Romero and right-handed pitcher Joel Piñeiro were signed as free agents. Brendan Donnelly was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in a trade for pitcher Phil Seibel.
However, there was no clear candidate for the closer role. Papelbon wanted to re-fill that spot, and team officials believed he had rehabilitated himself so well in the offseason that his health of this shoulder was no longer a concern, and allowed him to return to the bullpen.
The Red Sox lost free agent Álex González to the Cincinnati Reds (leading the Red Sox to sign Julio Lugo) and Mark Loretta to the Houston Astros (allowing Dustin Pedroia to become the team's starting second baseman). Trot Nixon, also a free agent, signed with the Cleveland Indians, creating the need for a right fielder. The Red Sox pursued J. D. Drew, who had recently opted out of the remainder of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers to become a free agent. However, the Red Sox medical staff had concerns about Drew's previously injured shoulder. On January 25, 2007, the Red Sox and Drew agreed to a five-year deal worth $70 million.
Honoring a Boston legend
A bright green jersey, with "Red Sox" in white letters outlined in red across the front was worn on April 20, 2007 to honor former Boston Celtics coach, general manager and president Red Auerbach, who had died during the previous off-season.
Opening Day lineup
|7||J. D. Drew||RF|
|Boston Red Sox||96||66||0.593||—||51–30||45–36|
|New York Yankees||94||68||0.580||2||52–29||42–39|
|Toronto Blue Jays||83||79||0.512||13||49–32||34–47|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays||66||96||0.407||30||37–44||29–52|
Record vs. opponents
2007 American League Records
|Los Angeles of Anaheim||7–3||4–6||4–5||5–5||5–3||2–5||—||6–3||6–3||9–10||13–6||6–2||10–9||3–4||14–4|
|2007 Game Log|
- Boston wins series 3–0
|1||Los Angeles Angels 0, Boston Red Sox 4||October 3|
|2||Los Angeles Angels 3, Boston Red Sox 6||October 5|
|3||Boston Red Sox 9, Los Angeles Angels 1||October 7|
- Boston wins series 4–3
|1||Cleveland Indians 3, Boston Red Sox 10||October 12|
|2||Cleveland Indians 13, Boston Red Sox 6||October 13|
|3||Boston Red Sox 2, Cleveland Indians 4||October 15|
|4||Boston Red Sox 3, Cleveland Indians 7||October 16|
|5||Boston Red Sox 7, Cleveland Indians 1||October 18|
|6||Cleveland Indians 2, Boston Red Sox 12||October 20|
|7||Cleveland Indians 2, Boston Red Sox 11||October 21|
- Boston wins series 4–0
|1||Colorado Rockies 1, Boston Red Sox 13||October 24|
|2||Colorado Rockies 1, Boston Red Sox 2||October 25|
|3||Boston Red Sox 10, Colorado Rockies 5||October 27|
|4||Boston Red Sox 4 at Colorado Rockies 3||October 28|
|2007 Boston Red Sox|
Starters by position
Note: Pos = position; G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In
|RF||J. D. Drew||140||466||126||.270||11||64|
*Statistics listed are only for games started.
|J. C. Romero||23||1||0||1||3.15||11|
American League Championship Series
The Red Sox not only won the AL East Division for the first time in 12 years, but clinched the best record in the American League—and all of baseball. While their 96–66 record was the same as that of the Cleveland Indians, the Red Sox held the season series tiebreaker for American League home-field advantage, having bested the Tribe 5 games to 2. Thus, the wild card New York Yankees were sent to Cleveland while the Sox would host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Josh Beckett started the series with a complete-game shutout in Game 1, resuming his dominance of the postseason after a three-season absence. Although Kevin Youkilis hit a solo home run in the first inning that would prove to be all the offense Beckett needed, David Ortiz provided additional support with a two-run homer in the third to cap off a 4–0 Game 1 victory. Game 2 was much closer, with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kelvim Escobar each surrendering three runs by the time the fifth inning was done. In the bottom of the ninth, after a Julio Lugo single and David Ortiz's playoff record-tying fourth walk of the night (this time, intentional), Manny Ramírez ended the game with a towering home run that left Fenway Park over the Green Monster. With a 6–3 Game 2 win, the Red Sox would go to Angel Stadium of Anaheim with a 2–0 series lead.
In Game 3, Curt Schilling brought back the dominant pitching, scattering six hits and striking out four in seven innings of shutout work. He had plenty of run support as well, with Ortiz and Ramírez hitting back-to-back solo home runs in the fourth, and a progression of hits that scored seven more in the eighth inning. Éric Gagné gave up the only run, giving up a ground-rule double to Maicer Izturis in the bottom of the ninth, then advancing Izturis to third on a wild pitch before giving up a sacrifice fly to Howie Kendrick that scored Izturis. After that, a strikeout and a flyout ended the game with a 9–1 Red Sox victory to clinch a series sweep.
The Red Sox sweep was one of three Division Series sweeps in the 2007 post-season. Only one series would go more than three—the Indians beat the Yankees in four games.
League Championship Series
In Game 1, Travis Hafner got the first run on Josh Beckett with a solo home run in the first inning. Manny Ramírez answered back, driving in Kevin Youkilis with a single in the bottom of the first. After that, Beckett settled in, while Indians starter C.C. Sabathia fell apart. In the bottom of the third, he gave up a ground-rule double to Julio Lugo, and then after a bunt groundout for Dustin Pedroia, he walked Kevin Youkilis, hit David Ortiz, and walked Manny Ramírez to give up the lead. Then he gave up a double to Mike Lowell that scored Youkilis and Ortiz. After Bobby Kielty was walked, Jason Varitek hit a groundout that could not be turned into a double-play, scoring Ramírez. The Sox tacked five more on, and win Game 1, 10–3.
Game 2 was a slugfest, with Curt Schilling and Fausto Carmona both failing to make it out of the fifth inning, and a 6–6 tie after six innings. The game drew into extra frames, but the Red Sox bullpen got hammered in the top of the eleventh, with Éric Gagné, Javier López and Jon Lester giving up seven runs. The Red Sox failed to answer back, and lost Game 2, 13–6. The series was even headed to Cleveland.
In Game 3, Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up 4 runs, and Jason Varitek provided the only Red Sox offense with a two-run homer in the seventh, as the Indians took the Jacobs Field opener, 4–2, for a 2–1 series lead. Game 4 did not start much better for the Red Sox, with a seven-run fifth inning that saw Manny Delcarmen allow four runs (two charged to starter Tim Wakefield). In the top of the sixth, the Sox showed some life with back-to-back-to-back solo home runs by Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Manny Ramírez. That would be all of the Sox offense, as they fell, 7–3, to end up in a 3–1 ALCS hole once again.
Once more, the Red Sox faced ALCS elimination. But one person who was not panicking was Manny Ramírez. In his typical "Manny Being Manny" attitude, Ramirez told reporters that if the Red Sox were eliminated, it wouldn't be "the end of the world." His comments seemed laissez faire at the time, as many members of the Boston media chose to interpret them as meaning that Manny would not put forth his best effort in the games to come and would thus disrupt his team's ability to compete. Fate proved them wrong though. With Josh Beckett on the mound again for Game 5, the Red Sox dominated, with Kevin Youkilis driving in three and David Ortiz driving in two to power a 7–1 Red Sox victory to force the ALCS back to Fenway Park.
The Red Sox were hardly finished. In Game 6, Curt Schilling redeemed himself, giving up two runs in seven innings, while J. D. Drew hammered a grand slam in the first inning, and the Sox tacked on six more in the third, leading to a 12–2 victory. Éric Gagné finished the game by pitching a perfect 9th inning. Game 7 gave Daisuke Matsuzaka his chance at redemption, and he did not disappoint, giving up 2 runs in five innings, while Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched two scoreless innings. The Sox hammered out a run in each of the first three innings, then exploded with a Dustin Pedroia two-run homer in the seventh, and six more runs—including another two-run homer by Kevin Youkilis—in the eighth. With an 11–2 Game 7 victory, the Red Sox came back once again from elimination, bringing them to their second World Series in four years.
2007 World Series
At first, the World Series seemed like a tough task. After going the distance with the Indians, the Red Sox had to face the red-hot Colorado Rockies, who had just finished a 21-of-22 run that included forcing and winning a Wild Card one-game playoff with the San Diego Padres, then sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS. The Red Sox were counting on their historically-dominant postseason pitching and the possibility that eight days off would leave the Rox rusty.
Game 1 proved, once more, to be a domination. Josh Beckett gave up just one run in seven innings of work while striking out nine, while Rockies starter Jeff Francis gave up a home run on his second pitch to Dustin Pedroia in the bottom of the first, and a total of six runs in four innings. It got worse from there, as the Red Sox hammered reliever Franklin Morales for seven runs in the fifth inning. The Red Sox took Game 1, 13–1.
In Game 2, Curt Schilling gave up one run in 5 1⁄3 innings, and Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon finished the game flawlessly. This time, the dominance was necessary, as the Red Sox scored two times, with Jason Varitek driving in Mike Lowell in the fourth, then Lowell driving in David Ortiz in the fifth for their only offense of the game. With a 2–1 Game 2 win, the Red Sox went to Coors Field in Denver with the advantage, hoping the rarefied air would not affect them too much.
Game 3 began with another dominating offensive performance. Boston struck first, with six runs in the third inning that knocked out Rox starter Josh Fogg. Mike Lowell and pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka each had two RBIs, and Manny Ramírez was called out at home on a controversial, but ultimately correct, tagout call. The Rockies tried to come back, bringing in five runs, including a Matt Holliday home run. But the Sox put it away, with rookies Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury combining to drive in three in the eighth inning, and Mike Lowell scoring the final Sox run in the ninth to seal a 10–5 win that put the Red Sox one game away from their second World Series Championship in four years.
Game 4 gave Jon Lester his shot at redemption, as a back injury to Tim Wakefield gave Lester the start. He was scoreless in 5 2⁄3 innings, with Mike Lowell scoring two runs and Jacoby Ellsbury scoring one in support. In the eighth inning, Bobby Kielty hit a pinch-hit home run to put an end to the Sox's scoring. Hideki Okajima almost gave the game up, allowing two runs in the eighth before Jonathan Papelbon came in to save the game in 1 2⁄3 innings. The Red Sox celebrated a 4–3 win and a four-game World Series sweep at Coors Field. Mike Lowell, with his .400 average and six runs scored, was named the MVP of the World Series.
Two days later, on October 30, the Red Sox were the guests of honor in a Rolling Rally through Boston, after which the team began to lay their plans for the 2008 season.
Red Sox rookies
During the course of the 2007 season, the Red Sox were helped out and sometimes carried by rookies. Five rookies stick out in particular. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Hideki Okajima all had their moments and left their mark of this season in Red Sox history.
Dustin Pedroia began the season as the Red Sox starting second baseman. Pedroia, 24, struggled in April only batting .182, with 10 hits in 55 at-bats. Although he struggled in the first month, Pedroia heated up batting an outstanding .415 in the month of May. Pedroia was honored as American League Rookie of the Month for the month of May. Pedroia continued this hot hitting for the remainder of the season. Pedroia also excelled his play in the postseason by 2 HR and driving in 10 runs in 14 games to help the Red Sox win the World Series. Pedroia ended batting .317 which ranked 10th among all American League players. Pedroia also finished with 8 home runs and 50 runs batted in. Pedroia won the American League Rookie of the Year award.
Pedroia was not the only rookie position player to make an impact this season. Jacoby Ellsbury, 24, made his MLB debut on June 30. Instantly Ellsbury succeeded. In only 33 games and 116 at-bats, Ellsbury hit .353, had 3 home runs, and had 41 hits. Jacoby also showed off his versatility by stealing 9 bases without getting caught. Ellsbury also had a terrific postseason. Ellsbury replaced center fielder Coco Crisp in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Indians. He did not heat up until Game 3 of the World Series, where he had 4 hits and 2 doubles. Ellsbury batted an amazing .438 in the 4-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
The Boston Red Sox also had one incredible rookie pitcher named Clay Buchholz. Buchholz, 23, made his MLB debut on August 17. In his first start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Fenway Park, Buchholz pitched 6 innings, allowing 3 earned runs, while striking out 5 batters. However, it was not until his second Major League start before Clay Buchholz became a household name throughout Red Sox Nation. On September 1 against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park, Buchholz pitched a no-hitter. He struck out 9 Orioles including Oriole right fielder Nick Markakis on a curveball to complete this outstanding feat. Buchholz became the second rookie in Major League history to pitch a no-hitter. Buchholz pitched in 4 games with the Red Sox. He was 3–1 with a 1.59 ERA and 22 strikeouts. Despite his success in the regular season, Buchholz was left off the Red Sox postseason roster due to what Red Sox management determined was a fatigued arm.
The season got off to a wonderful start. On April 22, 2007, in a game against the New York Yankees, the Red Sox hit four consecutive home runs for the first time in franchise history (and the fifth time in major league history), when Manny Ramírez, J. D. Drew, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek all hit home runs off Yankees pitcher Chase Wright. Drew also hit the second of four consecutive home runs the last time this happened, when the Los Angeles Dodgers did it against the San Diego Padres on September 18, 2006. That series was also the first series since the 1990 season that the Red Sox swept the Yankees in a three-game series at Fenway.
Six members of the Red Sox were chosen to play in the season's all-star game. David Ortiz was elected to start at first base by the fans, third baseman Mike Lowell and outfielder Manny Ramírez were chosen by their fellow players as reserves. Pitchers Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon made the initial team, and reliever Hideki Okajima was voted in by the fans as the winner of the 32nd-man internet vote. It was the first time the Red Sox had more than two pitchers make the all-star team. Josh Beckett was credited with the win for the American League.
On September 1, 2007, against the Baltimore Orioles, rookie pitcher Clay Buchholz threw a no hitter on his second major league start. He was the first rookie in Red Sox history to throw a no hitter, as well as the 17th pitcher in Red Sox history to throw one. He got nine strikeouts and gave up three walks and hit one batter.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2007 Boston Red Sox season.|
- Epstein working to save the season
- Papelbon takes closing argument
- ESPN – This time, Red Sox bulldozed their way to title – MLB
- Sox tie mark with four straight homers – accessed April 23, 2007
- Boston's five homers sink Yankees – accessed April 23, 2007
- AP press release on Hideki Okajima found on SI.com
- Sports Illustrated, September 24, 2007, p. 24
- Boston Red Sox 2007 Media Guide
- Game logs:
- Batting statistics: Boston Red Sox stats on ESPN.com
- Pitching statistics: Boston Red Sox pitching stats on ESPN.com