Baseball fans remember the Red Sox winning 4 straight against New York to make the world series, but few remember the 22 wins in 25 games that saw the side finish within three games of their arch-rivals at the end of the 2004 regular season.
the 2012 Red Sox and their 2004 brothers aren’t that far apart, and signs are starting to show that it could be heading for a similar outcome.
After a terrible 4-9 start to the season this year, the Red Sox have scored the most runs in the Major Leagues and before the 20th of July game against the Toronto Blue Jays, they find themselves one game out of the wildcard, the same route they took to the 2004 title.
With a bit of luck the Sox are going to be able to make a run at the playoffs. Ortiz, Ellsbury and Pedroia have all spent time on the Disabled List, while the likes of Beckett and Matsuzaka have one or two poor innings that cost their team a game, often in tight scenarios.
While the 2004 outfit were not as overrun with injuries, the signs for the current crop have come through the unexpected performances, namely Will Middlebrooks, Cody Ross and Kelly Shoppach who have all had better than expected seasons, with Ross having hit three home runs in the last two days.
Then of course their is the trade of a much loved player, a trade which many fans think has crippled the chances of the outfit rather than increasing them, as was the case with Nomar Garciaparra being traded to the Cubs on deadline day in 04.
Who came across in that trade ?
The Sox picked up several valuable pieces, including someone by the name of Dave Roberts, who, if memory serves me well stole second and started the greatest comeback in the history of sports in Game Four of the ALCS.
Then we have Carl Crawford, somewhat of an X Factor in his tenure with Boston. While he was often feared while with the Rays, he has struggled to return to those glory days, although he has been decimated by injury. Yet again the signs are there with Crawford stealing three bases in his return to the lineup during the 10-1 win over the White Sox.
The walk off blast from Cody Ross on Thursday night has something special about it, much like Ortiz walking off with the series in the 2004 ALDS against the Angels and Manny blasting one into the coke bottle at the same point three years later.
There is a hunch in pockets of Red Sox Nation that says “Maybe this year won’t be so bad after all.”