2011 BOSTON RED SOX
A SEASON IN THE DRINK (CHICKEN & BEER) ...
 

Harmon Killebrew   Dick Williams   Lou Gorman   Don Buddin
Died: May 17th   Died: July 7th   Died: April 1st   Died: June 30th


The 2011 Boston Red Sox completed the worst collapse in the history of Major League Baseball. Of all the numbers that describe the disastrous September of the Red Sox, the number most will remember is “9”. That's how many games the Tampa Bay Rays trailed the Sox in the AL wild-card race going into September 4th.  The Red Sox went on to play their worst baseball of the season and allowed the Rays to take the wild card on the final day. It was certainly a season to forget for the Red Sox, as they dealt with numerous injuries, players vastly underperforming, and off field issues that became clubhouse distractions.

Boston's subsequent September collapse goes down as the worst in major league history, edging a simultaneous faltering by the 2011 Atlanta Braves, who held an 8˝-game lead over the Cardinals for the NL wild card that they couldn't hold.

The Red Sox lost 20 of 27 games in September. The Red Sox didn't just have a bad month in comparison to the rest of season. Boston's September woes were historically bad by any measure. In fact, it was the Red Sox's worst full month of baseball in 47 years. At 7-20, their .259 winning percentage was the lowest in a month of at least 15 games by a Red Sox team since August 1964. They finished that month 7-22 (.241) and averaged just 2.9 runs per game. The Red Sox matched a franchise-record with 20 losses in the month of September. That also happened in 1952, a month in which Ted Williams was limited to six games because of military service.
Coming into the season, the Red Sox starting rotation consisted of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Not one of them stayed healthy for the entire season. Lester, Beckett, and Lackey each missed several weeks due to minor injuries, but Matsuzaka received “Tommy John” Surgery in June, and was soon followed to the disabled list by Buchholz and his back injury. Pitching quickly became Boston’s biggest weakness, but their vaunted offense couldn’t escape the injury bug either.

 

CARL CRAWFORD & ADRIAN GONZALEZ

J.D. Drew had always been fragile, but he played in only 81 games. This resulted in Josh Reddick playing full time in right field. This was fine until his hot bat quickly cooled off as pitchers began to find holes in his swing. Carl Crawford dealt with a hamstring injury while Drew was disabled and the Red Sox had an outfield of Darnell McDonald, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Josh Reddick. Not everything this year was bad for the Sox. Ellsbury was in the conversation for Most Valuable Player. He erupted for 30 homeruns, 105 RBI, 119 runs, and 30 steals.

Glory wasn’t meant to be for the 2011 Red Sox. There was talk of 100 wins, and how this is a special team and a World Series favorite and when the Red Sox came out of the gate slow, it became a quest to prove history wrong. Their 2-10 start to the season was the first warning sign. But they then went 81-42 to restore hope.

The Sox started the season in Texas and went down hard, allowing 27 runs on 34 hits, 21 for extra bases, in the first three games, and being swept by the Rangers.  The pitching staff allowed the Rangers to slug 11 home runs, but David Ortiz started quickly and knocked out two homers for the Sox.

The Sox (0-6) lost the next three in Cleveland with a team batting average of .181 and .159 with runners in scoring position.  Jon Lester threw seven shutout innings, only to see it go for nothing as reliever Daniel Bard (0-2) failed to hold the lead for the second time.  Bard had allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched thus far.

The Sox came home to open at Fenway on April 8thCarl Yastrzremski threw out the first pitch and the late former general manager, Lou Gorman was honored.  The Sox came back to beat the Yankees, 9-6, led by Dustin Pedroia.  On April 10th, Josh Beckett came through with an excellent two hit shutout performance, winning the series against New York.

The Tampa Bay Rays came to Fenway next and bombed Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2) who had reached a point that fans no longer had patience and booed him incessantly in a 16-5 loss.  The following day, Jon Lester  lost a close game in a pitchers duel with David Price.

The Sox (2-10), now the worst team in baseball, with the highest salary, next lost to the Blue Jays at Fenway.  Carl Crawford at $142 million was batting .137 for the year.  Adrian Gonzalez at $154 million was 2 for 17 in his last five games.  Clay Buchholz through three starts, had a 6.60 ERA, and reliever Bobby Jenks gave up four runs in the 8th inning in a 7-6 loss.  In the second game, however, Josh Beckett pitched his second beauty, and beat the Jays 4-1.  Lester then followed with an 8-1 performance, having allowed just four earned runs in his last three starts. Dice-K continued the strong pitching with a two-hitter in a 9-1 win on April 18th, as the Sox took three of four.

The Sox took off for the west coast with Jed Lowrie swinging the hot bat.  Lowrie was 17 for 28 (.607) in his last eight games, with five extra base hits and 11 RBI.  After splitting with the A's, the Sox then beat the Angels, 4-2, in extra innings.  Beckett pitched another quality game, allowing three hits and two walks, with a no-hitter going into the sixth inning.  Beckett (2-1) had a 1.93 ERA in four starts.  Lester followed with six shutout innings in a 4-3 win on April 22nd, Matsuzaka continued with a 5-0 shutout, and John Lackey finished the sweep with another shutout, 7-0.  The Sox had won eight of their last nine games and the starters were 7-1 with a 0.88 ERA.

The Sox came back east and lost two of three in Baltimore.  Jon Lester won the last game, giving him a 14-0 lifetime record against Baltimore.  The Sox offense was led by Adrian Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury, who each went 3 for 5 in that win.

Back at Fenway, the Sox concluded the month of April against Seattle.  The first game was lost, after the Sox had the lead.  It was Bobby Jenks who once again couldn't protect the lead.  In his last six appearances, Jenks had allowed eight earned runs and twelve hits.  Terry Francona played Darnell McDonald in place of the still slumping Carl Crawford (.160 BA).  The Sox lost two of the three games, but it was Crawford's grounder to center that scored Jed Lowrie in a 9th inning walk-off in the final game on May 1st.  Adrian Gonzalez hit safely in 15 of the last 16 games.  The Sox continued by taking 2 of 4 from the visiting Angels.  The Sox started May in 4th place, 4 games out, having gone 14-9 in the second half of April, after losing 8 of the first 10 games of the season.

Clay Buchholz (3-3) shutout the Twins with a two-hitter, 4-0, on May 7th, after the Sox lost the first game of their series with Minnesota.  The team next lost Marco Scutaro who went to the DL with a rib injury.  But the Sox took 3 of 4 from the Twins with Carl Crawford again supplying a clutch walk-off hit.  This time it was a double in the 11th inning to give the Sox a 2-1 win on May 9th.

In Toronto the Sox lost an extra innings game, in which Adrian Gonzalez hit two homers.  Jacoby Ellsbury (.300 BA) was 3 for 6, extending his hitting streak to 19 games. 

The second game of the series was also lost, but Gonzalez (.329 BA) homered again.  It was John Lackey's (8.01 ERA) third loss in a row, allowing nine runs on nine hits and five walks.  It was at this point that Lackey’s relationship with the Boston media exploded. His poor play and constant lack of holding himself accountable did not go over well with his “Everything in my life suck right now” press conference. His inability to handle the Boston media would become more of a story than his poor performance. He finished by going on the DL.

The Sox moved into New York to face off with the first place Yankees.  On May 13th with Clay Buchholz pitching, and Adrian Gonzalez knocking out another homer, the Sox won 5-4.  The second game was all Josh Beckett (1.75 ERA) who spun a shutout in a 6-0 win.  Gonzalez hit his 9th home run of the year, with his major league leading 34th RBI.  The sweep was completed with a 7-5 win behind Jon Lester, and homers by Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz.  The Sox returned home with a 20-20 record, getting to .500 for the first time.

On May 16th, Adrian Gonzalez (.327 BA) provided a wall ball double in the bottom of the 9th inning to push the Sox around the corner in a dramatic come from behind walk-off 8-7 win against the Orioles.  After the game, Dice-K Matsuzaka joined John Lackey on the DL with a sprained ligament in his right elbow, went on to have Tommy John surgery, and was replaced by Michael Bowden. 

On May 18th, Buchholz pitched a shutout against Detroit, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia provided the difference in a 1-0 pitcher's duel. Then it was Carl Crawford again delivering another clutch 9th inning walkoff hit, to give the Sox a great win from Justin Verlander on May 19th

The Chicago Cubs came to Fenway Park on May 20th, for the first time since 1918 and were blasted in the first game of the series, 15-5 behind Kevin Youkilis (3 for 5), Jacoby Ellsbury (3 for 6) and Adrian Gonzalez (4 for 6).  It was the Sox 10th win of their last 13 games, moving them to 1/2 game out of first place.  The Sox took 2 of 3 from the Cubbies with Gonzalez going 10 for 15 in the series.

In Cleveland, Josh Beckett (4-1) beat the Indians, 4-2 on May 24th, becoming the leader in American League ERA with a 1.69 after 10 starts. The next night Jon Lester won his 7th game in a row in a 14-2 game.  Carl Crawford led the Sox attack going 4 for 4, while Ellsbury reached first base five times.

The Sox continued their roll and moved on to Detroit gaining a share of first place by whipping the Tigers, 14-1.  Crawford again led the attack going 4 for 5 with two triples.  David Ortiz was 16 for 35 (.457) with an eight game hitting streak.  Since starting the season 2-10, the Sox were 26-12.  After beating the Tigers the next night the first place Red Sox had a one game advantage over the second place Yankees on May 27th.  But the Sox concluded the month with four consecutive losses, being swept by the White Sox and fell back into second place as June started.  J.D. Drew (.228 BA) hit .188 in May with only three extra base hits in 69 at-bats.

On June 3rd, Carl Crawford again supplied the drama in a come back win against the Oakland A's.  The following night, June 4th, the Sox won a dramatic 14 inning game with a walk-off hit by Drew, after Jonathan Papelbon had blown the game in the 9th inning.  The Sox sent the Athletics home after completing a three game sweep, as John Lackey came off the DL to win the last game.  Adrian Gonzalez hit safely in all six games of the homestand, going 11 for 26 with 3 home runs.

The Sox left town, went to Yankee Stadium and grabbed a share of first place by beating the Yankees on June 7th, and then grabbed first place alone behind Tim Wakefield and Jacoby Ellsbury the next night.  They finally left the Bronx with a two game lead by sweeping the series. 

In Toronto, the Sox made it nine in a row.  Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia each had three hits in the first game, while Adrian Gonzalez added two hits and two RBIs, giving him 57 RBIs in 63 games.  In the second game, a 16-4 drubbing, Pedroia had three hits and Marco Scutaro knocked out four. Ellsbury was 28 for 70 (.400 BA), with 11 RBIs.  The Sox finished by also sweeping the Jays in a 14-1 massacre behind the two hit pitching of Jon Lester (9-2).  David Ortiz (.325 BA) knocked out his 17th homer.  The Sox left Toronto with a 2 1/2 game lead in the A.L. East.

In Tampa, the Sox streak came to an end when they were shut out by James Shields.  But Josh Beckett came one batter away from a perfect game, limiting the Rays to just one hit on June 15th with a 3-0 shutout.  Beckett (1.86 ERA) earned himself the lowest ERA in the majors as a result.  The Sox took two of three in Tampa and 11 of 12 on the road trip.

With the Milwaukee Brewers in town, Carl Crawford and  Clay Buchholz made a trip to the DL.  The Sox took 2 of 3 giving them 13 wins in their last 16 games.  On June 20th, Adrian Gonzalez (3 hits) and the Sox erupted for 10 runs in the 7th inning to destroy Gonzalez's old team, the Padres.

In Pittsburgh, the Sox lost their claim to first place after losing four straight games. 2 of 3 lost in Pittsburgh and 2 of 3 in Philadelphia, put the Sox 2 1/2 games in second place as the month of June ended.  The Sox got back on track at the expense of the Houston Astros by sweeping the series, but were still 1 1/2 games back.  After being named to the All Star team, Josh Beckett pitched the Sox to a 2-1 victory in the final game. Dustin Pedroia extended a hitting streak to 17 games on the road trip, in which he batted .354 (23 for 65).

JACOBY ELLSBURY

Back at Fenway, John Lackey was booed by the fans after giving up seven runs by the third inning, to the Blue Jays on July 4th.  It was the fourth time in thirteen starts that Lackey had given up seven runs.  He had the highest ERA (7.47) in the American League.  Jacoby Ellsbury celebrated his All Star pick by getting four hits, one of which was his 500th. 

On July 6th, after batting only .149, Mike Cameron was sold to the Florida Marlins.  The Sox picked up $3 million of his $3.6 million contract.  Jon Lester, then joined Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the DL with a back strain. After batting .404 for the month of June, Adrian Gonzalez was named the player of the month in the American League. 

Behind the six home runs hit by Pedroia, Gonzalez, Ellsbury, Ortiz, Josh Reddick and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Andrew Miller (3-0) pitched the Sox back into first place with a 10-4 win on July 7th.  The Sox took four games from the Orioles and, at the All Star break, sat in first place with a 1 game lead. 

Along with Beckett and Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Gonzalez and David Ortiz were a part of the American League team. Robinson Cano edged out Adrian Gonzalez in the Home Run Derby, but Gonzalez smacked a homer in the All Star Game itself.

The Sox started the second half of the season by taking 2 of 3 down in Tampa to maintain a 1 1/2 game lead in the A.L. East.  The highlight of the series was a brilliant 16 inning 1-0 shutout on July 17th. Alfredo Aceves (5-1) picked up the win, as Josh Beckett worked eight innings, only giving up one hit.  The next night, in spite of playing in the marathon the night before, the Sox slugged their way to a 15-10 win in Baltimore.  Dustin Pedroia extended a hitting streak to 16 games, with 23 extra base hits and 28 RBIs in his last 32 games, hitting .379 in that span.

On July 20th, Jacoby Ellsbury (.315 BA, 15 HRs) hit two home runs against the Orioles.  Ellsbury helped Terry Francona notch his 1000th career win on July 23rd with a game winning single against Seattle.  It also provided Josh Beckett (9-3, 2.07 ERA) with his 9th win. The Sox went on the sweep the Mariners' series giving them a three game lead over the Yankees.  Tim Wakefield struck out his 2000th batter in the final game.

On July 25th, Jon Lester returned from the DL, pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed one run in a loss to the Royals.  J.D. Drew took his place on the DL and the Sox picked up Mike Aviles from the Royals.

Daniel Bard (1.81 ERA) continued to roll along, pitching his 25th consecutive scoreless inning in 24 games.  The Sox beat the Royals 2 of 4, winning the second game of the series on July 26th, scoring 13 runs and scoring12 runs on July 27th, including a grandslam homer from David Ortiz.  It gave Ortiz 1000 RBIs as a member of the Red Sox.

DANIEL BARD

Lester's (11-4) next start in Chicago was impressive, as he gave up two runs and struck out eight in a 10-2 win.  The Sox finished July 20-6, their best month since 2007, leading the Yankees by 2 1/2 games.  Theo Epstein also picked up Erik Bedard from the Mariners, as Clay Buchholz was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back.

Jacoby Ellsbury next had quite a couple of nights. His walk-off single led the Sox to a 9th inning win on August 2nd.  It was the first time he had ever had such a game winning hit. Then on the very next night, August 3rd, Ellsbury again slugged a walk-off homer to again snap a tie game in the bottom of the ninth.  The Sox split the series with the Indians, and as a result were tied with the Yankees for first place on the eve of their showdown at Fenway.

In the first game of the series on August 5th, the Yankees came from behind against Jon Lester to score three runs in the seventh inning and went on to win it 3-2.  The next night John Lackey won his 5th game in a row, beating C.C. Sabathia, 10-4.  It was Ellsbury once again supplying the offense with a home run and 6 RBIs.  Ellsbury was truly having the best year of his career, hitting .321 with 19 HRs, 72 RBI and 31 stolen bases.  The Sox took the series by winning the last game in the bottom of the 10th inning via a Josh Reddick walk-off base hit on August 7th.  The win put the Sox back in first place.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ortiz put the Sox ahead in the 9th inning and provided the winning margin on August 8th in Minnesota.  Alfredo Aceves (8-1) was the winner and became the first pitcher in major league history to win 22 of his first 24 decisions.  Ortiz again came thru on the next night with a go-ahead base hit, in the 7th inning, to give the Sox another win over the Twins.  The two wins gave the Sox a 2 1/2 game lead over the Yankees.

Ortiz continued to wield a hot bat in Seattle.  On August 12th he homered and drove in two runs to lead the Sox to another 6-4 come-from-behind win.  John Lackey (11-8) got the victory, going 6-0 in his last seven starts.  Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 27th save, giving him a career-best 22 in a row.  But the Sox lost 2 of 3 to the Mariners and found themselves tied for the  lead in the A.L. East, as they came home to meet Tampa Bay.  The Sox lost two of three with the Rays, putting the back in second place by 1/2 game, but with an 8 game lead in the wild card.

The Sox journeyed to Kansas City and grabbed the first game behind an excellent effort from Josh Beckett (10-5) on August 18th.  Dustin Pedroia (.309 BA) drove in three of the runs in a 4-3 win, but Kevin Youkilis was put on the DL with a sore back and David Ortiz was unavailable, fighting bursitis in his right heel.  The next night Adrian Gonzalez led the Sox to a 7-1 win with two doubles. Andrew Miller (5-1) pitched a great game, allowing just three hits. The Sox took 3 of 4 and headed to Texas, without picking up any ground on the Yankees.

The Rangers and C.J. Wilson shutout the Sox on August 22nd, but the Sox bounced back with a 11-5 thumping the next night.  It was Adrian Gonzalez again, with two homers, who sparked the Sox attack.  The third game was a 13-2 walk-over by the Red Sox with Carl Crawford driving in five runs and Jacoby Ellsbury slugging two homers.  The Sox made it 3 out of 4 with a 6-0 shutout by Andrew Miller on August 25th, and two more homers by Gonzalez (.348 BA, 23 HRs, 102 RBI).  The Sox left for Fenway with a one game lead over the Yankees.

KEEGAN BRADLEY

The Sox lost the first game with Oakland, getting hammered 15-5.  It was Tim Wakefield's fifth attempt to win his 200th game.  When Red Sox swept a doubleheader against the Oakland A's on Saturday, August 27th, with David Ortiz leading the offense with five hits.  But the sweep also signaled the beginning of the team's epic fall. The doubleheader was scheduled to avoid a potential rainout on August 28th, as Hurricane Irene made its way up the coast. But numerous players protested after playing 14 of 17 games on the road, and accused management of caring more about making money than winning.

As August turned in September, the Yankees came to Fenway for a showdown, but left in the same position when the series started.  The Sox had a 1/2 game lead in the A.L. East and a nine game lead in the wild card.

The Texas Rangers came to Fenway and embarrassed the Red Sox 10-0 on September 2nd, but the Sox made up for it the next day, with a runaway 12-7 win, highlighted by Carl Crawford's grandslam home run.  But in the series finale, on September 5th, the Rangers beat up John Lackey (6.11 ERA), who allowed six earned runs and eight hits in five innings in an 11-4 loss.  The Sox were now 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees, but had an eight game lead in the wild card race.

In Toronto, Josh Beckett left the first game of the series after suffering an ankle sprain.  The Sox went on to lose 1-0 in 11 innings, leaving ten runners on base.  Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz and Marco Scutaro supplied the offense and Jon Lester pitched a three hit shutout to win the next game, 14-0.  In the third game of the series, the Sox were six outs away from giving Tim Wakefield his elusive 200 wins, when the Jays erupted for five runs off Daniel Bard and demoralized  the Sox, 11-10.  The final game also went to the Jays and the team left 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees, but their lead in the wild card was still six games over Tampa Bay.

On September 9th, the Sox went into Tampa to face the Rays in a must win series.  They lost the first game, 7-2, with John Lackey only lasting three innings, giving up five runs.  The Rays next beat the Sox, 6-5, with an 11th inning walk-off against Daniel Bard.  The third game was a 9-1 massacre of Jon Lester, who gave up four runs in the first four innings.  The timing couldn't have been less appropriate. The Red Sox finished the trip by getting swept.  Their lead in the wild card race was suddenly cut to three games with sixteen games left.

The Sox came home after staggering through a dismal 1-6 road trip. Ownership started to wonder if the team's flagging play was fallout from the long schedule.  So they gave each player $300 headphones and invited them to a players-only party on owner John Henry's yacht when they returned home.

TIM WAKEFIELD

The bruised and battered Sox came alive against Toronto at Fenway Park.  On September 13th, behind Dustin Pedroia's two home runs, they pummeled the Jays, 18-6, giving Tim Wakefield his 200th career win after eight tries.  A hero on most occasions, Daniel Bard gave away the second game of the series, a game the Sox could ill afford to lose, surrendering three runs in the eighth inning as the Blue Jays rallied for a 5-4 victory. That was eight losses in 10 games for the Sox, who led the Rays by four games in the wild card race.

On September 15th, the Rays came to town in a playoff atmosphere and whittled the Sox wild card lead to three games after they pounded out nine hits, including three home runs, in a 9-2 romp.

Next, with Josh Beckett back on the mound for the first time since he sprained his right ankle, the Sox were given a reprieve from their September swoon as Beckett overcame a shaky start and delivered a dominant performance. Daniel Bard got back on the horse and struck out the side in the eighth. Mike Aviles tore a hole in the Sports Authority sign with a game-winning homer and the Red Sox stopped the bleeding with a 4-3 victory over the surging Rays.

The Rays came back and took the third game of the series, 4-3, because of mistakes made by the Sox, both physically and mentally.  The collapse continued with an 8-5 loss in the fourth and final game of the series. The Sox played an ugly game. Third baseman Mike Aviles made two throwing errors. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was charged with four passed balls trying to trap Tim Wakefield's knuckler. There were two wild pitches, a hit batter, and four walks.

That was nine losses in the last 11 games for the Sox, whose lead over the Rays shrunk to two games with 10 left to play. Over his last nine games, Adrian Gonzalez who was in the talk for MVP consideration, was hitting .142 (4 for 28). 

On September 20th, doubleheader split with the Orioles kept the Sox two games in front of the Rays. In the second game, the Sox pounded out 20 hits, including a grand slam by Conor Jackson, a three-run homer by Jed Lowrie, and an inside-the-park homer by Jacoby Ellsbury.  But discontent was becoming more evident as David Ortiz questioned Terry Francona's decision to pitch game one's loser, rookie Kyle Weiland over Alfredo Aceves.

The next night, with five outs left, a 3-and-2 Jonathan Papelbon pitch was shot to right field for a three-run double in the eighth inning, helping Baltimore overcome a 5-4 deficit and win the game 7 to 5.  Erik Bedard pitched only 2 2/3 innings and became the 14th Sox starter in the last 20 games to last five or fewer innings.

As the Sox played their last game at Fenway Park, the team was booed off the field by the remnants of a sellout crowd. For the second straight night, the Sox couldn't hold a late-inning lead, losing, 6-4, to the Orioles.  Josh Beckett could stem the slide. He took a 4-1 lead into the sixth inning and could not hold it, giving up one run in the sixth, two in the seventh, and two in the eighth. 

Sox starters were 3-9 with a 6.75 ERA in their last 18 games. Daniel Bard appeared in seven of the 18 games and gave up 11 runs over 7 1/3 innings.

The Sox were in first place at the beginning of September. Three weeks later, with a full week left in the regular season, they were eliminated from the top spot in the division. They concluded their last Fenway homestand, going 3-7 and left home, leading the Rays by 2 1/2 games in the wild card race.

The Sox stagger to ignominy continued in the Bronx on September 24th with a 9-1 loss against the Yankees, who knocked Jon Lester out of the game in the third inning, giving up eight runs on eight hits. The once reliable lefthander was 0-3 with a 10.54 ERA in his last three starts. 

Then on the day he became the first player in franchise history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run homer in the top of the 14th inning to give the Sox a 7-4 victory against the Yankees and a doubleheader split. The victory left the Sox with a one-game lead on Tampa Bay in the wild-card race with four to play.

On to Baltimore and for the second time in six days, Josh Beckett could not handle the last-place Orioles as the Sox were beaten, 6-3, at Camden Yards on September 26th. Beckett gave up six runs in six innings as the Sox fell into a tie with the Rays for the wild card at 89-71. 

The Sox and Rays both won their next games, but it all ended on September 28th, with the Rays in extra innings in Tampa. The Red Sox took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore and got to within one strike of forcing the Rays' to win or go home, only to blow the lead and the game over the course of Jonathan Papelbon's next four pitches. Just three minutes later, as the Red Sox entered the visitor's clubhouse in Camden Yards where the Rays' game was playing on the televisions, Evan Longoria hit just the second playoff-clinching walk-off homer in the final game of the regular season in baseball history. The first? Bobby Thomson's immortal "Shot Heard 'Round the World" in 1951.

The Red Sox went through the entire month of September without winning back-to-back games. Pitching and injuries are the easiest scapegoats for Boston's disastrous September. However, the Red Sox also did themselves no favors with their defense, committing an MLB-high 26 errors. Compare that to just 66 errors in their first 135 games.

Jon Lester, Carl Crawford, and John Lackey were the biggest underperformers for the Red Sox. Lester was supposed to be the ace of the Boston rotation and one of the best left-handers in the game. Instead, he failed to reach 200 innings for the first time in 3 years and his K/9 dropped below 9 after hovering around 10 for the past two years. Crawford was the second biggest signing for the Red Sox the previous winter, but became the second biggest flop of 2011. He hit far below all of his averages and played unusually poor defense.  Fans didn’t expect much more than an average year from Lackey, despite his cost, but he instead finished the year with an ERA of 6.41 and a 1.61 WHIP. He was expected to at worse, repeat last year, but he went on to have the worst year on and off the field of any player.

Beckett, Lester and Lackey were also apparently unmoved by the team's struggles down the stretch. The trio got into the habit of drinking beer, eating fast-food fried chicken and playing video games in the clubhouse during game.  They also joined other teammates in not working out as often, and the result was a combined 2-7 record with a 6.45 ERA in September.

Meanwhile, Kevin Youkilis became more detached as he tried to overcome his injuries. DH David Ortiz openly second-guessed Terry Francona's strategy.  First baseman Adrian Gonzalez displayed a lack of leadership skills and passion and complained in September about scheduling quirks. For all of his great numbers, the first baseman was A-Gone against the Rays (.131) and Yankees (.186).

General manager Theo Epstein gets his share of the blame pie for the inestimable millions spent on players who weren't on the roster and players he wished weren't there. Erik Bedard won one game since coming to the team late in July. And let's not start on Bobby Jenks, Mike Cameron, and the raft of shortstop busts.

Francona said he knew it was time to move on.  While it was clear he was dealing with a clubhouse filled with dysfunction, there were many external factors weighing on him, including marital problems and health issues. He disputed the notion that his managerial ability was compromised by his use of painkillers from knee surgery.

The 2011 Red Sox were the first team in baseball history to hold a nine-game lead in September, then fail to make the postseason. That made them worse than the ’64 Phillies or the ’78 Red Sox. The fact is that these Red Sox supposedly the “Best Team Ever,’’ the team Beckett said could win 100 games, wound up losing the whole 2011 season in September. These Sox simply had been too fat and too happy, too long.

 

 

 

GAME LOG
  RECORD PLACE GB/GF OPPONENT   SCORE  PITCHER W/L
04/01/2011 0-1 4th -1  at Texas Rangers L 9-5 Daniel Bard 0-1
04/02/2011 0-2 4th -2  at Texas Rangers L 12-5 John Lackey 0-1
04/03/2011 0-3 4th -3  at Texas Rangers L 5-1 Clay Buccholz 0-1
04/04/2011 0-3 4th -4  
04/05/2011 0-4 4th -4  at Cleveland Indians L 3-1 Josh Beckett 0-1
04/06/2011 0-5 4th -4  at Cleveland Indians L 8-4 Daisuke Matsuzaka 0-1
04/07/2011 0-6 4th -5  at Cleveland Indians L 1-0 Daniel Bard 0-2
04/08/2011 1-6 4th -4 1/2  New York Yankees W 9-6 John Lackey 1-1
04/09/2011 1-7 4th -5  New York Yankees L 9-4 Clay Buccholz 0-2
04/10/2011 2-7 4th -4  New York Yankees W 4-0 Josh Beckett 1-1
04/11/2011 2-8 4th -4 1/2  Tampa Bay Rays L 16-5 Daisuke Matsuzaka 0-2
04/12/2011 2-9 5th -5  Tampa Bay Rays L 3-2 Jon Lester 0-1
04/13/2011 2-9 5th -4 1/2  Tampa Bay Rays pp  
04/14/2011 2-9 5th -5  
04/15/2011 2-10 5th -5  Toronto Blue Jays L 7-6 Bobby Jenks 0-1
04/16/2011 3-10 5th -5  Toronto Blue Jays W 4-1 Josh Beckett 2-1
04/17/2011 4-10 5th -5  Toronto Blue Jays W 8-1 Jon Lester 1-1
04/18/2011 5-10 5th -4 1/2  Toronto Blue Jays W 9-1 Daisuke Matsuzaka 1-2
04/19/2011 5-11 5th -4 1/2  at Oakland Athletics L 5-0 John Lackey 1-2
04/20/2011 6-11 5th -4 1/2  at Oakland Athletics W 5-3 Clay Buccholz 1-2
04/21/2011 7-11 5th -4  at Los Angeles Angels W 4-2 Bobby Jenks 1-1
04/22/2011 8-11 5th -3 1/2  at Los Angeles Angels W 4-3 Jon Lester 2-1
04/23/2011 9-11 3rd -3 1/2  at Los Angeles Angels W 5-0 Daisuke Matsuzaka 2-2
04/24/2011 10-11 3rd -3 1/2  at Los Angeles Angels W 7-0 John Lackey 7-0
04/25/2011 10-11 3rd -3  
04/26/2011 10-12 4th -3  at Baltimore Orioles L 4-1 Clay Buccholz 1-3
04/27/2011 10-13 5th -4  at Baltimore Orioles L 5-4 Daniel Bard 0-3
04/28/2011 11-13 4th -4  at Baltimore Orioles W 6-2 Jon Lester 3-1
04/29/2011 11-14 5th -4  Seattle Mariners L 5-4 Bobby Jenks 1-2
04/30/2011 11-15 5th -5  Seattle Mariners L 2-0 John Lackey 2-3
05/01/2011 12-15 5th -5  Seattle Mariners W 3-2 Jonathan Papelbon 1-0
05/02/2011 13-15 4th -5  Los Angeles Angels W 9-5 Clay Buccholz 2-3
05/03/2011 14-15 3rd -4  Los Angeles Angels W 7-3 Jon Lester 4-1
05/04/2011 14-16 4th -4  Los Angeles Angels L 5-3 Daisuke Matsuzaka 2-3
05/05/2011 14-17 4th -4  Los Angeles Angels L 11-0 John Lackey 2-4
05/06/2011 14-18 5th -5  Minnesota Twins L 9-2 Tim Wakefield 0-1
05/07/2011 15-18 3rd -4  Minnesota Twins W 4-0 Clay Buccholz 3-3
05/08/2011 16-18 3rd -4  Minnesota Twins W 9-5 Daisuke Matsuzaka 3-3
05/09/2011 17-18 3rd -3 1/2  Minnesota Twins W 2-1 Hideki Okajima 1-0
05/10/2011 17-19 3rd -4 1/2  at Toronto Blue Jays L 7-6 Matt Albers 0-1
05/11/2011 17-20 3rd -4 1/2  at Toronto Blue Jays L 9-3 John Lackey 2-5
05/12/2011 17-20 4th -5  
05/13/2011 18-20 3rd -5  at New York Yankees W 5-4 Clay Buccholz 4-3
05/14/2011 19-20 3rd -4  at New York Yankees W 6-0 Josh Beckett 3-1
05/15/2011 20-20 3rd -3  at New York Yankees W 7-5 Jon Lester 5-1
05/16/2011 21-20 2nd -3  Baltimore Orioles W 8-7 Alfredo Aceves 1-0
05/17/2011 21-20 3rd -2 1/2  Baltimore Orioles pp  
05/18/2011 22-20 3rd -2 1/2  Detroit Tigers W 1-0 Daniel Bard 1-3
05/19/2011 23-20 3rd -1 1/2  Detroit Tigers W 4-3 Jonathan Papelbon 2-0
05/20/2011 24-20 2nd -1/2  Chicago Cubs W 15-5 Jon Lester 6-1
05/21/2011 24-21 3rd -1/2  Chicago Cubs L 9-3 Matt Albers 0-2
05/22/2011 25-21 3rd -1/2  Chicago Cubs W 5-1 Tim Wakefield 1-1
05/23/2011 25-22 3rd -1/2  at Cleveland Indians L 3-2 Daniel Bard 1-4
05/24/2011 26-22 2nd -1/2  at Cleveland Indians W 4-2 Josh Beckett 4-1
05/25/2011 27-22 2nd -1/2  at Cleveland Indians W 14-2 Jon Lester 7-1
05/26/2011 28-22 1st -  at Detroit Tigers W 14-1 Alfredo Aceves 2-0
05/27/2011 29-22 1st +1  at Detroit Tigers W 6-3 Tim Wakefield 2-1
05/28/2011 29-22 1st +1 1/2  at Detroit Tigers pp  
05/29/2011 30-22 1st +1 1/2  at Detroit Tigers W 4-3 Matt Albers 1-2
30-23 1st +1 L 3-0 Josh Beckett 4-2
05/30/2011 30-24 1st -  Chicago White Sox L 7-3 Jon Lester 7-2
05/31/2011 30-25 2nd -1  Chicago White Sox L 10-7 Alfredo Aceves 2-1
06/01/2011 30-26 2nd -2  Chicago White Sox L 7-4 Matt Albers 1-3
06/02/2011 30-26 2nd -2  
06/03/2011 31-26 2nd -1  Oakland Athletics W 8-6 Bobby Jenks 2-2
06/04/2011 32-26 2nd -1  Oakland Athletics W 9-8 Alfredo Aceves 3-1
06/05/2011 33-26 2nd -1  Oakland Athletics W 6-3 John Lackey 3-5
06/06/2011 33-26 2nd -1  
06/07/2011 34-26 1st -  at New York Yankees W 6-4 Jon Lester 8-2
06/08/2011 35-26 1st +1  at New York Yankees W 11-6 Tim Wakefield 3-1
06/09/2011 36-26 1st +2  at New York Yankees W 8-3 Josh Beckett 5-2
06/10/2011 37-26 1st +2  at Toronto Blue Jays W 5-1 Clay Buchholz 5-3
06/11/2011 38-26 1st +2  at Toronto Blue Jays W 16-4 John Lackey 4-5
06/12/2011 39-26 1st +2  at Toronto Blue Jays W 14-1 Jon Lester 9-2
06/13/2011 39-26 1st +2 1/2  
06/14/2011 39-27 1st +1 1/2  at Tampa Bay Rays L 4-0 Tim Wakefield 3-2
06/15/2011 40-27 1st +1 1/2  at Tampa Bay Rays W 3-0 Josh Beckett 6-2
06/16/2011 41-27 1st +1 1/2  at Tampa Bay Rays W 4-2 Clay Buchholz 6-3
06/17/2011 42-27 1st +2 1/2  Milwaukee Brewers W 10-4 John Lackey 5-5
06/18/2011 42-28 1st +1 1/2  Milkwaukee Bewers L 4-2 Jon Lester 9-3
06/19/2011 43-28 1st +1 1/2  Milwaukee Brewers W 12-3 Tim Wakefield 4-2
06/20/2011 44-28 1st +1 1/2  San Diego Padres W 14-5 Matt Albers 2-3
06/21/2011 44-29 1st +1  San Diego Padres L 5-4 Dan Wheeler 0-1
06/22/2011 44-30 1st +1/2  San Diego Padres L 5-1 John Lackey 5-6
06/23/2011 44-30 1st +1/2  
06/24/2011 44-31 1st +1/2  at Pittsburgh Pirates L 3-1 Jon Lester 9-4
06/25/2011 44-32 2nd -1/2  at Pittsburgh Pirates L 6-4 Tim Wakefield 4-3
06/26/2011 45-32 2nd -1/2  at Pittsburgh Pirates W 4-2 Andrew Miller 1-0
06/27/2011 45-32 2nd -1/2  
06/28/2011 45-33 2nd -1 1/2  at Philadelphia Phillies L 5-0 Josh Beckett 6-3
06/29/2011 45-34 2nd -2 1/2  at Philadelphia Phillies L 2-1 John Lackey 5-7
06/30/2011 46-34 2nd -2 1/2  at Philadelphia Phillies W 5-2 Jon Lester 10-4
07/01/2011 47-34 2nd -2 1/2  at Houston Astros W 7-5 Dan Wheeler 1-1
07/02/2011 48-34 2nd -2 1/2  at Houston Astros W 10-4 Andrew Miller 2-0
07/03/2011 49-34 2nd -1 1/2  at Houston Astros W 2-1 Josh Beckett 7-3
07/04/2011 49-35 2nd -1 1/2  Toronto Blue Jays L 9-7 John Lackey 5-8
07/05/2011 50-35 2nd -1 1/2  Toronto Blue Jays W 3-2 Matt Albers 3-3
07/06/2011 51-35 2nd - 1/2  Toronto Blue Jays W 6-4 Tim Wakefield 5-3
07/07/2011 52-35 1st + 1/2  Baltimore Orioles W 10-4 Andrew Miller 3-0
07/08/2011 53-35 1st + 1  Baltimore Orioles W 10-3 Josh Beckett 8-3
07/09/2011 54-35 1st + 1  Baltimore Orioles W 4-0 John Lackey 6-8
07/10/2011 55-35 1st + 1  Baltimore Orioles W 8-6 Alfredo Aceves 4-1
07/11/2011 All Star Game Break
07/12/2011
07/13/2011
07/14/2011
07/15/2011 55-36 1st -1 1/2  at Tampa Bay Rays L 9-6 Andrew Miller 3-1
07/16/2011 56-36 1st -1 1/2  at Tampa Bay Rays W 9-5 John Lackey 7-8
07/17/2011 57-36 1st -1 1/2  at Tampa Bay Rays W 1-0 Alfredo Aceves 5-1
07/18/2011 58-36 1st -1 1/2  at Baltimore Orioles W 15-10 Dan Wheeler 2-1
07/19/2011 58-37 1st -1 1/2  at Baltimore Orioles L 6-2 Kyle Weiland 0-1
07/20/2011 59-37 1st -1 1/2  at Baltimore Orioles W 4-0 Andrew Miller 4-1
07/21/2011 59-37 1st -2  
07/22/2011 60-37 1st +2  Seattle Mariners W 7-4 John Lackey 8-8
07/23/2011 61-37 1st +3  Seattle Mariners W 3-1 Josh Beckett 9-3
07/24/2011 62-37 1st +3  Seattle Mariners W 12-8 Tim Wakefield 6-3
07/25/2011 62-38 1st +2  Kansas City Royals L 3-1 Randy Williams 0-1
07/26/2011 63-38 1st +2  Kansas City Royals W 13-9 Alfredo Aceves 6-1
07/27/2011 64-38 1st +3  Kansas City Royals W 12-5 John Lackey 9-8
07/28/2011 64-39 1st +2 1/2  Kansas City Royals L 4-3 Josh Beckett 9-4
07/29/2011 64-40 1st +2 1/2  at Chicago White Sox L 3-1 Tim Wakefield 6-4
07/30/2011 65-40 1st +2  at Chicago White Sox W 10-2 Jon Lester 11-4
07/31/2011 66-40 1st +2  at Chicago White Sox W 5-3 Alfredo Aceves 7-1
08/01/2011 66-41 1st +1  Cleveland Indians L 9-6 Daniel Bard 1-5
08/02/2011 67-41 1st +1  Cleveland Indians W 3-2 Jonathan Papelbon 3-0
08/03/2011 68-41 1st +1  Cleveland Indians W 4-3 Jonathan Papelbon 4-0
08/04/2011 68-42 1st -  Cleveland Indians L 7-3 Franklin Morales 0-2
08/05/2011 68-43 2nd -1  New York Yankees L 3-2 Jon Lester 11-5
08/06/2011 69-43 1st -  New York Yankees W 10-4 John Lackey 10-8
08/07/2011 70-43 1st +1  New York Yankees W 3-2 Daniel Bard 2-5
08/08/2011 71-43 1st +1 1/2  at Minnesota Twins W 8-6 Alfredo Aceves 8-1
08/09/2011 72-43 1st +2 1/2  at Minnesota Twins W 4-3 Matt Albers 4-3
08/10/2011 72-44 1st +1 1/2  at Minnesota Twins L 5-2 Jon Lester 11-6
08/11/2011 72-44 1st +1  
08/12/2011 73-44 1st +2  at Seattle Mariners W 6-4 John Lackey 11-8
08/13/2011 73-45 1st +1  at Seattle Mariners L 5-4 Josh Beckett 9-5
08/14/2011 73-46 1st +1/2  at Seattle Mariners L 5-3 Tim Wakefield 6-5
08/15/2011 73-46 1st -  
08/16/2011 74-46 1st -  Tampa Bay Rays W 3-1 Jon Lester 12-6
74-47 2nd -1/2 L 6-2 Erik Bedard 4-8
08/17/2011 74-48 2nd -1/2  Tampa Bay Rays L 4-0 John Lackey 11-9
08/18/2011 75-48 2nd -1/2  at Kansas City Royals W 4-3 Josh Beckett 10-5
08/19/2011 76-48 2nd -1/2  at Kansas City Royals W 7-1 Andrew Miller 5-1
08/20/2011 76-49 2nd -1/2  at Kansas City Royals L 9-4 Matt Albers 4-4
08/21/2011 77-49 2nd -1/2  at Kansas City Royals W 6-1 Jon Lester 13-6
08/22/2011 77-50 2nd -1  at Texas Rangers L 4-0 Erik Bedard 4-9
08/23/2011 78-50 1st -  at Texas Rangers W 11-5 John Lackey 12-9
08/24/2011 79-50 1st +1  at Texas Rangers W 13-2 Josh Beckett 11-5
08/25/2011 80-50 1st +1  at Texas Rangers W 4-0 Andrew Miller 6-1
08/26/2011 80-51 1st +1  Oakland Athletics L 15-5 Tim Wakefield 6-6
08/27/2011 81-51 1st +1 1/2  Oakland Athletics W 9-3 Jon Lester 14-6
82-51 1st +2 W 4-0 Alfredo Aceves 9-1
08/28/2011 82-51 1st +2  Oakland Athletics pp  
08/29/2011 82-51 1st +1 1/2  
08/30/2011 82-51 1st +1/2  New York Yankees L 5-2 John Lackey 12-10
08/31/2011 83-52 1st +1 /2  New York Yankees W 9-5 Josh Beckett 12-5
09/01/2011 83-53 1st +1/2  New York Yankees L 4-2 Alfredo Aceves 4-2
09/02/2011 83-54 2nd -1/2  Texas Rangers L 10-0 Andrew Miller 6-2
09/03/2011 84-54 2nd -1/2  Texas Rangers W 12-7 Erik Bedard 5-9
09/04/2011 84-55 2nd -1 1/2  Texas Rangers L 11-4 John Lackey 12-11
09/05/2011 84-56 2nd -2 1/2  at Toronto Blue Jays L 1-0 Dan Wheeler 2-2
09/06/2011 85-56 2nd -2 1/2  at Toronto Blue Jays W 14-0 Jon Lester 15-6
09/07/2011 85-57 2nd -2 1/2  at Toronto Blue Jays L 11-10 Daniel Bard 2-6
09/08/2011 85-58 2nd -2 1/2  at Toronto Blue Jays L 7-4 Andrew Miller 6-3
09/09/2011 85-59 2nd -2 1/2  at Tampa Bay Rays L 7-2 John Lackey 12-12
09/10/2011 85-60 2nd -2 1/2  at Tampa Bay Rays L 6-5 Daniel Bard 2-7
09/11/2011 85-61 2nd -3 1/2  at Tampa Bay Rays L 9-1 Jon Lester 15-7
09/12/2011 85-61 2nd -4  
09/13/2011 86-61 2nd -4  Toronto Blue Jays W 18-6 Tim Wakefield 7-6
09/14/2011 86-62 2nd -4  Toronto Blue Jays L 5-4 Daniel Bard 2-7
09/15/2011 86-63 2nd -4 1/2  Tampa Bay Rays L 9-2 Kyle Weiland 0-2
09/16/2011 87-63 2nd -3 1/2  Tampa Bay Rays W 4-3 Josh Beckett 13-5
09/17/2011 87-64 2nd -4 1/2  Tampa Bay Rays L 4-3 Jon Lester 15-8
09/18/2011 87-65 2nd -4 1/2  Tampa Bay Rays L 8-5 Tim Wakefield 7-7
09/19/2011 87-66 2nd -5 1/2  Baltimore Orioles L 6-5 Kyle Weiland 0-3
88-66 2nd -5 W 18-9 Scott Atchison 1-0
09/20/2011 88-67 2nd -6  Baltimore Orioles L 7-5 Daniel Bard 2-9
09/21/2011 88-68 2nd -7 1/2  Baltimore Orioles L 6-4 Josh Beckett 13-6
09/22/2011 88-68 2nd -7  
09/23/2011 88-68 2nd -7  at New York Yankees pp  
09/24/2011 88-69 2nd -8  at New York Yankees L 9-1 Jon Lester 15-9
09/25/2011 88-70 2nd -9  at New York Yankees L 6-2 Tim Wakefield 7-8
89-70 2nd -8 W 7-4 Franklin Morales 1-2
09/26/2011 89-71 2nd -8  at Baltimore Orioles L 6-3 Josh Beckett 13-7
09/27/2011 90-71 2nd -7  at Baltimore Orioles W 8-7 Alfredo Aceves 10-2
09/28/2011 90-72 3rd -7  at Baltimore Orioles L 4-3 Jonathan Papelbon 4-1
 
2011 RED SOX BATTING & PITCHING
 
 

 

 

FINAL 2011 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

New York Yankees 97 65 -

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays 91 71 6

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 90 72 7

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 81 81 16

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 69 93 28

 

 

 
2010 RED SOX
2012 RED SOX
   


"2011 SEPTEMBER COLLAPSE"

 

 

 


"THE FINAL DAY OF THE SEASON"