Is the Third Time the Charm?

As we all are being reminded again and again, the last two times the Red Sox won the World Series, they were facing ALCS deficits at least as bad as the one they face now.

But there’s more than one way to fall behind, 3-1 (or 3-0). Here, then, is a look at what the Sox managed to do in digging their hole each of these years:


  • 2004 (through first three games): .280/.313/.467 — 10-7 L, 3-1 L, 19-8 L
  • 2007: (through first four games): .270/.346/.445 — 10-3 W, 13-6 L, 4-2 L, 7-3 L
  • 2008: (through first three games): .232/.323/.415 — 2-0 W, 9-8 L, 9-1 L, 13-4 L


  • 2004: 8.35 ERA, 2.28 WHIP, .364 BAA, 1.14 K/BB
  • 2007: 6.75 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, .270 BAA, 3.00 K/BB
  • 2008: 7.17 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, .276 BAA, 2.12 K/BB

Safe to say that the Sox not only were in a worse hole in 2004 in terms of games (3-0 vs. 3-1), their pitching was much, much worse in getting there. They gave up 29 runs in two games, thanks to Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield. And Schilling looked done for the season by this point. The 2007 Sox had pitched about as effectively to this point as the 2008 Sox. So there’s some hope there.

On offense, the Sox are taking a ton of walks, but they’re hitting the ball with much less authority than in either of the previous two seasons. The cause can be directly attributed to David Ortiz’s hellacious slump. He makes the lineup go.

In short, last year’s rally shouldn’t have been entirely unexpected. The pitchers had struggled a bit, but not as badly as a 6.75 ERA would suggest, and the offense had been performing well enough. This year, the Sox will need to exponentially improve both their pitching and hitting to win this series — on a level equivalent to the 2004 transformation between Games 3 and 4. Can the Sox do that twice in five years? I guess we’ll see.

6 comments… add one
  • By the third time being the charm, do you mean for Sox opponents? From a Boston perspective, 2004 and 2007 were pretty charmed.

    FenSheaParkway October 15, 2008, 4:57 pm
  • Great stuff, Paul.

    YF October 15, 2008, 5:15 pm
  • i’ve brought up both of those comebacks as relevant to the discussion and why sox fans shouldn’t give up, despite the odds against their team…in fact, i think i lectured about learning from history…however, i also pointed out, and will do so again here, that ’04, ’07, and this year, featured different sox teams [with a certain core still in tact], but one notable exception [no manny], and 3 very different opponents…their opponent this year may be the hottest team [at this point in time], and maybe the best…a team on the rise…doesn’t mean it’s over for the sox, but they have a different set of variables this time around…

    dc October 15, 2008, 9:37 pm
  • I’d say Pedroia is at least as important as Papi at getting runs across.

    Kazz October 16, 2008, 4:57 am
  • If Ellsbury starts hitting like Damon started hitting in 2004, then the offense can be equally transformed.
    My real concern is the pitching – ankle sutures are not going to fix Beckett, and the Rays apparently figured out something about Lester that the Angels didn’t. I don’t think it’s hopeless, but…

    Jackie (SF) October 16, 2008, 4:09 pm
  • Err, the 2004 Yanks were pretty hot too, until Game 4..

    Lar October 16, 2008, 6:32 pm

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