The 2021 Red Sox were projected by most analysts and projection systems to finish below .500 and a distant fourth in the AL East behind the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays in that order. Although the Sox were expected to be better than last season, when they were 24-36 and finished with the fourth worst record in the league, no one expected them to make the American League Champion Series and have a real shot at contending for a World Series title. General manager Chaim Bloom brought in under heralded players such as Hunter Renfroe, Kike Hernandez, and Garrett Whitlock among many others who came up huge throughout different points in the season. The most influential and unexpected reason for the Red Sox run was the amazing return of Eduardo Rodriguez from covid related issues last season, and even though Chris Sale was not amazing when he came back in late August, he provided a stabilizing force for the rotation.
Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta and Tanner Houck all were solid which allowed the Sox to have the starting pitching advantage in most games, even if none of the starters were a star. The bullpen performed a little better than expected which allowed them to hold most leads at the end of games, which because of the elite offensive production from the middle of the lineup allowed the Red Sox to win 92 games and secure the home wild card spot. They played an extremely intense wild card game against the Yankees in which Eovaldi outdueled likely AL Cy Young runner-up Gerrit Cole.
In the ALDS the Red Sox came out swinging the bats on fire with 14 runs in game two. Kike Hernandez was on fire on the series going nine for twenty and hitting two very important homeruns in crucial situations. In games four and five the Red Sox walked it off in dramatic fashion to send themselves to the ALCS where they met their eventual demise in six games against the Houston Astros. Even with the eventual sad defeat, the Red Sox outperformed expectations and the season was fun while it lasted.
The offseason will bring some unexpected twists but the Red Sox’s future is looking good and they will head into 2022 with the expectation of making the playoffs.