Archive for October, 2009

Sox Farm Director Hazen Interviews With Padres

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

WEEI.com has confirmed that Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen interviewed with the San Diego Padres for the position of Assistant General Manager. News of the interview was first reported by the ‘Inside the Padres’ blog.

Former assistant general manager Jed Hoyer, who worked with Hazen after he came to the Red Sox from the Indians and assumed the job of director of player development in 2006, was named San Diego’s GM Monday. The Padres fired vice president of scouting and player development Grady Fuson earlier this week.

Hazen, a native of Abington, Mass., spent two years playing in the Padres minor-league system.

Ken Rosenthal on D&H 10/29

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal made a guest appearance on the D&H Show on Thursday afternoon to talk about Game 1 of the World Series, a 6-1 Phillies win over the Yankees, and his prediction for how Pedro Martinez will fare in tonight’s Game 2 match-up.

Click here to listen to the full audio and read below for some highlights.

That was quite a performance by Cliff Lee last night, wasn’t it?

That was one of the great performances that I’ve ever seen in person and how he carved up the Yankees, how they had no chance, how he came to be — as [Fox broadcasters] Tim McCarver and Joe Buck said — performing as if he was getting his work in for Spring Training. The whole package was just frankly unreal.

How did you see the series playing out before Game 1? What your take? What was your prediction?

I picked the Yankees in 6. And, obviously, now you look at it and if they lose tonight they are in trouble. I have a hard time believing that Pedro is going to hold them down the way that Lee held them down. And I will say this, that the difference tonight is Charlie Manuel can go to the bullpen whenever he wants to. If Pedro is stinking it up — and I’m not saying he will — but if that scenario takes place, you got J. A. Happ, you got Joe Blanton, you have a group of relievers who haven’t pitched in eight days. So, they can practically turn this into a bullpen game and I will not be surprised if they do if they need to.

I don’t agree with Manuel pitching Pedro in Game 2…having said that, the drama for tonight is off the charts.

Well, I don’t think Manuel is thinking about that but I’m with you. I can’t recall the last time exactly when I was this excited to go to the ballpark. And it’s not just because of Pedro, although he is a huge part of that, it is because the Yankees lost Game 1 and they’re in a situation tonight where they definitely need to win and the Phillies are not like the Angels, they’re not like the Twins, they’re not like any other team really. They can stand up to the Yankees and it’s going to be really great theater tonight and very interesting to watch.

What’s your take on [Pedro] saying he’s the most influential player to perform in Yankee Stadium?

I think what he meant, and I don’t want to put any words in his mouth, is that he influenced the most emotion. Certainly he has influenced quite a bit of emotion. I don’t know that even Pedro would say he is a more influential person than Babe Ruth or any of the other Yankee greats. But, that press conference yesterday was absolutely fascinating. I know people in Boston are well aware of this; Pedro is not just one if the greatest pitchers in history, but one of the most intelligent players I’ve come across, one of the most well-spoken, and that thing yesterday was just a tour de force. And he had some points he wanted to make, and he got them out there about the New York media, about the confrontation with [Don] Zimmer. There are very, very, very few players I can count on one hand who can have that kind of press conference and speak so eloquently on a number of issues whether you agree with him or not.

Where would you put him [on the all-time great pitchers]?

He’s right there at the top. And we’re talking right now about Pedro in his prime in this discussion that we are having. In that aspect, yeah, I don’t know anybody better. Certainly [Roger] Clemens had his moments, Randy Johnson had his moments, there are a whole host of pitchers, [John] Smoltz. You can go right down the line. Roy Halladay for that matter. In terms of electricity, sheer stuff, and the ability to win, he dominated.  Pedro was the guy. I remember one year, I can’t recall which season it was exactly, it might have been 1999, but it was an MVP-type year. I remember writing a column, “Hey, he should be the MVP,” because not only does he impact the one game he pitches, but he impacts the other four because he saves the bullpen and he has this mystique about him. He was and to some degree he still is a transcendent figure. People have their opinions about him and that’s fine. He’s certainly angered people over the years, but he was absolutely brilliant in his prime. There aren’t many pitchers who I would get as excited about seeing.

I have more questions about the other starting pitcher tonight. A.J. Burnett has more to prove than Pedro does.

That’s fair and even if the atmosphere will be charged tonight, and it will be charged, he is going to be that much more tested because he is an emotional guy, he does get pumped up and carried away at times and he really actually has pitched very well in the postseason. You could even make the case in the last start he should have been out of the game before he was. Yeah, I see what you are saying, but my question is how is Pedro’s stuff going to match-up against the Yankees? Not only an American League line-up, but the DH, the highest scoring team in the majors, a team that generally abuses guys with that kind of stuff.  He has to know how, if his breaking ball is good, that will be an advantage. The other thing that we don’t know is how tight are the Yankees going to be? If they are tight and if they are stretching a little bit at the plate, then it plays right into Pedro’s hands.

Are the Phillies built like an American League team?

They’re not quite that, but they’re pretty darn good. [Pedro] Feliz and [Carlos] Ruiz are not great offensive players at their position. Ruiz, the catcher, has certainly had a good postseason, done a lot of really good things, a lot of big hits. When [Jimmy] Rollins and [Shane] Victorino are going, and they haven’t always been going this season — especially Rollins, they’re very dynamic. One of the huge differences already in this series is Rollins and Victorino vs. [Chone] Figgins and whoever batted second for the Angels in that series, mostly [Bobby] Abreu. That was a huge thing that the Yankees shut down the Angels’ 1-2 guys and they didn’t do that last night.

Is Charlie Manuel an old school guy?

That is totally accurate. What is inaccurate is the perception of him because of the way he speaks, because he is from North Carolina not West Virginia, is that he is dumb. Anyone who knows him or been around him for any length of time knows he isn’t dumb. He might not speak as polished as some people and whatever, but it bothers me when he went to Philadelphia for the first time [after] they hired him and the people of Philadelphia were all over [him] because of his accent. As if that city or any city for that matter was full of Nobel Prize winners walking the streets. Hey, he is a regular guy who has overcome a lot physically, being in Japan, all kinds of things happened to this guy and the proof is on that field every day. Look at that team, look how they played for him. And, yeah, they’re talented, no question about it, but there are other talented teams that don’t play as well as the Phillies do.

What are the offensive problems going on right now with guys like Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher? What’s going on with them?

I’m not sure with Teixeira. Swisher in the previous series was rushing a bit and just not himself. Teixeira actually in the final two games had kind of come around a little bit. Remember, he had the big bases-clearing triple and a couple of hits in the Game 6 as well. I’m not convinced his problems last night was totally Cliff Lee. Last night, Cliff Lee held Teixeira and A-Rod 0-for-8 with 5 K’s. That’s impressive and I want to see more tonight before I make any judgments.

Any predictions tonight for Pedro?

I think more like 4 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs. I love Pedro and I was warned last night by a member of the Phillies offense not to bet against this guy and we all know why. He’s brilliant out there and has got the heart of a lion, but I just think the Yankees are going to get him.

Were you buying [Manuel's] explanation for pitching Pedro tonight in Yankee Stadium.

Very simple. Pedro is pitching better than Cole Hamels, so you want Pedro on the mound instead of Cole Hamels. Also, and it hasn’t been talked about that much, Cole Hamels has been very inconsistent all season, you know that. He has been better at home: 3.75 at home ERA, 4.99 on the road. That means something to me and the idea of splitting the left-handers, there is some merit in that because you don’t give the switch-hitters a chance to get comfortable. They’re going left, right, left obviously pacing left, right, left. At the same time, if Pedro goes  2 2/3 tonight, we are going to see J. Happ and it’s going to switch all the switch-hitters around anyway. So, I understood it, it’s a bit of a questionable move , but Cole Hamels has really been an iffy guy all season long, especially in the postseason.

Who wins the managing match-up in you eyes, Manuel or Girardi?

I don’t know. They’re both guys that will leave themselves open for a lot of second guessing and this series will probably end up a second-guesser’s delight. They’re opposites. Charlie goes by his instincts, Joe Girardi goes by information from scouts, from numbers, and yet they still do things that make people scratch their heads and that’s the beauty of baseball.

What did you think of Girardi’s moves out of the bullpen last night?

Well, he has a problem. His problem is that he has so many young relievers that he can’t really put much trust in any of them. None of them are performing that well. So, I didn’t mind [Phil] Hughes starting off the inning. In fact, I said in the broadcast that Hughes is more comfortable in the wind-up or at least didn’t rush that much. I thought maybe that would help him, but obviously that didn’t make a difference. The [Damaso] Marte move was the right move, I didn’t mind David Robertson coming in. You could have had [Phil] Coke pitch to [Raul] Ibanez. It was one of those games where they weren’t beating Cliff Lee no matter what and the disturbing thing is that his relievers are simply not performing.

Red Sox Retain Rights to Indy Leaguer Rodriguez

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

According to a major-league source, the MLB Commissioner’s Office has ruled that the Red Sox still possess the rights to Reynaldo Rodriguez, a first baseman whom they acquired from the Yuma Scorpions of the independent Golden Baseball League earlier this month.

There had been some confusion as to whether Rodriguez remained Red Sox property after a report that the Royals had acquired him. The Royals had indeed filed a transaction stating that they had reached an agreement with the 22-year-old, who is currently playing in the Colombian Winter League, though it had not been approved by MLB.

After reviewing the case, however, the Commissioner’s Office found that the Sox had gone through the proper channels in purchasing Rodriguez’ rights from the Golden Baseball League. Because the GBL had already picked up the 2010 option on Rodriguez’ deal after he hit .335/.380/.486 for the Scorpions, a team could only acquire his rights by purchasing his contract from the League, as the Sox did. Moreover, the player informed the club that he had not come to an agreement with the Royals.

The Sox will follow Rodriguez this winter in Colombia, and then let him compete for a spot on one of their minor-league affiliates in spring training. For a scouting report on the former Yankees minor leaguer, click here.

Jason Bay Chat Wrap

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Jason Bay stopped by the Virtual Press Box to take questions as part of WEEI.com’s weekly baseball chat series. The transcript of the chat — in which Bay discussed life playing for the Red Sox and in Fenway Park, his career path, teammates such as Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jonathan Papelbon, and some aspects of his impending free agency — is below:

How is it playing in left field with the Green Monster?

Jason Bay: Playing left field in Boston is great for a few reasons. The history of the wall and all the players who have played there in past years make it really special. I think that the monster is a little intimidating at first, but after getting used to it, I really like the nooks and crannies and the effect that it has on the other team and players who aren’t used to it.

Hey Jason…did you find that Fenway helped your offensive production in comparison to playing in a park like PNC?

Jason Bay: It’s definitely a whole different comparison when you’re talking about PNC Park and Fenway. The monster is very close and left center field in Pittsburgh was roughly 400 feet, so I would say that the Green Monster didn’t hurt my offensive numbers. That being said, I think more than the ballpark dimensions, the team I had around me in the lineup probably had a greater effect. When you have a former MVP, a guy who steals 70 bases and numerous high on-base percentage guys hitting in front of you, it makes it easier.

Jason if you could attribute one reason to the unfortunate early playoff exit for the Sox what would that be?

Jason Bay: I can’t give you one reason. It was a combination. It was no secret we didn’t hit very well. Now do you attribute that to good pitching or poor hitting? I say it was a combination of the two.

Hey Jason, what’s the most important factor for choosing which team you will sign with?

Jason Bay: There isn’t one important factor. The funny thing is that everybody has an opinion of what I’m waiting or or what I’m doing and I don’t even have an opinion, and that’s the truth

Phillies or Yankees and why?

Jason Bay: It’s funny, after playing baseball all year I don’t really pull for one team or another. I just enjoy watching it.

What is it like playing for Tito, and of all the teammates and coaches you have played with, who in particular has really helped you elevate your ability?

Jason Bay: Really, really enjoyed the atmosphere that he created. Boston is one of those places there is a lot of media and he does a very good job of not letting that affect his decision and let everybody does their job. I really enjoyed Brad Mills also, and wish him the best. He has great people skills like Tito, and like it or not that’s what a manager needs.

Who do you think will win the Stanley Cup?

Jason Bay: The Vancouver Canucks for the hometown call

How do the Pittsburgh fans compare to Boston fans

Jason Bay: Pittsburgh and Boston are very similar in their passion for sports. Obviously the Red Sox have had more success lately than the Pirates, but if you ever had a chance to go to a Steelers or Penguins game you would understand the two cities have a lot similarities

Hey Jason, I was just wondering what your favorite moment as a Red Sox has been so far?

Jason Bay: Scoring the winning run in the clinching game of the ALDS against Anaheim on Jed’s base hit

How many HRs do you think the Monster took away from you this year?

Jason Bay: I would say a couple but at the same time I probably got more than a few doubles that would have been fly outs anyplace else, so I can’t complain

The right field fence at the New Yankee Stadium is really only 270 feet from home, right? I mean even Pedroia knocked one over that thing.

Jason Bay: I don’t think it matters how far the fence is. I think it’s the same thing as Fenway. Both teams have the same amount of opportunities. It’s kind of like the weather. It’s really a wash. As for Pedroia, it seems like once a week he’s claiming that if a certain pitcher gets him out one more time he’s going to quit

Jason, ever gotten tips from Jim Rice on patrolling LF in Fenway?

Jason Bay: Jim is always in the clubhouse and around the guys and has numerous times offered bits of info. He always makes sure to mention the history of the guys that played there before me … hah, hah

Are you spending the offseason with a heavy training regimen…or relaxing at home and enjoying the offseason?

Jason Bay: As of right now relaxing but this Monday the offseason program begins again. I go to an athletic training institute and do a lot of running, jumping, stretching … not your conventional bench press and biceps curls.

All things equal, would you rather play on the west coast? We always hear you are a “west coast guy.” How much will that play into your decision this offseason?

Jason Bay: The window for my career doesn’t last forever so limiting myself to one geographical spot really has no bearing on my decision

There was a recent article about Youkilis, that he has a negative relationship in the clubhouse. How do you feel about him as a teammate?

Jason Bay: I definitely don’t feel the same way. Youk is obviously a great baseball player and a great teammate, on the field and off. I think his intensity sometimes gives people a skewed reality of the type of person he is, but I would take him on my team every single time

When would you like to get a contract signed seeing we’re on the topic?

Jason Bay: Ideally, I would like to know where I would like to be sooner rather than later, but understand there is a process to this as well

Hi Jason, Congrats on the new citizenship. Is sister Lauren still pitching the softball?

Jason Bay: Thanks for the pat on the back for the new citizenship. But for all you Canadians who religiously go to WEEI.com, I am still a Canadian citizen. My sister is happily retired, married and enjoying motherhood

Jason, where do you stand on the “existence” of clutch hitters? Most stat-geeks (like me) will scream from the mountaintops that they don’t exist. I think they do in that some hitters are able to mentally adjust better than others to the pressure situation at hand (most of the time). What are your thoughts?

Jason Bay: I definitely think that certain guys have the ability to rise up in certain occasions, but it’s very hard to quantify that with a statistic. I think you understand and get a better feel for that just by watching certain players perform. Obviously you aren’t going to get a hit or strike somebody out in every big situation. But if a guy is statistically superior in the statistical “clutch situations,” is he more “clutch” than a guy who doesn’t do much all regular season and wins a handful of playoff games?

Jason, When John Kruk said you have “dank” hands at the plate, was he giving you a compliment or was her being coy?

Jason Bay: Your guess is as good as mine

Were you shocked and disappointed that Papelbon did not win the Nobel Prize (again!)? I know I’m still dealing with the let down…

Jason Bay: Say what you want about Pap, you always know where you stand with him and there is no gray area. Sometimes people don’t like to hear it but he’s not hiding anything and you have to respect that

Given your background — 22nd round pick, traded a bunch in the minors, etc. — could you have ever imagined being in this free-agent position? Do you think back at all about that career path?

Jason Bay: Obviously I didn’t take the most direct path to the big leagues but I think it has an effect on the type of player and person that I am today. It has always helped me keep things in perspective and therefore this whole free agent position I’m in, I’m trying to treat like any other year and whatever happens, happens.

Seattle and SF have massive left fields to play. Just sayin’.

Jason Bay: I played in Pittsburgh for five years

Jason Bay: This was the first time I’ve done an online chat and I really enjoyed the questions and the genuine interest from everybody. We’ll see many of you next year????

Chapman comes to Boston

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman is in Boston to meet with the Red Sox. The 21-year-old lefty pitcher is being courted by numerous major league teams after defecting during a tournament in the Netherlands in July.

Chapman, whose fastball has been clocked as high as 102 mph, is considered to be one of the top pitchers in the world who is not currently pitching in the Major Leagues. Chapman has already met with the Yankees and the Mets, and figure to be scheduling meetings with the Cardinals and Mariners (among others) shortly. While Chapman’s upside is considered greater than one of his countrymen, Jose Contreras, who defected in 2002 before signing with the Yankees, the southpaw isn’t considered as major-league ready as Contreras.

Francona on D&H, 10/28

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Red Sox manager Terry Francona appeared on the Dale & Holley show yesterday and talked about losing bench coach and longtime friend Brad Mills to the Astros. He also touched on the World Series and the Phillies‘ keys to keeping the Yankees in check.

The transcript follows. To hear the interview, check out the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

What are you going to do without your best friend. He is your best friend, isn’t he?

He’s one of my best friends I’ve ever had in the whole world. I’ve known him since 1977 ‘€” that’s  college, professional, we’ve been through a lot together. And there’s a reason we stayed that close. You go through this game and if you don’t think alike on a lot of things, you’re friendship ends up taking a pounding for it. We’ve endured a lot of things together. He’s one of my true special friends in the whole world.

I think sometimes fans don’t understand what bench coach means. They know what a pitching coach is, they know what a hitting coach is. And I don’t think fans have a real grasp of how important Brad Mills was to what you guys were doing there.

Yeah, and every organization is probably a little bit different. nd again now that Millsy is gone, maybe the bench coach here may have a little bit different assignments or responsibilities. The one thing with Millsy is we knew each other so well that I knew if I left the room or I got called away to do something, especially in spring training, whatever was supposed to get done got done. Millsy had a lot of responsibility here, and he earned that. And it was great. It was good for him, it was tremendous for me. But again, you can’t just have that happen overnight.

(more…)

Chat With Red Sox Outfielder Jason Bay

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay will drop by the Virtual Press Box on Thursday, Oct. 29, at noon to take questions in the third installment of WEEI.com’€™s Thursday baseball chat series.

In 2009 — his first full season as a member of the Red Sox after coming to Boston at the 2008 trade deadline — Bay hit .267 with a .384 on-base percentage and .567 slugging mark, finishing third in the American League with 36 homers, second with 119 RBIs, and led all A.L. outfielders with a .921 OPS. His performance earned Bay his third career All-Star nod.

Bay was acquired by the Red Sox from the Pirates in 2008 in the three-way trade that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers. He is one of eight players to hit at least 30 homers, drive in at least 100 runs and score at least 100 runs in a season in which he was traded. The 2004 National League Rookie of the Year has been one of the most consistent power hitters in the game since breaking into the majors. He ranks 15th in baseball with 181 homers since the 2004 season, and is one of 12 players in the majors with at least 20 homers in each of the last six years.

PREVIOUS CHATS

Oct. 22 — Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan

Oct. 15 — Red Sox director of amateur scouting Jason McLeod

Chat with Red Sox Outfielder Jason Bay

Former Sox Kapler Re-Signs With Rays

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Former Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler confirmed via text message that he has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2010 season. The news was first reported by Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, who reported the amount of the deal at $1.05 million. Kapler hit .239 with a .329 OBP and .439 slugging mark for the Rays in 2009. He spent parts of four seasons in Boston between 2003-06, then spent the 2007 season managing for the Sox’ Single A Greenville minor-league affiliate before resuming his playing career.

Report: Astros Hire Mills

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

According to MLB.com, the Houston Astros have hired Brad Mills to be their new manager. Mills has been the Red Sox bench coach since the arrival of manager Terry Francona in 2004.

This is the first big-league managing job for the 52-year-old, who has a dozen years of experience managing in the minors in the Cubs, Dodgers and Rockies organizations. Mills worked previously with Houston G.M. Ed Wade when the two were in Philadelphia from 1997-2000, Mills as the first-base coach under then-Phillies manager Francona, and Wade as the Philadelphia general manager.

Mills and Francona, meanwhile, have spent nearly 20 years together, first as players, and more recently on coaching staffs. The two were teammates at the University of Arizona (where they were roommates) and again on the Montreal Expos before working together for a total of 10 seasons in Philadelphia and Boston.

Mills had been one of 10 candidates for the Astros job, which became available when Houston skipper Cecil Cooper was fired in September. Mills inherits a team that finished 74-88, in fifth place in the N.L. Central in 2009.

2004: Where Are They Now?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Five years ago today, the Red Sox did the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the borderline criminally insane. After coming back from a 3-0 hole to beat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, they completed a sweep the Cardinals to win their first World Series since 1918.

It was the most memorable fall in the history of New England sports. It created terms that need no explanation — The Steal, Bloody Sock, A-Rod Slap, Big Papi Walkoff …

There were 25 players on the roster for the clinching game in St. Louis. Some of them never played baseball again after that fateful day, some are still kicking around the majors. Four are still with the Sox and now own two World Series rings. So, let’s take a look at where the heroes of 2004 are now and remember what they did for New England five years ago.

To jump to individual players, use the following links:

STARTERS:

Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield, Derek Lowe, Bronson Arroyo

LINEUP:

David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon, Jason Varitek, Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Orlando Cabrera, Mark Bellhorn

BULLPEN:

Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, Mike Myers, Alan Embree, Curtis Leskanic, Ramiro Mendoza

BENCH:

Dave Roberts, Doug Mientkiewicz, Gabe Kapler, Doug Mirabelli, Pokey Reese

THE ROTATION

Curt Schilling

Current Occupation: Contributor to WEEI.com with his 38Pitches blog; founder, 38 Studios

2004 Stats: 32 games, 21 wins, 6 losses, 226.2 innings, 3.26 ERA, 203 strikeouts, 35 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: No. 1 starter

LDS -

1 game, 1 win, 6.2 innings, 2.70 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks

LCS ‘€“ 

2 games, 1 win, 1 loss, 10 innings, 6.30 ERA, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks

WS ‘€“

1 games, 1 win, 6 innings, 0.00 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-07

Performance After 2004: 87 games, 32 wins, 23 losses, 448.1 innings, 4.30 ERA, 371 strikeouts, 73 walks

The Memories ‘€“

Bloody Sock Game in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees goes down as one of the most memorable performances in the history of the Red Sox.

The Line ‘€“

Where do we start with Schilling? He joined the team at WEEI.com in 2008 with the 38Pitches blog and has been a constant source of information, opinion and amusement since. He is an avid online gamer and started 38Studios, a video game design company (that is currently hiring, by the way). Active with his wife Shonda in fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) with the organization Curt’s Pitch for ALS.

Pedro Martinez

Current Occupation: Starting pitcher, Phillies

2004 Stats: 33 games, 16 wins, 9 losses, 217 innings, 3.90 ERA, 227 strikeouts, 61 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: No. 1a starter

LDS ‘€“

1 game, 1 win, 7 innings, 3.86 innings, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks

LCS ‘€“

3 games, 1 loss, 13 innings, 6.23 ERA, 14 strikeouts, 9 walks

WS ‘€“

1 game, 1 win, 7 innings, 0.00 ERA, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks

Subsequent Teams: Mets 2005-08, Phillies 2009-present

Performance After 2004: 88 Games, 37 wins, 24 losses, 531.1 innings, 3.86 ERA, 501 strikeouts, 145 walks

The Memories ‘€“

Seven scoreless innings in Game 3 of the World Series, though really, the ones you really remember are from 2003. That’s when Martinez plunked Yankees outfielder Karim Garcia, setting off a brawl that ended with Martinez “pushing” the elderly Don Zimmer to the ground. That would probably be your second memory, with the first being the fact that 2003 manager Grady Little may, or may not have, left Martinez in ALCS Game 7 a little too long against the Yankees.

The Line ‘€“

“They beat me. They’re that good right now. They’re that hot. I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy.” The Phillies hope that is not true right now. “I’m starting to hate talking about the Yankees. The questions are so stupid. They’re wasting my time. It’s getting kind of old. … I don’t believe in damn curses. Wake up the damn Bambino and have me face him. Maybe I’ll drill him in the ass, pardon me the word.”

Tim Wakefield

Current Occupation: Starting pitcher, Red Sox (option pending)

2004 Stats: 32 games, 12 wins, 10 losses, 188.1 innings, 4.87 ERA, 116 strikeouts, 63 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Spot starter, long reliever

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 1 win, 7.1 innings, 8.59 ERA, 6 strikeouts, 3 walks

WS ‘€”

1 game, 3.2 innings, 12.27 ERA, 2 strikeouts, 5 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-present

Performance After 2004: 138 games, 61 wins, 51 losses, 865 innings, 4.42 ERA, 540 strikeouts, 293 walks

The Memories ‘€“

The man who ate the innings and took it on the chin when the Sox needed him. Saved the bullpen in Game 3 of the ALCS with 3.1 innings of relief (5 earned runs) and was the starter in Game 1 of the World Series, going 3.2 innings and giving up five earned runs on a windy night (note, tailwind is not good for a knuckleball) at Fenway. The Sox won that game, 11-9.

The Line ‘€“

One of the biggest bargains in baseball with a perpetual $4 million dollar team option. Climbing the list of all-time Red Sox pitching stats in just about every category, good and bad. Just underwent successful surgery and hopes to remain with the Sox until his durable right arm falls off or the rest of his body fails him.

Derek Lowe

Current Occupation: Starting pitcher, Braves

2004 Stats: 33 games, 14 wins, 12 losses, 182.2 innings, 5.42 ERA, 105 strikeouts, 71 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Middle-of-the-rotation starter, spot reliever

LDS ‘€”

1 game, 1 win, 1 inning, 0.00 ERA, 1 walk

LCS ‘€”

2 games, 1 win, 11.1 innings, 3.16 ERA, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk

WS ‘€”

1 game, 1 win, 7 innings, 0.00 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk

Subsequent Teams: Dodgers 2005-08, Braves 2009-present

Performance After 2004: 169 games, 69 wins, 58 losses, 1045 innings, 3.79 ERA, 674 strikeouts, 277 walks

The Memories ‘€“

Lowe was the finisher. In all three series-clinching games he was the winning pitcher. He pitched one inning against the Angels in the ALDS (Ortiz walk-off home run), he started Game 7 against the Yankees in the ALCS in the Bronx, and he started Game 4 of the World Series in St. Louis. No other pitcher has earned the victory for every deciding game of a World Series winner in the wild card era.

The Line ‘€“

The sinkerball specialists and his hard-charging ways have been tempered since he left Boston. He remains reliable as an innings-eater who will win about 55 percent of the time. Signed a 4-year, $60 million contract with the Braves last offseason.

Bronson Arroyo

Current Occupation: Starting pitcher, Reds

2004 Stats: 32 games, 10 wins, 9 losses, 178.2 innings, 4.03 ERA, 142 strikeouts, 47 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Long reliever, spot starter

LDS ‘€”

1 game, 6 innings, 3.00 ERA, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 4.0 innings, 15.75 ERA, 3 strikeouts, 2 walks

WS ‘€”

2 games, 2.2 innings, 6.75 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Reds 2006-present

Performance After 2004: 171 games, 67 wins, 60 losses, 1,077 innings, 730 strikeouts, 314 walks

The Memories ‘€“ Led the league in 2004 in hit batters, though there is really only one that Red Sox fans care about. Started Game 3 of the ALDS, a game Lowe ended up finishing. Induced Alex Rodriguez into one of the most embarrassing scenes of his career in Game 6 of the ALCS when Rodriguez slapped the ball out of Arroyo’€™s glove when he tagged him out late in the game.

The Line ‘€“

Still a contributor to the Hot Stove, Cool Music jam sessions at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Released an album in 2005 called Covering the Bases. Led the National League in games started in 2006 and 2008.

The Lineup

David Ortiz

Current Occupation: Designated hitter, Red Sox

2004 Stats: 150 games, 582 plate appearances, .301 average, .380 on-base percentage, .603 slugging, 41 home runs, 139 RBI, 133 strikeouts, 75 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Cleanup hitter, designated hitter aka “Mr. Clutch”

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 16 plate appearances, .545 average, .688 OBP, 1.000 slugging, home run, 4 RBI, 2 strikeouts, 5 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 35 plate appearances, .387 average, .457 OBP, .742 slugging, 3 home runs, 11 RBI, 7 strikeouts, 4 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 17 plate appearances, .308 average, .471 OBP, .615 slugging, 1 home run, 4 RBI, 1 strikeout, 4 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-present

Performance After 2004: 718 games, 3184 plate appearances, .286 average, .393 OBP, .570 slugging, 187 home runs, 590 RBI, 552 strikeouts, 476 walks

The Memories ‘€”

“I am a bad man!” The Legend of Big Papi began in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 3 of the ALDS when Ortiz hit a two-run walk-off bomb of Jarrod Washburn to complete the sweep of the Angels. The legend grew in the bottom of the 12th in Game 4 of the ALCS when Ortiz kept the Sox alive when he took Paul Quantrill deep for a another two-run, walk-off home run. Less than 24 hours later he brought the Sox back within one run of the Yankees by taking Tom Gordon deep in the top of the eighth inning before ending Game 5 in the 14th with a bloop single to score Johnny Damon. It was one of the most chaotic and memorable performances in Red Sox history.

The Line ‘€”

New England high school graduating classes of 2023 will probably have an inordinate of people named David. Ortiz led the league in RBI in 2005 and 2006. He also set the single-season Sox home run record with 54 in 2006. His skills have been diminishing of late (with allegations of steroid use this past year), but Big Papi will forever remain a New England hero.

Manny Ramirez

Current Occupation: Left fielder, Dodgers

2004 Stats: 152 games, 663 plate appearances, .308 average, .397 OBP, .613 slugging, 43 home runs, 130 RBI, 124 strikeouts, 82 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Three-hole hitter, left fielder

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 16 plate appearances, .385 average, .375 OBP, .769 slugging, home run, 7 RBI, 4 strikeouts, walk

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 35 plate appearances, .300 average, .400 OBP, .333 slugging, 4 strikeouts, 5 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 20 plate appearances, .412 average, .500 OBP, .588 slugging, home run, 4 RBI, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-08, Dodgers 2008-present

Performance After 2004: 672 games, 2862 plate appearances, .307 average, .412 OBP, .571 slugging, 156 home runs, 518 RBI, 518 strikeouts, 409 walks

The Memories ‘€”

One of the oddest statistical postseasons for a player named Most Valuable Player of the World Series. Had a phenomenal series against the Angels, though he managed the strange feat of having his on-base percentage actually be lower than his batting average (sacrifice flies being the culprit). Then he went 0-for-the-entire-ALCS in terms of driving in runners, odd for a man who led the American League with 43 home runs in 2004 (Ramirez had one double and eight singles against the Yankees). He regained his form in the World Series to take the MVP award while hitting a home run of Jeff Suppan in the first inning of Game 3.

The Line ‘€”

Oh Manny, Our Manny, our fearful trip is done. The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won. A belated thank you to Walt Whitman, though Boston fans won the prize they sought, twice actually, with Ramirez sporting red socks. Then Manny went searching for his own prize and found it to the tune of $45 million from the Dodgers after he ran himself out of Boston at the trading deadline last year.

Johnny Damon

Current Occupation: Left fielder, Yankees

2004 Stats: 150 games, 702 plate appearances, .304 average, .380 OBP, .477 slugging, 20 home runs, 94 RBI, 71 strikeouts, 76 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Leadoff hitter, left fielder, co-captain of the Idiots

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 16 plate appearances, .467 average, .500 OBP, .533 slugging, 2 strikeouts, walk

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 37 plate appearances, .171 average, .216 OBP, .343, 2 home runs, 7 RBI, 8 strikeouts, 2 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 21 plate appearances, .286 average, .286 OBP, .619 slugging, home run, 2 RBI, strikeout

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Yankees 2006-present

Performance After 2004: 724 games, 3212 plate appearances, .292 average, .363 OBP, .454 slugging, 87 home runs, 371 RBI, 413 strikeouts, 321 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Good ALDS, bad ALCS … until the final game. Everybody knew that going into Game 7 against the Yankees that anything could happen. Anything turned out to be Damon. The center fielder broke the Bronx Bombers’ backs (and their hearts) with a grand slam in the second inning to make the score 6-0 Sox, then added another two-run shot in the fourth to really ice the champagne.

The Line ‘€”

Speaking of champagne, or, whiskey more appropriately, it is rumored that Damon and a couple other players would take whiskey shots before games to stay loose. Has a penchant for being naked in the clubhouse, once prompting Terry Francona to say, “I have never seen a man go from naked to uniform that fast.” Wrote “Idiot: Breaking The Curse and Enjoying The Game of Life” with Peter Golenbock about the 2004 championship season before jumping ship and signing with the Yankees for four years and $52 million in 2006.

Trot Nixon

Current Occupation: Free agent

2004 Stats: 48 games, 167 plate appearances, .315 average, .377 OBP, .510 slugging, 6 home runs, 23 RBI, 24 strikeouts, 15 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Right fielder, six hole hitter.

LDS ‘€”

2 games, 10 plate appearances, .250 average, .400 OBP, .250 slugging, 2 RBI, strikeout, 2 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 29 plate appearances, .207 average, .207 OBP, .345 slugging, home run, 3 RBI, 5 strikeouts

WS ‘€”

4 games, 15 plate appearances, .357 average, .400 OBP, .571 slugging, 3 RBI, strikeout, walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-06, Indians 2007, Diamondbacks 2008 (AAA), Mets 2008; released by Brewers on March 25, 2009, after signing a minor league contract

Performance After 2004: 348 games, 1318 plate appearances, .263 batting average, .357 OBP, .393 slugging, 25 home runs, 151 RBI, 183 strikeouts, 163 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Hit a two-out, two-run double in Game 4 of the World Series that put the Sox up for good. Also hit a home run in Game 3 of the ALCS off Kevin Brown to at least give the Sox a semblance of dignity in the 19-8 whipping the Yankees handed the Sox that day.

The Line ‘€”

Sox fans will always remember Nixon with a dirty jersey, a timely bat and a guy who had a penchant for hitting grand slams. A stalwart in right field, his time was just about up when the Sox released him after the 2006 season. Bounced around with the Indians and Mets before being cut by Milwaukee in spring training this year. He has been out of baseball since then and recently went to Iraq to visit troops.

Jason Varitek

Current Occupation: Catcher and captain, Red Sox

2004 Stats: 137 games, 463 plate appearances, .296 average, .390 OBP, .482 slugging, 18 home runs, 73 RBI, 126 strikeouts, 63 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Catcher, club leader, seven-hole hitter

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 15 plate appearances, .167 average, .333 OBP, .417 slugging, home run, 2 RBI, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 31 plate appearances, .321 average, .355 OBP, .571 slugging, 2 home runs, 7 RBI, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 15 plate appearances, .154 average, .267 OBP, .308 slugging, 2 RBI, 4 strikeouts, walk.

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-present

Performance After 2004: 607 games, 2381 plate appearances, .243 average, .339 OBP, .415 slugging, 778 home runs, 287 RBI, 538 strikeouts, 285 walks

The Memories ‘€” July 24, 2004 ‘€”

The Day That Changed Red Sox History. It was a career year for Varitek and he was the heart of the team that socked the Yankees in the face in the middle of July and then again in October. The captain did his work against the Yankees with two home runs in a good offensive series.

The Line ‘€”

In 2004 Varitek became the only player to ever play in the Little League World Series, the College World Series and MLB World Series. Parlayed his good 2004 into a four year, $40 million deal.

Bill Mueller

Current Occupation: Special assistant to Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.

2004 Stats: 110 games, 460 plate appearances, .283 average, .365 OBP, .446 slugging, 12 home runs, 57 RBI, 56 strikeouts, 51 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Third baseman, nine-hole hitter

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 13 plate appearances, .333 average, .385 OBP, .333 slugging, strikeout, walk

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 33 plate appearances, .267 average, .333 OBP, .300 slugging, RBI, strikeout, walk

WS ‘€”

4 games, 18 plate appearances, .429 average, .556 OBP, .571 slugging, 2 RBI, 4 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Dodgers 2006

Performance After 2004: 182 games, 716 plate appearances, .288 average, .367 OBP, .425 slugging, 13 home runs, 77 RBI, 83 strikeouts, 76 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Game 4 tying single off Mariano Rivera will go down as the singular moment when the Sox turned the series around. Mueller, one of the most professional hitters in baseball at the time, was one of the few people with the composure and grit needed to get a clutch hit off the “Hammer of God.” Also had great numbers against the Cardinals in the World Series. When Mueller was hot at the bottom of the lineup, the Sox were tough to beat.

The Line ‘€”

Mueller’s knees gave out after the 2005 season and he went to the Dodgers to play a few games before taking over hitting coach duties. He has jumped upstairs and serves with Colletti in the front office now. No word on Joe Torre’s feeling about having one of the biggest 2004 postseason heroes haunting him in the hallways.

Kevin Millar

Current Occupation: First baseman/DH, Blue Jays

2004 Stats: 150 games, 588 plate appearances, .297 average, .383 OBP, .474 slugging, 18 home runs, 74 RBI, 91 strikeouts, 57 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Offensive first basemen, five-hole hitter, co-captain of the Idiots

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 11 plate appearances, .300 average, .364 OBP, .600 slugging, home run, 4 RBI, strikeout, walk

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 29 plate appearances, .250 average, .379 OBP, .375 slugging, 2 RBI, 4 strikeouts, 5 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 11 plate appearances, .125 average, .364 OBP, .250 slugging, 2 strikeouts, 2 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Orioles 2006-08, Blue Jays 2009

Performance After 2004: 629 games, 2477 plate appearances, .253 average, .348 OBP, .406 slugging, 68 home runs, 278 RBI, 384 strikeouts, 291 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Drew the walk from Rivera that eventually became the game-tying score in Game 4 of the ALCS. From “Cowboy Up” in 2003 to the “Idiots” of 2004, Millar was the man who kept the Sox loose. Credited for his ability to placate Manny Ramirez and helping turn the Sox from “25 players, 25 cabs” to the tight unit that claimed the 2004 World Series.

The Line ‘€”

Millar was headed to Japan before the Sox scooped him up in 2003 in a little bit of a fishy transaction (the Marlins sold him but Millar blocked the waiver). Is one of the few players not in the Major League Baseball Players Association because he was a replacement player during the strike of 1994-95. Though his power would probably play better in say, the National League West, Millar has refused to leave the American League East after his time with the Sox by signing with the Orioles and Blue Jays. Famous quote before Game 4 against the Yankees: “Don’t let us win this game. … This is a big game. They’ve got to win, because if we win we’ve got Pedro coming back tomorrow and then Schilling will pitch Game 6 and then you can take that fraud stuff and put it to bed. Don’t let the Sox win this game.” The Sox won the game, of course, and the rest is history.

Orlando Cabrera

Current Occupation: Shortstop, Twins

2004 Stats: (With Red Sox) 58 games, 248 plate appearances, .294 average, .320 OBP, .465 slugging, 6 home runs, 31 RBI, 23 strikeouts, 11 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Short stop, eight-hole hitter

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 15 plate appearances, .154 average, .367 OBP, .231 slugging, 3 RBI, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 33 plate appearances, .379 average, .424 OBP, .448 slugging, 5 RBI, 5 strikeouts, 3 walks

WS: 4 games, 21 plate appearances, .235 average, .381 OBP, .294 slugging, 3 RBI, strikeout, 3 walks

Subsequent Teams: Angels 2005-07, White Sox 2008, Athletics 2009, Twins 2009

Performance After 2004: 770 games, 3401 plate appearances, .282 average, .329 OBP, .385 slugging, 42 home runs, 349 RBI, 314 strikeouts, 225 walks

The Memories ‘€”

So long, Nomar! Cabrera was one of the key cogs in the trade deadline deals that sent long-time fan favorite Nomar Garciaparra out New England. Cabrera became a steadying influence and productive hitter from the shortstop spot and performed well in the ALCS.

The Line ‘€”

Is it any wonder that the Twins picked up Cabrera in the second half of 2009 then went on a miraculous run to beat out the Tigers for the American League Central crown? Well, yeah, probably a little bit, but the Sox went 42-19 in the 60 games after they acquired Cabrera. In his first game back in Boston, with the Angels in 2005, Cabrera received a 30-second standing ovation. Ironically, earlier in 2009, Cabrera and Garciaparra manned the left side of the Athletics infield, with Garciaparra at third and Cabrera at short.

Mark Bellhorn

Current Occupation: Infielder, Colorado Sky Sox (Rockies AAA affiliate)

2004 Stats: 138 games, 620 plate appearances, .264 average, .373 OBP, .444 slugging, 17 home runs, 82 RBI, 177 strikeouts, 88 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Second baseman, two-hole hitter (Bellhorn and Mueller were switched in the batting order a couple of times in the playoffs)

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 16 plate appearances, .091 average, .375 OBP, .091 slugging, 4 strikeouts, 5 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 31 plate appearances, .192 average, .323 OBP, .500 slugging, 2 home runs, 4 RBI, 11 strikeouts, 5 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 16 plate appearances, .300 average, .563 OBP, .700 slugging, 1 home run, 4 RBI, 2 strikeouts, 5 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Yankees 2005, Padres 2006, Reds 2007

Performance After 2004: 222 games, 661 plate appearances, .198 average, .306 OBP, .344 slugging, 16 home runs, 58 RBI, 207 strikeouts, 88 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Bellhorn hit the fourth-inning, three-run home run in Game 6 against the Yankees that gave the Sox a lead they would not relinquish. It was a funny ball on a cold night in the Bronx that cleared the fence but hit a woman in the stands and bounced back into the field. There was some confusion if it was actually a home run, but the umpires conferred and got the call right. Bellhorn also hit a home run (no doubt this time) in Game 7. Also, 15 walks in 14 games in the playoffs is remarkable by itself.

The Line – “Who died and made you Mark Bellhorn?” Though he never hit again in his career, Bellhorn will be remembered fondly by the denizens of New England for his postseason drama. Kind of reminds you of Nick Green a little bit, right?

THE BULLPEN

Keith Foulke

Current Occupation: Pitcher, Newark Bears of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

2004 Stats: 72 games, 5 wins, 3 losses, 32 saves, 83 innings, 2.17 ERA, 79 strikeouts, 15 walks

2004 Postseason Role/ Stats: The closer

LDS ‘€”

2 games, save, 3 innings, 0.00 ERA, 5 strikeouts, walk

LCS ‘€”

5 games, 6 innings, 0.00 ERA, 6 strikeouts, 6 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 1 win, 1 save, 5 innings, 1.80 ERA, 8 strikeouts, walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2006, Athletics 2008

Performance After 2004: 118 games, 8 wins, 9 losses, 16 saves, 126.1 innings, 4.84 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 38 walks

The Memories ‘€”

There are desktop wallpapers, screen savers and posters all through New England of Varitek jumping into Foulke’s arms after the final out of the 2004 World Series. Foulke threw the pitch that became the out that made so many people cry and allowed old-time Sox fans go to their graves happy.

The Line ‘€”

Do not let the “Jonny from Burger King” comment be the thing you remember about Foulke. He was straight dominant in the 2004 playoffs, often times going multiple innings and still not allowing any runs. Why is he playing for the Newark Bears?

Mike Timlin

Current Occupation: Free agent

2004 Stats: 76 games, 5 wins, 4 losses, save, 76.1 innings, 4.13 ERA, 56 strikeouts, 19 walks

2004  Postseason Role/Stats: Setup man

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 3 innings, 9.00 ERA, 5 strikeouts, walk

LCS ‘€”

5 games, 5.2 innings, 4.76 ERA, 2 strikeouts, 5 walks

WS ‘€”

3 games, 3 innings, 6.00 ERA, walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-08

Performance After 2004: 246 games, 19 wins, 14 losses, 249 innings, 3.72 ERA, 152 strikeouts, 70 walks

The Memories ‘€”

A lot of good memories with Timlin, though his pitching in the 2004 postseason was a little erratic. Timlin was always just one of those guys who looked really mean on the mound, even if he gave you a heart attack with that consistent 93 mph straight fastball. Timlin could dominate at times. Sometimes he got dominated.

The Line ‘€”

Timlin is one of the only non-Yankees players in history to be a member of four World Series winners (1992-93 with the Blue Jays, 2004 and ’07 with the Red Sox). Timlin signed a minor league contract with the Rockies on July 29 this season and was released on Aug. 15.

Mike Myers

Current Occupation: Special assistant to outgoing MLBPA head Donald Fehr

2004 Stats: (With Red Sox) 25 games, 1 win, 15 innings, 4.2o ERA, 9 strikeouts, 1 walk

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Lefty specialist

LDS ‘€”

2 games, 0.1 inning, 27.00 ERA, strikeout, walk

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 2.1 innings, 7.71 ERA, 4 strikeouts, walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Yankees 2006-07, White Sox 2007

Performance After 2004: 199 games, 8 wins, 3 losses, 122.1 innings, 3.90 ERA, 70 strikeouts, 46 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Ah, the old submariner. Did not pitch particularly well in the 2004 postseason and did not pitch in the World Series.

The Line ‘€”

It was always interesting to watch Myers and Chad Bradford (right submariner) warm up next to each other in the outfield in 2005. Retired from baseball in 2007.

Alan Embree

Current Occupation: Reliever, Rockies

2004 stats: 71 games, 2 wins, 2 losses, 52.1 innings, 4.13 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 11 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Setup, lefty specialist

LDS ‘€”

2 games, 1 inning, 0.00 ERA, walk

LCS ‘€”

6 games, 4.2 innings, 3.86 ERA, 2 strikeouts, walk

WS ‘€”

3 games, 1.2 innings, 0.00 ERA, 4 strikeouts

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Yankees 2005, Padres 2006, Athletics 2007-08, Rockies 2009

Performance After 2004: 314 games, 11 wins, 17 losses, 18 saves, 258.2 innings, 4.98 ERA, 211 strikeouts, 90 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Embree played the left-handed complement to Timlin and pitched reasonably well as a specialist in the 2004 playoffs. Was a go-to guy for Francona against the Yankees in tough spots during the ALCS with six appearances and recorded the final out in Game 7.

The Line ‘€”

Embree is the classic journeyman left-handed reliever, having played for 10 teams in 16 seasons. Broke his tibia when he was hit by the bat of Atlanta’s Martin Prado on July 11 this year and missed the rest of the season.

Curtis Leskanic

Current Occupation: Red Sox scout

2004 Stats: (With the Sox) 32 games, 3 wins, 2 losses, 27.2 innings, 3.58 ERA, 22 strikeouts, 16 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Emergency reliever

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 1 win,  2.2 innings, 10.12 ERA, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks

Subsequent Teams: None

Performance After 2004: None.

The Memories ‘€”

Curtis “The Panic” Leskanic actually was the winning pitcher in the historic Game 4 against the Yankees as he pitched 1.1 innings and allowed one hit to Jorge Posada to lead off the top of the 12th. Apparently, that was enough panicking because Leskanic never pitched in the big leagues again.

The Line ‘€”

Leskanic hung up the cleats after 2004 and eventually joined the Sox scouting department. After the Sox won the World Series, Leskanic mimicked the snow angel celebration that Lonie Paxton did after the Patriots famous “Snow Bowl” victory over the Raiders en route to the 2002 Super Bowl. Hit Yankees right fielder Gary Sheffield with a pitch in 2004 but did not have to face Sheffield’s temper because Leskanic’s brother had installed a pool at Sheffield’s house.

Ramiro Mendoza

Current Occupation: Pitcher, Newark Bears of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

2004 Stats: 27 games, 2 wins, 1 loss, 30.2 innings, 3.52 ERA, 13 strikeouts, 7 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Emergency reliever

LCS ‘€”

2 games, 1 loss, 2 innings, 4.50 ERA, strikeout

Subsequent Teams: Yankees 2005

Performance After 2004: 1 game, 1 innings, 18.00 ERA, strikeout

The Memories ‘€”

Face it, most of the memories of Mendoza actually came AGAINST the Red Sox, not for them. He spent his entire career except for 2003-04 with the Yankees and was an effective setup man for Rivera for awhile. Was the official losing pitcher (somebody had to be) in the disaster that was Game 3 in the ALCS.

The Line ‘€”

Mendoza joined Foulke in Newark with the Bears this year. Oddly enough, Scott Williamson also is on that team. Mendoza must not have liked the fact that he was on the Red Sox team when they finally won the World Series because he pitched exactly one inning for the Yankees in 2005 before leaving the big leagues for good. He did sign a minor league contract with the Yankees after 2005 and had a tryout with the Brewers this year but failed his physical. Pitched for Panama in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

The Bench

Dave Roberts

Current Occupation: NESN Red Sox analyst

2004 Stats: (With the Sox) 45 games, 101 plate appearances, .256 average, .330 OBP, .442 slugging, 2 home runs, 14 RBI, 17 strikeouts, 10 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Backup outfielder, pinch-runner

LDS ‘€”

1 game, no plate appearances

LCS ‘€”

2 games, no plate appearances, 1 stolen base, 2 runs

Subsequent Teams: Padres 2005-06, Giants 2007-08

Performance After 2004: 410 games, 1618 plate appearances, .273 average, .349 OBP, .386 slugging, 12 home runs, 114 RBI, 204 strikeouts, 166 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Really, there is only one. “The Steal.” Millar walks, Roberts pinch-runs. Everybody on the planet knows that he has to steal second base. He goes, Posada fires. Safe. Mueller gets the hit that sends him home, and the Red Sox have never been the same since.

The Line ‘€”

“Maury Wills once told me that there will come a point in my career when everyone in the ballpark will know that I have to steal a base, and I will steal that base. When I got out there, I knew that was what Maury Wills was talking about.” Roberts will forever get a warm welcome at Fenway and now has a job with NESN, filling in for Jerry Remy on occasion.

Doug Mientkiewicz

Current Occupation: First baseman, Dodgers

2004 Stats: (With the Sox) 49 games, 119 plate appearances, .215 average, .286 OBP, .318 slugging, home run, 10 RBI, 18 strikeouts, 10 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Defensive first baseman

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 4 plate appearances, .500 average, .500 OBP, .500 slugging, RBI

LCS ‘€”

4 games, 5 plate appearances, .500 average, .500 OBP, .750 slugging, strikeout

WS ‘€”

4 games, 1 plate appearances, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging.

Subsequent Teams: Mets 2005, Royals 2006, Yankees 2007, Pirates 2008, Dodgers 2009

Performance After 2004: 395 games, 1219 plate appearances, .270 average, .353 OBP, .405 slugging, 22 home runs, 129 RBI, 146 strikeouts, 128 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Dougie Baseball caught the underhand toss from Foulke for the final out in Game 4 against the Cardinals. He was the reliable late-inning defensive guru at first base to replace the sometimes adventurous meanderings of Millar. Part of the Garciaparra shuffle at the deadline as he came over from the Twins.

The Line ‘€”

I am keeping the ball … wait, what?! Mientkeiewicz caused a ruckus with the Sox after the World Series when he elected to keep the ball after the final out. A spokesperson for Major League Baseball said the ball belonged to Mientkeiewicz, as per normal baseball standards. Mientkiewicz let the ball tour with the World Series trophy during the winter of 2005 and eventually reached an agreement with the Red Sox to allow the ball to go to the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Gabe Kapler

Current Occupation: Outfielder, Rays

2004 Stats: 136 games, 310 plate appearances, .272 average, .311 OBP, .390 slugging, 6 home runs, 33 RBI, 49 strikeouts, 15 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Backup outfielder

 

LDS ‘€”

2 games, 5 plate appearances, .200 average, .200 OBP, .200 slugging

LCS ‘€”

2 games, 3 plate appearances, .333 average, .333 OBP, .333 slugging

WS ‘€”

4 games, 2 plate appearances, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging, strikeout

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-06, Brewers 2008, Rays 2009

Performance After 2004: 303 games, 734 plate appearances, .265 average, .328 OBP, .430 slugging, 19 home runs, 91 RBI, 108 strikeouts, 59 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Kapler was in right field for the final pitch of Game 4 against the Cardinals. Played in a career-high 136 games for the Sox in 2004.

The Line ‘€”

During the 2004 season Kapler was deciding whether or not to play on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. He consulted a Boston rabbi who reportedly told him: “Do it! We need all the help we can get!” Kapler played. Kapler went into semi-retirement in the 2007 season and managed the Sox’ Single-A affiliate, the Greenville Drive, for a year, coaching some of the rising prospects in the Sox organization, including Josh Reddick.

Doug Mirabelli

Current Occupation: Realtor, Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realty; manager, St. Francis High School baseball team in Traverse City, Mich.

2004 Performance: 59 games, 182 plate appearances, .281 average, .368 OBP, .525 slugging, 9 home runs, 32 RBI, 46 strikeouts, 19 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Backup catcher

LCS ‘€”

1 game, 1 plate appearance, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging

WS ‘€”

1 game, 3 plate appearances, .333 average, .333 OBP, .333 slugging, strikeout

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Padres 2006 (for about two months), Red Sox 2006-07

Performance After 2004: 171 games, 481 plate appearances, .208 average, .283 OBP, .363 slugging, 17 home runs, 59 RBI, 148 strikeouts, 40 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Never the greatest hitter, “Duck Boat” Mirabelli occasionally got a hold of one with his long swing and push it over the Monster. Caught Wakefield in Game 1 of the World Series as his personal catcher and singled off Walt Williams in the third inning.

The Line ‘€”

Mirabelli may be the only backup catcher ever to get a police escort through Boston when he was reacquired by the Sox in 2006 from the Padres to catch Wakefield that night. Ended up with a little controversy when there was some “miscommunication” between him and Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne about the authenticity of Schilling’s bloody sock in Game 6 against the Yankees. Mirabelli would later insist that the sock indeed had blood on it.

Pokey Reese

Current Occupation: Free agent

2004 Stats: 96 games, 268 plate appearances, .221 average, 271 OBP, .303 slugging, 3 home runs, 29 RBI, 60 strikeouts, 17 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Defensive utility middle infielder

LDS ‘€”

3 games, no plate appearances, run

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 1 plate appearance, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging, strikeout

WS ‘€”

4 games, 1 plate appearances, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging

Subsequent Teams: Signed with the Mariners in 2005 but never played after suffering an injury; played in the Nationals’ system in 2008 but was limited by injuries.

Performance After 2004: None

The Memories ‘€”

Reese and Mientkiewicz were the defensive right side of the infield for the Red Sox as they would consistently come in late in games down the stretch and into the postseason to spell Millar and Bellhorn. Helped transform the Sox’ fielding from “somewhat atrocious” to “fairly respectable” late in the season.

The Line ‘€”

I bet you still see some “Pokey Woulda Had It!” bumper stickers around Boston. Reese was never much of a hitter, but he did hit two home runs in one game in May, an inside-the-park job and a normal Monster pop fly-turned-homer. He left the Red Sox in spring training of 2005 and hasn’t done much since.

Where Was I? On the final pitch of the final game I was sitting on a stool at a now-defunct bar called Atomic Burrito in Charlottesville, Va., watching the game and listening to a band called Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees. I was a kitchen manager in downtown Charlottesville at the time and did not have television in my apartment. So, I ended up listening to the late night games (since we got kicked out of the bar) on my radio, rocking back and forth on a dining room chair with my border collie, Kira. When Mientkiewicz caught the ball I was mobbed by all my fellow transplanted New Englanders, some of whom were crying, others trying to pull my pants down, walk-off style.