The 2009 Boston Red Sox season was the 109th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League East with a record of 95 wins and 67 losses, eight games behind the New York Yankees. The Red Sox qualified for the postseason as the AL wild card, but were swept by the American League West champion Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALDS.
The Red Sox opened the season with a postponement due to rain. However, on April 7, the season began at Fenway with the first pitch being thrown by Edward Kennedy. The Red Sox got off to a slow start, going 2–6 in the first eight games. However, the Sox won 11 straight games beginning on April 15. The win streak was Boston's longest since 2006 when they had a 12-game win streak. A highlight of the streak was Jacoby Ellsbury's steal of home on April 26 to cap off a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees. They finished April with a record of 14–8 and tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the division lead. Also, Jerry Remy, NESN color commentator, had surgery to remove a small area of cancer on his lung. While recovering he also got pneumonia. He also was suffering from fatigue and depression. These are the people who filled in for him.
The team flattened out in May, going 15–14 in the month and falling to third in the division behind the Yankees and the Blue Jays. Through the first two months of the season, slugger David Ortiz struggled, batting .185 with one home run. Additionally, pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the disabled list after just two starts with an injury that manager Terry Francona attributed to his participation in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Off the field, announcer Jerry Remy, of NESN television, was replaced by Dennis Eckersely beginning on May 6 as Remy began undergoing cancer treatment. Despite these struggles, the Red Sox set an American League record, tying the Major League record, on May 7 by scoring 12 runs without recording an out during the 6th inning of a game against the Cleveland Indians.
The Red Sox took the division lead, and improved to the second-best record in MLB, during June. Through the first half of the month, the Sox played four division leaders, the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies, winning three of the four series and sweeping both the Tigers and Yankees. By sweeping the Yankees, the Sox improved to 8–0 against the team, the best record against them since sweeping the 14-game season series against them in 1912. At the All-Star break, the Red Sox had the second best record in Major League Baseball and held a three-game lead in the division.
The Red Sox faltered after the All-Star break, losing five of six on the road to the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers and batting .192 and scoring 13 runs. In response to the poor offensive performance and to make room for Jed Lowrie's return from injury, Julio Lugo was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for cash and two minor-league players were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Adam LaRoche on July 22, and on July 25 Mark Kotsay was designated for assignment. The Red Sox made a move at the trade deadline, July 31, to acquire catcher Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians for pitchers Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price. They also traded Adam LaRoche to the Atlanta Braves for Casey Kotchman. After winning the first eight games of the season against their rival Yankees in the first half of the season, the Red Sox lost nine of the next ten to finish the season 9–9 against them.
One of the stranger victories for the Sox came on August 14 against the Texas Rangers. Going into the top of the 9th inning, the home Rangers were leading 4–2. Jacoby Ellsbury drove in David Ortiz to pull within one run and Jason Varitek was left on second base with no outs. Pitcher, Clay Buchholz came in to pinch run for Varitek with no outs. Dustin Pedroia doubled, but the inexperienced, and potentially tying run, Buchholz, was thrown out at the plate as he hesitated between second and third before attempting to score. All was shortly forgotten when the team scored five more runs to win 8–4. On August 21, Jacoby Ellsbury tied the record for the Red Sox single season record for stolen bases (54), in a game against the New York Yankees, a record previously held by Tommy Harper. Ellsbury then broke the record with his 55th steal on August 25, against the Chicago White Sox.Source: MLB Standings Grid
Through October 5, 2009
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; R = Runs scored; H = Hits; 2B = Doubles; 3B = Triples; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in; AVG = Batting average; SB = Stolen basesSource: Boston Red Sox batting stats
Note: W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; G = Games pitched; GS = Games started; SV = Saves; IP = Innings pitched; R = Runs allowed; ER = Earned runs allowed; HR = Home Run Allowed; BB = Walks allowed; K = StrikeoutsSource: Boston Red Sox pitching stats
On December 22, 2009, Sports Illustrated named general manager Theo Epstein as number 3 on its list of the Top 10 GMs/Executives of the Decade (in all sports).