Last Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the World Series to bring the title home to Boston. With that victory, the Major League Baseball season officially went in the books, aside from the awards that will be handed out next week. There were a plethora of storylines throughout the season. Here is a look back at what happened during the 2013 MLB season.
Boston Red Sox: From Worst to First
The Boston Red Sox finished last in the American League East a season ago with a record of 69-93 and with Bobby Valentine as the manager. In 2013, the Red Sox went 97-65 and won the AL East under new manager John Farrell. At the beginning of the season the city of Boston, Massachusetts suffered a terrible tragedy when the bombing occurred at the Boston Marathon. The city was devastated, but never lost the faith to keep fighting, the motto of the Red Sox season. Boston rallied as a city due in large part to the Red Sox, who were nothing but supportive to the city after the tragic events that occurred. The Red Sox rallied around the city and the city rallied around the Red Sox. “Boston Strong” was the motto of the team and the city all season long after the bombings.
The team that went from worst to first in the AL East wasn’t given much of a chance at the beginning of the season. The team would not hear any of that and strived to be better than last season. Mission accomplished. The additions of Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, and Shane Victorino proved to be good for the Sox. Gomes started a season-long growth of beards in spring training. By the time October came, every member of the Red Sox team had some sort of beard, some good, other not so much. The team battled day-in and day-out and never gave up.
When Boston won the World Series in Boston, it snapped a 95-year drought from its last World Series clinching victory at Fenway Park. David Ortiz won the World Series Most Valuable Player award and was the true leader of the team all season long. Dustin Pedroia fought through a thumb injury since Opening Day, but had a successful season. Jacoby Ellsbury bounced back from an injury-plagued season. Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and John Lackey all bounced back and pitched well this season. Koji Uehara turned into a strike-throwing, closing machine. The Red Sox got clutch hits from many players throughout the season. With the World Series victory, it marked the third time since 2004 that the Red Sox were the champions, after going 86 years prior to 2004 since winning a World Series.
Pittsburgh Pirates: The Best Story in Baseball
It was hard not to root for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2013 season. A franchise that had not seen a winning season since 1992 finally had a glimmer of hope for the future. After twenty years of consecutive losing campaigns, the Pirates turned the tables on history this year. Pittsburgh went 94-68 and finished in second place in the National League Central. With the new two wild card spots, the Pirates were in the postseason for the first time since Barry Bonds dawned the black and gold. Not only did the Pirates make the playoffs, but it also hosted the wild card game in which they defeated the Cincinnati Reds. The crowd at PNC Park was electrifying, getting in the head of Reds’ starting pitcher Johnny Cueto. The Pirates would take the eventual National League champion St. Louis Cardinals to the limit, with the series going to a fifth and final game in the NLDS.
Andrew McCutchen is in the running for National League MVP after a great season that helped lead the Pirates to a winning season. Pedro Alvarez co-led the NL with 36 home runs. The pitching staff, led by Francisco Liriano and AJ Burnett, was one of the best in baseball. Not only was the starting pitching good, but the bullpen was superb. At one point, the Pirates had the best starting and relieving pitching in the entire MLB. The Pirates made some key acquisitions in the offseason and at the trade deadline. Russell Martin came over from the New York Yankees in the offseason and Pittsburgh was able to acquire outfielder Marlon Byrd and first baseman Justin Morneau at the trade deadline. Rookie pitcher Gerrit Cole certainly made a nice impression in his rookie campaign. The team believed in one another and in the end, it paid off with a winning season and a trip to the playoffs.
Other Happenings from the 2013 MLB Season
- Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in MLB history is retiring
- Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles led the MLB with a career-high 53 home runs
- Mike Trout became the youngest player in MLB history with at least 100 walks, 70 extra-base hits, and 30 steals
- Yasiel Puig took the league by storm for the Los Angeles Dodgers
- Miguel Cabrera had a better statistical season than year ago when he won the Triple Crown
- Evan Gattis provided a real feel-good story for the Atlanta Braves
- Alex Rodriguez made headlines for the wrong reasons: connection to PED use
- Jim Leyland stepped down as the manager of the Detroit Tigers
- Dusty Baker was fired by the Cincinnati Reds
- This season marked the first year with the Houston Astros in the American League
- There were three no-hitters in the MLB this season
– Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds no-hit the San Francisco Giants
– Tim Lincecum of the Giants no-hit the San Diego Padres
– Henderson Alvarez of the Miami Marlins no-hit the Detroit Tigers