Hangover Seasons

Bernie Carbohydrate

writes the Semi-Fin
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We're done, right? So how does the 2019 “hangover season” stack up with other hangover seasons?

2014: Sox went 71-91, last place, 25 games back. It’s okay if you erased the 2014 squad from your memory – the Carp-Nava-Sizemore outfield did not remind anyone of Rice-Lynn-Evans. By late July the team was well and truly dismantled, with Jake “Why Did He Sign Here?” Peavey, Felix Doubront, John Lester, John Lackey, Steven Drew, and Johnny Gomes all traded at the deadline. We did get Runsey Castillo that year, so OF help was on the way.

2008: A mild headache of a hangover. The ‘08ers posted a 95-67 record, just one game off the 96-66 of the 2007 championship season. Losing to the Devil Rays (?!?!?!) in the ALCS was a matter of running into peak Matt Garza. Even Alex Cora as a backup SS couldn’t save us.

2005: Talk about your “Boy, Wasn’t that a Great Party?” hangover. The Sox finished 95-67,* good for second place in the AL East. The starting nine were mostly familiar heroes, with only with Edgar Renteria stepping in to enrage the Pokey People. We let Pedro go and replaced him with….(checks notes)…David Wells. Went down meekly to the White Sox in a Division Series sweep. Theo quit. Geremi Gonzalez got three starts.

1919: At the time, nobody knew this was not just a hangover season, but the beginning of decades of disappointment. The boys went 66-71, finishing 6th in an eight-team league. Sad Sam Jones went 16-5 for the ’18 squad (ERA+ 120), but went 12-20 in 1919 (ERA+ 81). Babe Ruth led the AL in runs, HR, RBI, etc. etc. (OPS 1.114!) but wanted to get paid. You know what happened next.

1917: This was a double hangover year, since the Sox won it all in both 1915 and 1916. The 1917 squad kept the great pitching of the 1916 champs (led the AL in CG and shutouts) but hits were hard to come by, and they ended up in 2nd place, going 90-62. Ruth was a full-time pitcher (only 52 AB) and the team was middle-of-the-pack in most offensive categories. I think if they’d started Ruth in the outfield instead of Tillie “Prohibition Jackie Bradley Jr.” Walker, the Red Sox win another pennant.

1913: Looks like 1913 was the 2019 of the twentieth century, Sox hangover-wise. The 1912 team rivals the 2018 team for best Red Sox team evah. But the champs, who went 105-47 in 1912, slumped to a feckless 79-71 the next year. I wasn’t there, so let’s let Red Sox Century pick it up:
The Red Sox began the season with one of the biggest payrolls in baseball and opening day provided a look into what the season was going to become. Joe Wood received the honor of pitching the first game of the season, on April 10th, and struck out six in the first four innings. He then faltered, giving up five runs in seven innings in a 10-9 loss to the Philadelphia Athletics, at a chilly Fenway Park.
Wood (“Progressive Era Pedro”) struggled with injuries and the team was apparently out of shape from the offseason banquet circuit. Also they hated each other. Kind of a Chicken-and-Beer situation with Hugh Bedient as Josh Beckett.

1904: The 1903 champs gave the Dropkick Murphys the “Stahl, Dinneen, and Young” line from “Tessie.” The 1904 squad kept all three players, and continued to kick ass, going 95-59 and winning the AL pennant. The cowardly New York Giants refused to play the World Series, because they were a miserable team based in New York, run by assholes, stocked with overrated players, and supported by obnoxious fans. Look up a picture of Giants owner John T. Brush. He’s Montgomery Burns.

Edit: Corrected 2005 record -- thanks Salem's Lot
 
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Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm probably foolishly holding out hope.... one week from today I'll make my mind up.
Both the '05 hangover didn't hurt as much. Losing Pedro and Lowe and knowing Schilling was 1/2 a pitcher felt like it was going to be difficult to repeat. The '04 team bought me about 10 years of good will- Sox could have turned into the Pirates at that point and I would have been happy until 2014.
The '09 hangover hurt- I felt like they coulda shoulda repeated and still am angry at.... wait... I guess I don't even remember at this point.... I think Papelbon blew a few games and I could never stand him so I'll summon some anger at him.
The '14 hangover was another expected hangover. Duh!
This season is hurting the most. More than '09. Recent bias? I dunno... I dunno... but this team should be way better. I don't blame it on the "not getting a closer" BS that gets tossed around. I don't blame it on the late start- easing into the season crap either. The team has just been unfocused and never felt like they clicked the way the team did last season right out of the gate with just a few hiccups along the way. This season has been a never ending hiccup with some brief moments of "yes... this IS the same team". Kimbrell wouldn't have helped... at all. Kelly? No. This team was constructed fine... it had injuries, but those are to be expected. Just very good players playing sloppily and unfocused and uninspired. That said... the emergence of Devers as a definite cornerstone has me positive about the next several seasons. X looking like he's got 4 great seasons in him.
Yeah... worst hangover.... but we might drink the hair of the dog in the next week and find ourselves in the WC (not wash closet)
 

Sampo Gida

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Aug 7, 2010
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I don't consider 2005 and 2008 hangover seasons

2014 was basically regression. In 2013 you had almost every player playing better than projected. I believe their BABIP has highest in AL in 80 years. Just came down to earth

I cant comment on stuff a century or more ago. 2019 to me seems more unique, closer to 2014 in some respects but with the added burden of the Yankees playing like its 2009 than the 2014 Jeter farewell tour season.

Guys like JDM, Betts and Sale have taken a step back although offset some by Devers, XB , E-Rod and Vazquez stepping up. The BP has blown too many saves without a closer to anchor them. The team hasnt performed as well with RISP (872 vs 832) and seems to be falling behind early thanks to starters like Porcello and Sale and then having to face better arms in the pen.

The teams dismal performance (500) at home has one wondering if perhaps there are too many distractions at home, but what those distractions are we can only guess.
 

donutogre

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The '09 hangover hurt- I felt like they coulda shoulda repeated and still am angry at.... wait... I guess I don't even remember at this point.... I think Papelbon blew a few games and I could never stand him so I'll summon some anger at him.
Hah! Papelbon is a total bonehead, but he was nails in both 2007 and 2008. He didn't give up a earned run in the postseason either year, and his 2008 regular season was pretty much nails.

If Beckett had been slightly more healthy, I feel like they could have pulled it off in 2008. Was the closest they've gotten but not pulled it off in recent memory, 2003 aside.
 

scottyno

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They probably win again in 2008 if Beckett didn't get hurt late in the season, he was terrible in the playoffs, that was a spectacular team, definitely no hangover. That series loss also overshadows probably the greatest single game comeback in Sox history in game 5 which kind of sucks.
 

donutogre

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They probably win again in 2008 if Beckett didn't get hurt late in the season, he was terrible in the playoffs, that was a spectacular team, definitely no hangover. That series loss also overshadows probably the greatest single game comeback in Sox history in game 5 which kind of sucks.
Was always pretty impressed at how he gutted it out in game 6, though. Not the flashiest performance, but he left it out there for sure.
 

brs3

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May 20, 2008
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This year doesn't hurt as much considering they did nothing to improve despite letting the closer go and a key part of the bullpen. Maybe the guys they let go weren't the best, but not even restocking the shelves didn't seem like great strategy. Every other hangover season at least had some retooling that you could put your hopes on. It became apparent early that sticking with the same exact roster might've been a mistake. The up & down and subsequent lack of movement on July 31 confirmed an early white flag. Lightning doesn't strike twice, and not even having a bullpen upgrade is a recipe for this middling season.

My cynical self wonders if the FO knew they'd get the World Champions bump to sell out and bring in revenue, so subsequent retooling at a cost of going over the luxury tax didn't make sense at the beginning of the season, and made less sense on July 31. Retool in the off-season with an exciting binky or two to bring back the ticket buyers.
 

trekfan55

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Correction the 2005 club finished 95-67. They lost the division on a head to head tiebreaker.


Co winners, but played in the WC (technicality alert)

For me it was 2008. It was too many small things but for me it was the fact that both Beckett and Schilling got hurt. That series vs Tampa hurt, and the momentum swung big time in Game 2. The Sox took the lead, Tito left a hurt Beckett too long and he allowed a homer to the corpse of Cliff Floyd to tie the game. Went to extras and Timlin ended up losing it. After that the Sox were dead men walking in Games 3 and 4 and in Game up until the greatest comeback I have ever seen. I still remember Papelbon getting the final out and yelling "1 more" to Varitek. They simply lost steam in Game 7. What could have been. I think they beat the Phillies. Papelbon did blow the save in 2009 but the Angels swept the Sox.

2005 was a combination of not bringing Pedro and Lowe (in hindsight the long term deals they wanted were not the best idea, Pedro was injured in 06) and then Schilling getting hurt, Foulke getting hurt (for reals, screw everyone who dared boo him) and the Sox playing around with closers most of the season. A bunch of blown saves by several of them made the above mentioned tie a possibility. If they win the division they play the Angels and not the White Sox in the first round, and Schilling never pitched in the ALDS. This season also featured Matt Clement, who by the end was pitching with an injury. What could have been.

I agree that 2014 was more of a regression. The Sox went for the mid tier players in 2013 and everyone played way above their heads. Then boom, 2014 and you have a World Series win sandwiched by two last place finishes.
 
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