The answer is simple, however unpopular.
Yes, the Red Sox lost their stud outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees. They also lost pitcher Ryan Dempster to retirement and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Florida. Shortstop Stephen (Nancy) Drew has returned to the club after a rather odd holdout, however, none of these losses can really account for the lackluster play by the Fenway nine.
We all recall the horrific Boston marathon bombings in 2013, A truly scary and chilling event for the entire nation, but especially for the citizens of Boston. Shortly after Red Sox patriarch David Ortiz said in front of the entire world, "This is our fucking city!" he and the rest of the club played with an unmeasurable ammount of emotion and pride.
The phrase "Boston Strong" became a rallying cry not only for the victims and the city, but for the ball club as well. Guided by an almost unbelievable destiny, Boston was dominant in 2013.
Those that follow the game closely will tell you the 2013 team was not so much as talented as it was persistant. In 2001, the New York Yankees were a similiar story, as they advanced to the Word Series just a few weeks after 9/11. That same year, the New England Patriots carried the nation on their back in almost the exact same way. The Twin Tower bombings had a major effect on the Pats, especially then offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi, whose brothers were on the scene saving lives.
Emotion is a powerful entity. We've all accomplished goals with nothing but raw emotion pushing us forward. Now imagine an entire city or region or, heck, even a nation, pushing you toward that brass ring.
In short, and with all due respect, the 2013 Sox were not that good. Mike Carp, Daniel Nava, Johnny Gomes all overachieved. In fact, Gomes is the only one of those three to have played and started a full season in the majors. Other that Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Ellsbury, last year's offense severely overachieved. Their bullpen was terrific, yet none of the key arms the Sox brought in were a factor. Again, more overachievers.
Now in 2014, Ellsbury is gone, Nava is in AAA and Mike Carp is back to being an ordinary scrub, hitting just .245.
The shock is not that the Sox are not that good in 2014. The notion to marvel is how good they were in 2013.
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