2011 Red Sox
As the 2011 season began winding down, it seemed as if the Red Sox would be a threat again in the playoffs. After winning their first World Series in 86 years in 2004, they had gone right back at it and won another in 2007. As of September 3rd in 2011, the Red Sox had a 9 game lead in the wild card. Remember – this was the final year of just 1 wild card. Tampa Bay was battling for that final spot with them. The Red Sox went just 7-19 down the stretch leaving them tied with the Rays with one game to go. By the time the games were over and rain delays and events up in New York were complete, the Red Sox were out of the post-season.
The revelations that came out of the clubhouse after the fact proved to be just as damning to this collapse. Fried Chicken and Beer became a mantra to end the Terry Francona era, a sign of how bad the clubhouse culture had become.
What made this collapse just as riveting was the timing of it all, as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays battled the New York Yankees in New York. A Red Sox rain delay nearly synced up the ballgames as the night wore on. Early on, the Rays went down 7-0 and it appeared they would be a moot point. Leaving the Red Sox simply the job of beating the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox had a rain delay for a hour and a half late in their game. When it started- the Rays were down 7-0. When it ended – the Rays were tied in the 10th inning. You know every eye was watching the scoreboard that night.
Reliable Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon got the first two outs in the 9th with his team leading 3-2, but was unable to finish the job and blew the game. At nearly the same time the Rays wrapped up their dramatic 8-7 victory in 12 following an Evan Longoria home run.
Next: 2011 Atlanta Braves Collapse