How Far Can the Sox Go?

The Red Sox took out the 100-win Rays in the ALDS, becoming the first team to advance to the championship round.

The question now: Can this scrappy Boston team win another World Series?

Unsurprisingly, it was Kiké Hernández who walked them off with a sac fly to cap off a remarkable series — he batted .450 with three doubles, two home runs, and six RBI.

Last year, the Sox finished last in the AL East, but a series of offseason and midseason moves have now put them four wins from another Fall Classic.

  • Alex Cora returned as manager after a season-long suspension for his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
  • The Sox signed Hernández to a two-year, $14 million contract and key piece Hunter Renfroe to an incentive-laden one-year, $3.1 million deal in the offseason.
  • This summer, they traded for Kyle Schwarber at the deadline, then in mid-August, Chris Sale returned from Tommy John and went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA and 11.0 K/9 in nine starts.

The Rays were analytical and financial darlings — as always — finishing 2021 with the best record in the American League despite having just the 26th-highest payroll in MLB.

In the end, even with the plucky roster, the traditional, big-spending approach won the day — and now could win the pennant.