Lets break down what happened this year.....
2003 95-67, AL Wildcard, lost to the New York Yankees in the ALCS
With 95 wins and 67 losses, Boston had their best record since going to the World Series in 1986. 2003 marked the sixth year in a row that the Yankees took the AL East, while the Red Sox came in second. Boston won the wildcard, and played in their first postseason in four years.
October 11, 2003: The Boston Red Sox came back from a two-game to none deficit against the Oakland Athletics to advance on to the American League Championship Series. They split their first two at Yankee Stadium and the series moved to Fenway tied at one game apiece.
Boston took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of game three with three hits off of Roger Clemens. Jorge Posada scored on a Karim Garcia single in the second, and Yankee Shortstop Derek Jeter tied the game with a solo homer over the Green Monster in the third. In the top of the fourth, with the game still tied at two, the Yankees had runners on first and second. Hideki Matsui's ground rule double gave New York a 3-2 lead. With first base open, Pedro Martinez hit Karim Garcia with his next pitch. Nick Johnson scored when Alfonso Soriano hit into a double play and Garcia slid hard into secondbaseman Todd Walker. Both teams came out of their dugouts as the two players started shoving. Martinez pointed at his head, taunting New York's Jorge Posada, but did not enter the fray.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Roger Clemens threw a 1-2 pitch to Manny Ramirez that was high, but clearly over the plate. Ramirez dove out of the way before the ball reached home plate; both dugouts emptied. In the melee Martinez grabbed 72-year-old Don Zimmer by the head and slammed him to the ground after Zimmer charged towards him. Once play resumed, Ramirez struck out on the next pitch. Boston later scored a run in the seventh to bring the game back to within one. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings; New York won the game 4-3. Roger Clemens got the win in his final appearance at Fenway Park. Don Zimmer was taken from the park by ambulance after the game.
October 14, 2003: After Boston tied the ALCS at two games each, New York's David Wells pitched seven innings, giving up four hits and one run. He handed over the game to Mariano Rivera, who got his second save of the 2003 ALCS as the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 4-2, to take a three game to two lead in the best-of-seven series. Wells is one of only five lefties to ever beat the Red Sox at Fenway in the postseason (joining Rube Marquard, 1912 Giants World Series game 3; Hippo Vaughn, 1918 Cubs World Series game 5; Bob Ojeda, 1986 Mets World Series game 3; and Andy Pettite, 1999 ALCS game 4).
October 16, 2003: After rallying to come back from a two-run deficit in game six, winning 9-6, the Red Sox painted the World Series logo on the field at Fenway Park. They took an early lead in the final, deciding, game of the ALCS. Boston got four runs off of an ineffective Roger Clemens before Mike Mussina took over with runners on first and third with none out in fourth. Mussina got out of the jam, and pitched a total of three scoreless innings in the first relief appearance of his career. The Yankees chipped away, scoring one run in the fifth, and one in the seventh -- both on Jason Giambi home runs.
New York's David Wells came in to the game in the top of the eighth and gave up a homer to David Ortiz on his first pitch. Boston took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the inning. Between innings, Pedro Martinez had told his manager that he was tiring and instructed him to get relievers warming up. His pitch count was in triple-digits after a shaky seventh, Boston's bullpen had been doing an outstanding job during the entire postseason, and two relievers were ready in the pen. It appeared that Pedro would not be pitching the eighth. The early edition of the New York Post already included an editorial chiding the Yankees for being unable to close out the series. Grady Little left Martinez in the game. Pedro got Nick Johnson to pop out and Boston was five outs away from beating their archrivals to advance to the World Series.
Derek Jeter (.394 season average versus Boston, .143 verus Mike Timlin who was available in the pen) doubled to deep right. Little left Martinez in the game to face Bernie Williams, who brought Jeter home with a single to center. New York's best two clutch hitters were due up next. As Grady Little walked to the mound, it seemed that the righthanded Martinez was once again done for the night; lefthanded hitting Hideki Matsui was due up at the plate -- representing the tying run. Matsui was in the top-fifteen in the league in hits, RBIs, and doubles. But Little left Martinez in the game to face Matsui, whose ground rule double brought Bernie Williams around to third. Then, Little left Martinez in to face Jorge Posada (top six in the league in walks and on-base-percentage, 101 regular season RBIs, 30 regular season home runs, .345 season average versus Boston). Posada's two-run double tied it at five.
After Martinez was finally removed from the game and Jason Giambi was retired by Alan Embree, Ruben Serria reached first on an intentional walk. He was replaced by pinchrunner Aaron Boone, who failed to scored. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera came to pitch the top of the ninth of the tie ballgame. Jason Varitek hit a one-out single, and was replaced by Damian Jackson who moved to second on a Johnny Damon grounder. Todd Walker lined out to end the inning. New York could not get a runner on base in the ninth against Mike Timlin.
David Ortiz hit a two-out double off of Rivera in the top of the tenth and was replaced on second by Gabe Kapler. The next batter, Kevin "Cowboy Up" Millar, popped out to end the Sox inning. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who already had two wins in the '03 ALCS, had a 1-2-3 tenth inning. Rivera stayed in, retiring three straight Boston batters in the top of the eleventh. Aaron Boone (who had been batting .161, and had managed only one RBI, in the postseason) hit Tim Wakefield's first pitch of the eleventh inning into the leftfield stands to win the game, 6-5. The following morning a large blue tarp, surrounded by yellow warning tape, covered the freshly painted World Series logo on the Fenway Park grass.
Mariano Rivera, who had two saves and a win, was named MVP. In the two American League Championship Series in which New York played Boston (1999 and 2003), Rivera pitched a total of 12-2/3 innings. He gave up ten hits, walked none, struck out nine, and allowed just one earned run.
AL Batting Champion Bill Mueller hit .222 in the ALCS, striking out seven times. In twelve postseason games, he never drove in a run, and scored only once. Nomar Garciaparra was second in the league in runs scored during the regular season, but only scored twice in the series. He came to bat with runners on base twelve times against the Yankees, and never had a hit in those twelve at-bats. With runners in scoring position during the 2003 postseason, Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, and Mueller all batted .000.
Shortly after the postseason, the Red Sox declined to pick up Grady Little's 2004 option and announced their annual ticket price hike. The average cost of a ticket to see a game at Fenway in 2004 will be $44.37. Fenway will be the most expensive venue in baseball for the sixth straight year. 2004 is the ninth straight year that the Red Sox have raised prices.