The Red Sox are back in the Fall Classic, and there are a multitude of reasons why, but I will give you my top 7 reasons that the Red Sox made it this far in no particular order.
1.) John Farrell: I think most of us thought John Farrell would come in and immediately make an impact, and we were right. Farrell was THE key in turning this team from worst to first. He helped change the culture of the locker room and completely got rid of all vestiges of the end of 2011 and 2012. Not to mention his decision making in big moments has been spot on 9.5 times out of 10. It seems like every time he is faced with a big decision, he makes it work. Like going to the bullpen at the right time or putting Xander Bogaerts in the starting lineup
2.) Ben Cherington: Ben Cherington's role in all of this can't be understated. With getting rid of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, Cherington accomplished two things: He freed up salary space to go after players we needed and it got rid of 90% (give or take) of the problem. With the space he freed up by getting rid of of the players mentioned before, he got players that helped transform the clubhouse. So Cherington get's a lot of credit for getting us this far.
3.) Koji Uehara: Divine intervention led Koji Uehara to the closing position, it seems like. He has been dominant, to say the least. The one blemish is the walk-off home run he gave up in Tampa Bay in game 3. And that proved not to be fatal, as they beat Tampa in 4 games, then beat Detroit in 6. He's had 3 saves in the ALCS, but he pitched in 5 games without allowing a run.
4.) Shane Victorino: This is not just about the grand slam, but that's definitely part of it. Victorino is one of those guys Ben Cherington brought in to change the culture of the clubhouse, and it worked. Putting the Flying Hawaiian in here is as much about his defense as it is about him hitting a crucial grand slam. He also does the little things, like taking a pitch so Jacoby Ellsbury could swipe a bag or taking a hit by pitch for the team, and those kinds of things can't be understated when you're 4 wins away from a 3rd championship in this century.
5.) Jacoby Ellsbury: The guy at the top of the line up always deserves a lot of credit. He didn't start well, but he picked it up as the season went on and played like the lead-off guy we needed him to be. He stole 52 bases this year, which is what we need from a lead-off hitter. He's been the catalyst all year, which is why he and his agent Scott Boras will be seeing $$$$ after the season. He's also had a solid postseason - he hit near .500 in the ALDS, and he picked it up near the end of the ALCS and it will likely continue into the Fall Classic.
6.) David Ortiz: His 7th 30+ home run, 100+ RBI season was a big part of getting us here and he's come up with some clutch hits in this playoff run. The grand slam in game 2 was the latest in a string of clutch playoff hits that date back to his Twins days. He's hit 15 home runs and had 54 RBI's in his career, which are highlighted by his 2004 and 2013 home runs. His grand slam in game 2 is a major reason we were able to beat the Tigers and advance, so he get's a spot here.
7.) Dustin Pedroia: Pedey is the de facto captain of this team and his leadership is a major reason we were able to get this far. He may not have the most eye-popping numbers, but he casts a large shadow over this team. Not to mention he's really good with his glove, and that more than anything is what gets him a spot on this list.
Thoughts? Hit me up on Twitter (@ConorJF1016) with who you think should have made this list.