FEATURE: Top 5 Red Sox performances of the regular season

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

Here we go ladies and gentlemen, the 2013 Boston Red Sox are about to kick of their postseason campaign.

When we look back at the 2013 season, what will come to mind?

Maybe Boston Strong and all that happened around that tragic event, of course. Reaching the postseason with such a dramatic recovery after last season, for sure.

What do we think about when we look at individual performances?

Who on the Boston Red Sox would you list as one of the top five performances of the 2013 regular season?

Here at Red Sox Life we have reminisced, slept on it, chewed on it, drank a few beers on it, argued about it, and come up with the following list of players that have made significant contributions. As Jan-Christian Sorensen has stated, this list could have been pretty much the entire squad, but that is not how this works. We have a selection that might not include your favorite players, but they have impressed none the less this year.

Without further delay, we present our list and follow it with some of our reasoning.

Top 5 Red Sox performances
  1. Koji Uehara
  2. John Lackey
  3. Daniel Nava
  4. Mike Carp
  5. John Farrell
We have two pitchers, but it could have been five. We have two bench players, both unexpected and a little underrated. We have the manager, who righted the ship this season, which can't be emphasised enough as far as we are concerned.

Let's take a closer look at why we chose these five players.

Koij Uehara
Who does not think that we can thank our closer for 25 games in the win column? That is the difference between the 96 wins of the best in the majors and 72 wins to end in last place in the division. That is just a bit better than the 2012 season with 69 wins, but we would not be sitting here now getting popcorn and peanuts ready for the postseason tonight.

We all watched him streaking and he finished out the season in the same style against the Orioles. He pitched one inning, struck out one, allowed a single hit, but more impressive he threw 12 pitches of which 11 were strikes. His final numbers were a 1.09 ERA (best in the majors with 50+ innings) and the lowest WHIP (0.57) in baseball history by a pitcher with 50+ innings.

Some more firsts for him over on FullCount; he struck out 101 batters and walked nine (two intentional), 74 percent of pitches were thrown for strikes, no walks in last 22 appearances (since Aug 4), in final three months allowed one earned run in 37 games spanning 40 1/3 innings for a 0.22 ERA, and in save situations has a 0.72 ERA.

When you see our top performer for 2013 coming, you had better get your high-fives ready.

John Lackey
He was out all of last year getting his arm repaired and back in condition. He comes back this year after a 2011 season where he was not only heavier, but only pitched 160 innings over 28 appearances with a 6.41 ERA. That season included 743 hitters faces, with 108 strikeouts, and 56 walks. He finished 12-12.

This year he has a spring in his step and almost no run support, which caused him to post bounties last month on runs. He has been a strong, consistent, workhorse for the Red Sox that will be the second starter in the postseason rotation.

He has 29 regular season starts, with 189 1/3 innings pitched, touts a 3.52 ERA, faced 778 hitters, struck out 166, walked only 40, and finished 10-13. What you don't see if you don't look closer is that he had 14 of the 29 starts going 7+ innings and he had 19 quality starts that were blighted by dismal run support. Over 12 of his losing efforts the Red Sox scored three or fewer runs, in seven of the losses it was one or fewer runs scored to support his efforts.

He could have easily finished 2013 with an 18 - 5 record, which is why he is second on this list.

Daniel Nava
The fill in for the Red Sox in left field has been a much improved player over 2013, as Sam Galanis discussed while giving him an A+ grade.

He has played in 134 games this year, only 88 last year, and has put up numbers hitting that are second only to David Ortiz. He finished the regular season with a .303 average, .385 OBP, .445 slugging, and .831 OPS over 536 plate appearances. He struck out only 93 times and cultivated 51 walks with his selective approach at the plate.

It took him a long and winding road to get here, as told by the Boston Globe, but you can't deny the clutch abilities of Nava that have caused the team to coin the phrase, “Never say Nava!"

Mike Carp
An unlikely addition to our list in the fourth slot, but Mike Carp has been seizing the day for the Red Sox since his arrival after spring training. He has put up fantastic numbers but has only seen limited playing time. Some big league players would not handle that with the grace and professionalism that Carp has shown.

He has played in 86 games since coming over from the Mariners, with 243 plate appearances he has put up a .299 batting average, a .362 OBP, a .523 slugging percentage, and .885 OPS. Right along with Nava he has been providing a lot of offensive effectiveness, with 43 RBI's and a bunch of clutch hits while coming off the bench to pitch hit.

Ben Cherington stated it perfectly for The Republican, "A guy like Mike Carp, who we got after spring training started, and probably had a right to feel like he should have been playing more at points in the regular season, but he understood the situation, understood the team we had, understood the role, and he was ready every time he was called upon. He's a good example of what this team is all about."

This is an unsung hero of this years Red Sox roster.

John Farrell
Can one say enough about the turnaround of the 2013 Red Sox? With the team posting a 69-93 record in 2012, the recovery is nothing short of miraculous with a 97-65 record in 2013. This is so significant that it can not be left out of the top 5 Red Sox performances of the regular season.

He has been able to solidify the clubhouse, leverage the veterans, straighten out the bullpen, deal with the Boston media market, and manage the Red Sox into the postseason. Not just into the postseason, but with the best record in baseball. It makes one wonder when looking at the Blue Jays, that he left to manage for the Red Sox, what that club might have been able to do instead of ending up in the basement of our division. Their loss is our gain.

He will at the very least be in the conversations around voting for the American League manager of the year which puts him on our list.

There you have it, you read it here first, the top five performances of the 2013 regular season.

What would be your top five performances of the 2013 Boston Red Sox?

(Put them below into a comment or tweet them out to me)

Post a comment or via twitter @ericschabell with your thoughts.

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