The Red Sox kicked off their season in the Bronx with a three-game series
against the Yankees. The opening series was a contrast to Boston's 2004
American League Championship Series win over New York, though. The Red Sox
dropped two of three and went on to lose five of their first eight games in
2005. Starters Curt Schilling and David Wells made trips to the disabled
list as Boston stumbled to one-game above .500 by the month's end.
May was a tale of two teams. Boston cruised to a 9-2 record to start the month
and then went 7-10 the rest of the way. On May 26, Toronto completed a sweep
of the Red Sox at Rogers Centre and Boston fell a season-low five games
out of first place. A bright spot in the month came when the Red Sox took
two of three from the Yankees in New York. It was the second series win in a
row against the Bronx Bombers.
Boston's Interleague schedule provided a much-needed boost in June. The Red
Sox won three series, including two sweeps, against National League
opponents. A sweep on the road against Philadelphia capped off a seven-game
winning streak, and Boston overtook Baltimore for first place in the AL East
on June 24. During one stretch, the Red Sox won 12 of 13 and they finished
12-6 in Interleague play.
A pile of injuries tested Boston's limits in July. Fresh off their best
month of the season, the Red Sox saw Trot Nixon, Mark Bellhorn, Matt Mantei,
Gabe Kapler and Keith Foulke all make trips to the disabled list. Boston
struggled early and dropped three straight series, including dropping three
of four against the Orioles and Yankees. Boston went 5-9 to start the month,
but recovered by posting a 9-4 record the rest of the way. Schilling
returned to the team, but as a member of the bullpen.
Boston carried its late-July surge into August and put together an
eight-game winning streak. The Sox won 10 of 13 to start the month. After
completing a sweep of Texas on Aug. 10, Boston climbed a season-high 5 1/2
games ahead of the East's second-place club. Fenway Park was especially
friendly in August. Boston went 13-1 at home and manaaged sweeps over the
Rangers, Royals and Devil Rays in Beantown.
On Sept. 6, David Ortiz crushed a walk-off homer against the Angels and
Boston owner John Henry presented the slugger with a plaque that named him
the "Greatest Clutch Hitter" in Red Sox history. As many game-deciding hits
as Ortiz had this year, though, Boston couldn't keep the Yankees from
climbing back into the playoff hunt. Boston dropped two of three against New
York early in the month and the Yankees overtook first place on Sept. 21 --
snapping Boston's near three-month hold on the East. The division race
between the Red Sox and Yankees was the tightest it had been since 1978, but
Boston managed to escape with a late playoff berth by clinching the Wild Card on the final day of the season.
Jordan Bastian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.