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Best Idea That Worked:The Salty/Tek Catching Duo was a real concern at the start of the year, but although they wore down later in the year (especially in September) the two gave the Red Sox above average offensive production from the catcher position and all for about $2.75 million. Not bad.
Best Idea That Didn’t Work: Either Mike Cameron just never recovered from his off season hernia surgery or the injury coincided with his skills falling off a cliff Wile E. Coyote style. Maybe it was a bit of both, but Cameron was never the player the Sox signed him to be.
Best Idea That Didn’t Work, Part II: For all the bluster about Andrew Miller, his 2011 was almost a carbon copy of his time in Florida. His walk rate was stratospheric and his strikeout rate actually dropped from his time in Florida which was so good he was dumped on the Red Sox for Dustin Richardson, the green leafy-shaped piece of plastic on the sushi plate of pitching. Miller is tall, throws hard, and is left handed, so he likely get more opportunities before people decide he's just not a major league pitcher, but future Red Sox playoff chances are probably inversely proportional to the number of innings Miller throws for the team.
Worst Good Bye: JD Drew's reputation preceded him in Boston. He was never a fan favorite though he was never the lackadaisical and uncaring player the screamers portrayed him as on talk radio. Drew played a big role on the World Series winning team in 2007 and his '08 and '09 seasons were, in a word, awesome. Drew's injuries caught up to him in a big way in 2011, keeping him from playing in 81 games. When he played he wasn't right, hitting a meager .222 and slugging, if you can call it that, .302.
Best Butt Whipping: Just about any time the Red Sox faced the Yankees. Somehow the Sox torched their bitter rivals, going 12-6 vs. New York.
Worst Butt Whipping: Just about any time the Red Sox faced the Rays. Somehow the Sox got torched by their bitter-y rivals, going 6-12 vs. Tampa.
Best We Hardly Knew Ye: Dennys Reyes Red Sox career lasted all of 1.2 innings during which he allowing three runs. That was enough to send him on his way. That's why relievers don't buy, they rent.
Best ERA: Trever Miller's 0.00 (complied in all of six innings).
Worst Mound Performance: Darnell McDonald's one inning mop-up on September 26th. Another in a seemingly endless series of poundings, this one at the hands of a mediocre A's team, McDonald's presence on the mound more than his actual performance epitomized the death spiral that was September for Boston.
Worst Mound Performance, Part II: Bobby Jenks managed to eat 15.2 innings for the 2011 Red Sox. Sorry, that should have been 'throw.' He was able to hold opponents to only 11 earned runs (plus one unearned run). I joke but Jenks as an important piece of the bullpen never materialized. There's still next year on Jenks' two year deal, but the first year may as well have not happened.
Worst Mound Performance, Part III: Felix Doubront showed up to Spring Training out of shape and then got hurt. That was pretty much the season for the team's pitching prospect closest to the majors.
Best Player: Jacoby Ellsbury. Duh.
Worst Loss, Pitching Division: Losing Daisuke Matsuzaka was a big loss, but it wasn't the body blow that Clay Buchholz's was. Buchholz wasn't in like to replicate his ridiculous (and lucky) 2010 season, but he was a worthy number two in the third rotation slot. Had he remained healthy he XXX.
Best New Addition: Adrian Gonzalez. Sure the power that many expected never materialized but the overall performance was in line with expectations. A .957 OPS and one of the three best first baseman by fWAR in baseball isn't a bad way to start a long term deal.
Worst New Addition: Carl Crawford. Have you ever been carrying a grocery bag so full of stuff that it broke and everything and I mean everything, spilled out onto the floor? That was pretty much Crawford's season. His bag was full to the brim with skills, and skills don't respond well to being dropped on the floor. Crawford's long term deal means there is still lots more time to turn this thing around. Or, if things continue as they were, to make it the worst free agent signing of all time.
Best Nightmare Season: John Lackey.
Worst Loss, Pitching Division, Part II: Rich Hill Of course naming a LOOGY as your worst loss when the number four starter had Tommy John Surgery after seven starts is ridiculous, but then so is this post. Hill threw eight and a third innings in nine games, striking out 12 and not giving up a run. Then he blew out his elbow at the end of May and went under the knife. Would have been nice to see what he could have done with a full season, huh?
Worst Start To A Season: Whole Team, April
Worst Start To A Season, Part II: Carl Crawford
Come To Think Of It, Worst Season: Carl Crawford
Best Potential: Ryan Lavarnway's power should be fun to watch develop.
Best Defense: Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman stopped everything in his reach and several things outside of it. Pedroia was playing so well that at one point during games he was receiving checks from the Padres, British Customs, and NASA.
Best Feeling: August 31st. The Red Sox beat the Yankees 9-5 increasing their division lead to 1.5 games over New York and nine over Tampa. The Sox were on pace to win exactly 100 games. There were 27 games left in the season. The Red Sox would lose 20 of them. Worst Feeling – Just about any time after that.
Worst Ending, Imaginable Division: Wednesday, September 28th, Baltimore, Maryland.