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West Division

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East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

The 2004 baseball season ended up having huge historical implications.  In the American League, the Boston Red Sox staged arguably the greatest comeback in postseason history by overcoming a three-games-to-none deficit against the New York Yankees in the ALCS.  The Red Sox subsequently ended 86 years of frustration by winning their first World Series since 1918.  Meanwhile, Ichiro Suzuki broke George Sisler’s long-standing major-league record by amassing 262 hits for the Seattle Mariners.

Ichiro’s Mariners finished last in the A.L. West, 29 games behind the first-place Anaheim Angels.  Nevertheless, the former Japanese star performed magnificently for Seattle.  In addition to establishing a new single-season record for base hits, Ichiro led the league with a .372 batting average, scored 101 runs, and stole 36 bases.  Unfortunately, he didn’t receive much support from his teammates, leading to Seattle’s poor 63-99 record.  

The American League West turned out to be baseball’s most competitive division, with three teams remaining in contention until the season’s final days.  The Angels mounted a late surge to conclude the campaign with a record of 92-70 that placed them one game ahead of the runner-up Oakland Athletics, and just three games in front of the third-place Texas Rangers in the final standings. 

The Angels possessed rather mediocre starting pitching, with all but one member of their rotation compiling an earned run average well in excess of 4.00.  Even Bartolo Colon, who led the staff with 18 victories, struggled much of the time, finishing the year with an unimpressive mark of 5.01.  However, Anaheim had a deep bullpen that featured two of the circuit’s top relievers.  Setup man Francisco Rodriguez finished 4-1, with 12 saves, an outstanding 1.82 ERA, and an amazing 123 strikeouts in 84 innings of work.  Closer Troy Percival saved 33 games and posted a 2.90 earned run average.

Although the Angels topped the circuit with a .282 team batting average and 143 stolen bases, they finished near the middle of the league rankings in most other offensive categories.  They placed seventh in runs scored (836), tenth in home runs (162), and sixth in team on-base percentage (.341).  Chone Figgins, Jose Guillen, and Vladimir Guerrero were the club’s most significant contributors on offense.  In addition to playing numerous positions in the field, the versatile Figgins batted .296, scored 83 runs, and stole 34 bases.  Guillen provided much needed power in the middle of the lineup, hitting 27 home runs and driving in 104 runs.  Guerrero earned A.L. MVP honors by leading the league with 124 runs scored and 366 total bases, and also placing among the leaders with 39 home runs, 126 runs batted in, 206 hits, a .337 batting average, and a .598 slugging average.  He clearly established himself as the league’s Most Valuable Player by having a torrid month of September during which he led Anaheim to the division title almost singlehandedly.  Guerrero hit 11 home runs, knocked in 25 runs, scored 25 others, and batted .363 during the season's final month, to help the Angels edge out both Oakland and Texas for the division title.

While the Angels had to wait until the season’s final day to lay claim to the Western Division crown, the Minnesota Twins coasted to their third straight A.L. Central title by compiling a record of 92-70 that left them nine games ahead of second-place Chicago in the final standings.  The White Sox featured the division's most dynamic offensive player in Paul Konerko, who finished among the league leaders with 41 home runs and 117 runs batted in.  However, the Twins’ superior team balance and outstanding pitching enabled them to pull away from Chicago in the end.

The Twins hardly scared their opponents on offense, finishing just 10th in the American League with 780 runs scored.  No one on the club hit more than 25 home runs, knocked in more than 81 runs, scored more than 89 times, or reached the .300-mark in batting.  But the Twins led the league with a team ERA of 4.03, and their staff featured the circuit’s most dominant starting pitcher and one of its best closers.  Joe Nathan placed among the league leaders with 44 saves, and he also compiled an outstanding 1.62 ERA and struck out 89 batters in only 72 innings of work.  Meanwhile, left-hander Johan Santana established himself as the league's best pitcher in just his second full season.  Santana finished 20-6, with a league-leading 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts, en route to capturing A.L. Cy Young honors.  

The Yankees won their seventh consecutive A.L. East title, with the Red Sox finishing right behind them in the standings for the seventh straight time.  The Yankees compiled an American League-best 101-61 record that enabled them to edge out second-place Boston by three games in the final standings.  However, by posting 98 victories, the Red Sox finished with the circuit’s second-best record, earning themselves a spot in the playoffs as the league’s wild-card representative.

Although the Yankees again captured the division crown, they lacked the overall team balance that characterized their six previous division championship ball clubs.  This team possessed only mediocre pitching, forcing it to depend heavily on its potent offense.  New York ranked just sixth in the league with a team ERA of 4.69, with no one on the staff winning more than 14 games.  Setup man Tom Gordon and closer Mariano Rivera were easily the team’s two most reliable hurlers.  Gordon finished 9-4, with four saves, a 2.21 ERA, and 96 strikeouts in 90 innings of work.  Rivera led the league with 53 saves and compiled an outstanding 1.94 ERA.

With the Yankees’ pitching staff displaying a considerable amount of mediocrity over the course of the season, their offense ended up carrying them to the division title.  Buoyed by the off-season acquisitions of Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield, the Yankees led the league with 242 home runs.  They also placed second in the circuit with 897 runs scored, a .353 team on-base percentage, and a .458 team slugging average.  Rodriguez hit 36 homers, drove in 106 runs, scored 112 others, and batted .286 in his first year in pinstripes.  Sheffield compiled even better numbers, also hitting 36 home runs, while batting .290 and placing among the league leaders with 121 runs batted in and 117 runs scored.  For his efforts, Sheffield earned a second-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting.  Holdovers Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui also made significant contributions to New York’s offense.  Jeter went deep 23 times, scored 111 runs, and batted .292.  Matsui hit 31 homers, knocked in 108 runs, scored another 109, and batted .298. 

Although the Red Sox finished three games behind New York in the standings, they had superior team balance.  The Sox led the American League with 949 runs scored, tied for the league-lead with a .282 team batting average, finished fourth in the circuit with 222 home runs, and compiled a team ERA of 4.18 that placed them third in the league rankings.  Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez anchored Boston’s starting rotation.  Schilling finished 21-6, with a 3.26 ERA and 203 strikeouts.  Martinez went 16-9, with an ERA of 3.90 and 227 strikeouts.  Meanwhile, closer Keith Foulke saved 32 games.

On offense, the trio of Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz paced the Boston attack.  Centerfielder Damon hit 20 homers, knocked in 94 runs, batted .304, and finished second in the league with 123 runs scored.  Ramirez led the A.L. with 43 home runs and a .613 slugging percentage, drove in 130 runs, scored 108 others, and batted .308.  Ortiz batted .301, scored 94 runs, and placed among the league leaders with 41 homers, 139 runs batted in, and a .603 slugging average.  Ramirez finished third in the MVP balloting, while Ortiz came in fourth. 

While New York and Boston clearly established themselves as the class of the A.L. East over the course of the regular season, two of the league’s top offensive performers played for the Baltimore Orioles, who finished third in the division, 23 games behind the first-place Yankees.  Third baseman Melvin Mora had the greatest season of his career, hitting 27 home runs, driving in 104 runs, scoring another 111, placing second in the league with a .340 batting average, and topping the circuit with a .419 on-base percentage.  Shortstop Miguel Tejada also had a huge year for the Birds after joining them during the off-season as a free agent.  Tejada hit 34 homers, knocked in a league-leading 150 runs, scored 107 times, and batted .311. 

The stars subsequently aligned for a second consecutive New York vs. Boston ALCS matchup when the Yankees defeated Minnesota in the Division Series in four games, while the Red Sox swept Anaheim in three straight games in the other first-round playoff series.

The Yankees appeared to be well on their way towards moving on to the World Series after they dominated the Red Sox in the first three contests.  The Yankees took Games One and Two at home by scores of 10-7 and 3-1, before thoroughly embarrassing their rivals in Game Three in Boston by a score of 19-8.  The Red Sox seemed dead when they entered the bottom of the ninth inning of Game Four trailing New York 4-3, with Mariano Rivera on the mound for the Yankees.  However, Boston tied the score against Rivera and emerged victorious three innings later when David Ortiz delivered a game-winning two-run homer against Paul Quantrill in the bottom of the 12th.  The Boston DH provided more heroics in Game Five, hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the score, before delivering a game-winning single in the 14th inning.  After an injured Curt Schilling stymied New York’s lineup when the two teams returned to Yankee Stadium for Game Six, the Red Sox became the first team in baseball history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit by eliminating the Yankees by a score of 10-3 in Game Seven.

Still on an emotional high from their ALCS comeback, Boston took Game One of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, breaking a 9-9 tie on Mark Bellhorn's eighth-inning homer.  After winning Game Two 6-2 at Fenway Park, the Red Sox shut down the Redbirds 4-1 and 3-0 in St. Louis for a convincing four-game sweep.  Manny Ramirez earned Series MVP honors by batting .412 and knocking in four runs.  Meanwhile, Boston pitching held St. Louis sluggers Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen to a combined 1-for-30.

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• January 6 – The members of the BBWAA elected Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.

• February 15 – The Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later.

• July 24 – During an 11-10 Boston victory over New York at Fenway Park, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek began a bench-clearing brawl after Bronson Arroyo hit the Yankee slugger with a pitch.

• Boston’s Curt Schilling started and won Game Two of the World Series despite pitching with a torn tendon in his right ankle.

• David Ortiz knocked in 19 runs for Boston during the postseason.

• Johan Santana's league-leading 2.61 ERA bettered the American League’s average mark by more than two runs.

• The 262 hits amassed by Ichiro Suzuki enabled him to break the record previously held by Hall of Fame first baseman George Sisler, who collected 257 safeties for the St. Louis Browns in 1920.

• Boston traded superstar shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs on July 31.

• Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby (22 homers) earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• The American League defeated the National League in the All-Star Game, played in Houston on July 13, by a score of 9-4.

• A long-suppressed steroids scandal reared its head throughout the season and after the World Series, implicating several star players, including Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds.

• Hank Blalock hit 32 home runs, drove in 110 runs, and scored 107 others for the Texas Rangers.

• Texas teammate Mark Teixeira hit 38 homers, knocked in 112 runs, scored 101 times, and batted .281.

• Rangers shortstop Michael Young homered 22 times, drove in 99 runs, scored 114 others, batted .313, and placed second in the league with 216 hits.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ANA 2217 5675 836 1603 783 .195 272 37 162 143 46 2435 .345 .299 .748 123 41 56
BAL 2278 5736 842 1614 803 .174 319 18 169 101 41 2476 .315 .258 .656 126 62 46
BOS 2417 5720 949 1613 912 .223 373 25 222 68 30 2702 .353 .362 .771 123 55 12
CHA 2245 5534 865 1481 823 .260 284 19 242 78 51 2529 .384 .433 .894 119 42 58
CLE 2287 5676 858 1565 820 .252 345 29 184 94 55 2520 .362 .378 .768 143 42 47
DET 2255 5623 827 1531 800 .202 284 54 201 86 50 2526 .368 .317 .761 110 43 50
KCA 2169 5538 720 1432 675 .185 261 29 150 67 48 2201 .331 .275 .665 130 38 40
MIN 2318 5623 780 1494 735 .202 310 24 191 116 46 2425 .358 .315 .762 130 40 46
NYA 2281 5527 897 1483 863 .203 281 20 242 84 33 2530 .342 .324 .738 157 50 37
OAK 2217 5728 793 1545 752 .181 336 15 189 47 22 2478 .358 .285 .719 142 43 25
SEA 2280 5722 698 1544 658 .212 276 20 136 110 42 2268 .358 .303 .705 131 48 46
TBA 2182 5483 714 1416 685 .199 278 46 145 132 42 2221 .326 .297 .668 97 56 35
TEX 2240 5615 860 1492 825 .189 323 34 227 69 36 2564 .337 .300 .713 91 57 23
TOR 2194 5531 719 1438 680 .173 290 34 145 58 31 2231 .360 .267 .737 139 42 20

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ANA 505 92 70 1453 1164 502 6246 1476 170 78.430 692 734 2 2 50 61 7
BAL 614 78 84 1457 1090 687 6459 1488 159 141.490 761 830 8 4 27 68 9
BOS 599 98 64 1454 1132 447 6222 1430 159 129.850 676 768 4 1 36 39 1
CHA 561 83 79 1432 1013 527 6189 1505 224 124.450 782 831 8 2 34 43 3
CLE 641 80 82 1466 1115 579 6450 1553 201 206.730 785 857 8 3 32 43 6
DET 594 72 90 1441 995 530 6296 1542 190 92.740 788 844 7 4 35 71 6
KCA 571 58 104 1419 887 518 6320 1638 208 149.240 815 905 6 2 25 60 10
MIN 597 92 70 1475 1123 431 6269 1523 167 132.510 663 715 4 4 48 45 1
NYA 598 101 61 1445 1058 445 6240 1532 182 127.420 752 808 1 0 59 57 4
OAK 576 91 71 1474 1034 544 6313 1466 164 79.380 682 742 10 3 35 39 5
SEA 576 63 99 1462 1036 575 6389 1498 212 132.720 772 823 7 2 28 45 7
TBA 562 70 91 1416 923 580 6261 1459 192 136.210 759 842 3 0 35 55 7
TEX 630 89 73 1440 979 547 6345 1536 182 167.630 727 794 5 2 52 34 11
TOR 592 67 94 1422 956 608 6281 1505 181 178.630 778 823 6 4 37 60 11

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ANA 2791 7126 5473 1544 109 .984 17450 87 44 0 11
BAL 2776 7264 5439 1707 118 .967 17465 82 39 2.00 14
BOS 3015 7156 5348 1669 139 .976 17420 123 31 0 18
CHA 2733 7157 5333 1706 118 .967 17190 90 48 0 13
CLE 2780 7309 5479 1708 122 .964 17600 117 40 0 15
DET 2779 7313 5392 1745 176 .963 17279 71 41 1.00 9
KCA 2690 7235 5409 1670 156 .967 17039 84 35 0 16
MIN 2781 7292 5498 1679 115 .970 17710 73 44 0 6
NYA 2781 7094 5380 1598 116 .951 17323 90 32 0 11
OAK 2712 7371 5429 1836 106 .972 17658 74 49 1.00 14
SEA 2739 7205 5585 1504 116 .961 17513 64 38 2.00 11
TBA 2681 7120 5420 1559 141 .961 17003 67 32 0 8
TEX 2791 7137 5381 1630 126 .973 17280 71 39 0 16
TOR 2682 7072 5306 1665 101 .965 17057 91 41 0 10

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Anaheim Angels 92 70 3375677 1 1164
Oakland Athletics 91 71 2201516 2 1034
Texas Rangers 89 73 2513685 3 979
Seattle Mariners 63 99 2940731 4 1036

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
Minnesota Twins 92 70 1911490 1 1123
Chicago White Sox 83 79 1930537 2 1013
Cleveland Indians 80 82 1814401 3 1115
Detroit Tigers 72 90 1917004 4 995
Kansas City Royals 58 104 1661478 5 887

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
New York Yankees 101 61 3775292 1 1058
Boston Red Sox 98 64 2837294 2 1132
Baltimore Orioles 78 84 2744018 3 1090
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 70 91 1274911 4 923
Toronto Blue Jays 67 94 1900041 5 956

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Tagged:
2004 ALCS, 2004 ALDS1, 2004 ALDS2, 2004 World Series, Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, American League, Bartolo Colon, Bobby Crosby, Boston Red Sox, Chone Figgins, Curt Schilling, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Francisco Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Hank Blalock, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Varitek, Joe Nathan, Johan Santana, Johnny Damon, Jose Guillen, Keith Foulke, Manny Ramirez, Mariano Rivera, Mark Bellhorn, Mark Teixeira, Melvin Mora, Michael Young, Miguel Tejada, New York Yankees, Nomar Garciaparra, Paul Konerko, Paul Quantrill, Pedro Martinez, Tom Gordon, Troy Percival

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