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The Red Sox are out of the running for the World Series title after getting swept out of the American League Division Series at Fenway on Sunday.
"The whole last half of the year, they were not the team they were in the first half" said baseball analyst Glenn Stout. "They had a lot of problems winning on the road, the offense was pretty sporadic and all that stuff got exposed yesterday, rather dramatically and all at once."
In 2004, the Sox broke an alleged 86-year-old curse and won the World Series. Back then, they swept the Angels in the American League Division Series, went on to beat the Yankees in a back-and-forth championship series and then swept the Cardinals to win the coveted title.
But five years later, this was not your Sox of 2004.
"This is not the same Red Sox team where you had Manny (Ramirez) and David Ortiz in the middle of that lineup and every opposing pitcher was petrified," Stout said. "This was a lineup you could pitch around."
And the Angels did just that as well as an aggressive game on the field. In the ninth, the Sox lead the Angels, 6-4. Right-handed closer Jonathan Papelbon allowed three runs for the Angels to clinch the series with a 7-6 win on Sox soil. It was the first time Papelbon has allowed hits in any of his 27 postseason innings.
Stout said his pitching performance this season could land Papelbon on the trading block.
"He's a little overdependent on the fastball, he's a little stubborn, and he's due to make a lot of money after next season," Stout said.
And the team needs to boslter their starting pitcher for next season as well, said Stout. He said a big question is what will happen with Daisuke Matsuzaka, since the team paid $102 million for him and he did not throw a single pitch post-season. Another question for Stout is whether Clay Buchholz will "fulfill his promise" and be a piitcher the Sox can rely on.
Overall, Stout said he expects the team will see a lot of wholesale changes beyond pitching.
"The Red Sox, I think, are going to have to be very, very proactive this year in the off-season and in free agency because there simply aren't solutions to what ails them coming up in their farm system," Stout said.
In his view, the trades could start with outfielder Jason Bay, who is up for free agency this year. Losing Bay would mean the team would have to find another hitter, which Stout said could bring Matt Holliday from the St. Louis Cardinals to the team.
Stout said catchers Jason Varitek "is pretty much gone" for next season and Victor Martinez could be on the chopping block because they cannot throw.
Even though David Ortiz has had a spotty performance this year, Stout said he has a big contract and is "basically untradeable" because he has limited skills.
"He's not hitting doubles anymore. He's striking out way too much. You can pitch around him," Stout noted. "He doesn't scare you to death, which is what he did to every pitcher in the league the last four or five years."
The Angels now go on to play the Yankees for the American League Championship Series. Stout said it could be the Yankees' year.
"They're beatable, but boy it's not going to be very easy." Stout said. "They seem to be doing absolutely everything they need to be doing."
WBUR's Kathleen McNerney compiled this report.
Click "Listen Now" to hear WBUR's Bob Oakes and baseball analyst Glenn Stout talk about what's next for the Red Sox.
This program aired on October 12, 2009.
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