A bit of a different format as we look at the 2004 and 2007 Boston Red Sox.
Record(s): 2004 98-64 2007 96-66
Pythagorean Record(s): 2004 96-66 2007 101-61
Manager: Terry Francona
General Manager: Theo Epstein
Inspirational Symbol(s): Fake curses, bloody socks, idiots, cowboys, and Fever Pitch
2004: Jason Varitek and Doug Mirabelli. That's basically it.
2007: Jason Varitek and Doug Mirabelli. That's basically it.
2004: How many people recall Dave McCarty getting playing time? What about Brian Daubach? Andy Dominique perhaps? I didn't think so, the mainstay was Kevin Millar, although David Ortiz would get a few starts at first, and Doug Mientkiewicz would become the defensive wizard in the post-July 31st world of 2004.
2007: Kevin Youkilis and Eric Hinske would take most of the reps, although neither is probably going to be confused for Mientkiewicz, partly because both have a bat. Hinske did not have a good season (reason number one he had to settled for a non-roster invitee deal) but Youkilis bet together an extremely solid campaign.
2004: Mark Bellhorn and Pokey Reese formed a mini-platoon following the acquisition of Orlando Cabrera. Less of a "You hit those southpaws and I'll wrestle with the normal folks." And more of a "Help Pokey! My glove, it's made of suck." Rickey Gutierrez also got some playing time at second along with Bill Mueller who stared at third most of the season.
2007: Not much of a platoon here, Dustin Pedroia had an extremely solid season on his way to winning the American League rookie of the year award. Alex Cora was the only other person to touch second base with his right foot.
2004: Mueller, Youkilis, and even Bellhorn took some reps here. Mueller had a very good career. When the Cubs dealt Tim Worrell for him prior to 2001 it was an unbelievably solid move. Mueller would break his leg and only play in 70 games for the Cubs that season but he would get on-base over 40% of the time. He would return to San Francisco in late 2002 for Jeff Verplancke despite being above average for the north siders and the Sox would sign him in free agency.
2007: Mike Lowell would get his second championship ring in a matter of seasons with the Sox. He'd also pick just about the best possible time to win World Series MVP with his impending free agency on the brink. Of course Alex Rodriguez' announcement ensured he wouldn't be the best third baseman from his own division on the market, but hey, you can't blame him for that.
2004: As mentioned Reese would play short along with Nomar Garciaparra until Orlando Cabrera was acquired. This was of course when Cabrera was with the Expos, who I miss, especially their road uniforms.
2007: Julio Lugo played short, although not particularly well. Cora and even Royce Clayton got a little action though.
2004: Manny! Millar, Gabe Kapler, and even Dave Roberts tried giving the Sox a little defensive help. Johnny Damon manned center, and Trot Nixon (amongst those previously mentioned) toed near Pesky's Pole.
2007: Manny! Jacoby Ellsbury provided some defensive relief, and a combo of Hinske, Willy Mo Pena, and Bobby Kielty also took turns playing wall ball. Coco Crisp and J.D. Drew formed the rest of the outfield although I'm not really sure it's as big of an upgrade then as it looks now.
2004/2007: David Ortiz, another undervalued find for Theo and company.
2004: Derek Lowe, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Bronson Arroyo
2007: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Jon Lester
2004: Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, Alan Embree, Curt Leskanic, Scott Williamson
2007: Jon Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Javier Lopez, Mike Timlin, Eric Gagne