Boston Red Sox: Top 10 postseason performances of the 21st century

David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox
Pitcher Keith Foulke of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox top postseason performer No. 6: Keith Foulke, 2004

If you don’t have the clip of Keith Foulke recording the final out of the 2004 World Series ingrained your memory by now, your status as a Red Sox is in serious question. While just about everyone remembers Foulke’s final out, not everyone remembers just how dominant he was during that postseason, as he was easily Boston’s most effective pitcher during their curse-breaking run.

Foulke began the postseason in dominant fashion against the Anaheim Angels. He pitched a clean inning and a third in Game 2 to put the Angels on the brink, and in the following game, he deftly navigated a bases loaded, one out situation in the top of the ninth with the score tied at six, picking up a pair of huge strikeouts against Garrett Anderson and Troy Glaus. Boston would eventually win the game in the bottom of the tenth inning thanks to Foulke’s clutch pitching.

In the ALCS against the Yankees, Foulke got big outs in both Games 1 & 2 to help keep Boston’s deficits manageable heading into the ninth, but ultimately the offense couldn’t deliver. Arguably Foulke’s best outing of the postseason though came in Game 4, as he pitched 2.2 innings and managed to keep the score at 4-3, giving Boston just enough time to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth.

Foulke was again called upon for clutch outs in Game 5, and managed to get out of a two out, runners on the corners jam in the top of the eighth. In the ninth, he stranded two runners in scoring position, sending the game to extras for the second consecutive night. Foulke got the call for the save in Game 6, and worked around a pair of walks to force a Game 7. Foulke’s three game stretch of dominance from Games 4-6 was crucial in Boston pulling off a comeback.

In the World Series, Foulke initially struggled in Game 1 and actually ended up blowing the save, although he didn’t get much help from Alan Embree making a mess before him and Manny Ramirez committing an error out in left field. He would eventually be bailed out by Mark Bellhorn, and picked up the win after getting through the ninth inning unscathed.

Foulke was called upon for the final three games, and aside from allowing a solo homer to Larry Walker in Game 3, he was unhittable the rest of the way out. He was the star of the final out that broke the Curse of the Bambino, and after his performance throughout the rest of the postseason, it was clear he was deserving of recording the out that broke the curse.