The Red Sox were widely expected to contend for the AL East crown and a trip back to the World Series this year, and for about 4˝ months, those goals remained realistic. While their season more or less ended with a five-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees, the seeds of the Red Sox's demise were already sown earlier in the year -- and even a bit in the offseason.
The one thing that sank the Sox more than anything else has been the wave of injuries that hit the team this summer. A good team, particularly one with some depth, can survive a few injuries, even one or two to major players, as long as they don't all come at once. But the Sox found themselves without Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon and Tim Wakefield for a good chunk of August, and even had a week when they were without those three players as well as David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, with Curt Schilling missing a start for good measure. How much the Sox could have done to prevent or minimize time lost to the DL is debatable, but at least some of this was out of their control.