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3 Up, 3 Down: Season in review

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3 Up, 3 Down: Season in review

In the season review edition of 3 up, 3 down, Jessica Moran looks back at the 2012 Red Sox.

With the way this season played out, you can be sure it was easy three downs. The hard part was picking just three. So Jessica Moran found a way around that.

The first down goes to the starting pitchers who finished the season with a franchise-high 5.19 ERA. The Big Three of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett combined for a 22-33 record.

Next in line is Bobby Valentine who was fired after leading the Red Sox to a 69-93 record, their worst record since 1965. The team nosedived after the All-Star Break, limping to the finish with a 26-50 record in the second half of the season.

And finally, the ownership group. The franchise missed the playoffs for the third straight season and finished dead last in the A.L. East.

But there were some success stories hidden way WAY underneath all the ugly candy coating.

David Ortiz put together one of his best seasons before succumbing to injuries. In 90 games, Ortiz finished with a .318 average, 23 home runs and 60 RBI, putting up his best OPS since 2007.

Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks was a revelation with his power stroke before the injury bug prematurely ended his season as well.

In 75 games, Middlebrooks pounded 15 homers and the second best slugging percentage on the team.

And finally, Cody Ross, who finished third on the team with 22 home runs while tallying 81 RBI. He also crushed left-handed pitching, to the tune of a .636 slugging percentage.

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.

The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.

Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:

"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."

After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.