Despite ALCS loss, Red Sox express positive attitude: ‘We proved a lot of people wrong’

HOUSTON — Once they got through the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series, it would’ve been hard to consider the 2021 Red Sox as anything but a success.

Sure, expectations change. And to look back at preseason projections and consider anything better than a fourth-place finish a success would’ve overlooked how well they played for three months early in the season.

And after they blew a lead in the A.L. East and had to scratch their way into a Wild Card Game, it felt like they needed to at least get through the Yankees and Rays in the postseason to make up for blowing the division.

Check, and check.

The Houston Astros were a stronger opponent that matched up better. And while the Sox’ exciting season came crashing down in a 5-0 loss in Game 6 as they were eliminated from the A.L. Championship Series, the feeling outside the Red Sox clubhouse was largely positive.

“I mean, it’s really tough, obviously,” said Kiké Hernandez, who signed a two-year, $14-million deal to play for Alex Cora. “Going home is never easy. I felt like once we got to this point, the goal was to win the World Series. We thought we were going to be able to do it. Obviously we came up short.

“But this was a hell of a ride for us this year. First day of spring training you come into this new team. The…

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