The Sea Dogs were attempting to become the first Red Sox affiliate to reach the playoffs in five consecutive seasons since the Scranton Red Sox from 1939-43. But the run came to an end with a fourth-place finish in the division, 151/2 games out of first and five games out of a playoff spot.
Hopes were high to start the season with the Red Sox’s top prospect Lars Anderson and highly touted pitching prospect Junichi Tazawa in Portland, along with a core group of returning players such as Aaron Bates, Bubba Bell and Jorge Jimenez.
Tazawa, 22, started on opening day and the former Japanese Industrial League star allowed one run over five innings while striking out seven. Tazawa picked up the loss, but went on to post a 9-5 record with a 2.57 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 18 starts with Portland.
Outfielder Ryan Kalish was promoted to the Sea Dogs from Class A Salem in early May. After getting just one hit in his first 23 at-bats, he finished the season by hitting .271 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI.
Four Sea Dogs were named to the Eastern League All-Star Game – Anderson, Tazawa, Jimenez and T.J. Large.
Large and Tazawa would both be promoted to Pawtucket after the All-Star break, while Jimenez was named team MVP after hitting .289 with 13 home runs and 87 RBI. Felix Doubront was a top pitcher, compiling an 8-6 record with a 3.35 ERA and 101 strikeouts.
The 2009 season also included three major league rehab assignments from the Red Sox. John Smoltz, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jed Lowrie all made appearances with the Sea Dogs, but unfortunately for local fans, all three appearances took place on the road.
Four Sea Dogs from the 2009 season would make their major league debut with the Red Sox that year: Aaron Bates, Josh Reddick, Dustin Richardson and Tazawa. The 2009 Red Sox would feature a total of 26 former Sea Dogs, including All-Stars Josh Beckett, Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia.