Rematch of 2004 with Red Sox vs. Cardinals in World Series
Nothing big happened this weekend right?!
I’ll spare you the play by play of the game, because most of you either were there (I was) or you watched it. But Game 6 against the Tigers was the epitome of the Red Sox postseason. Collectively, the offense didn’t do much, but when they needed a big hit, someone delivered.
After missing out on a scoring chance in the 6th (I don’t even want to talk about the Red Sox bunting in the ALCS), Boston broke out in the 7th. Johnny Gomes nearly tied it on a double off the Monster. A feeble bunt attempt by Stephen Drew was the first out. Xander Bogaerts walked (I’ll get into him in depth in a bit). Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an error by Jose Iglesias and Shane Victorino launched a grand slam on an 0-2 pitch. As I was sitting in the stands with PawSox VP of Public Relations, Bill Wanless, I said, “All Veras has is that slider. He’s going to hang one here.” BOOM! Red Sox lead 5-2. Tigers deflated and done.
The bullpen, AGAIN, was excellent (with the exception of Franklin Morales). Brandon Workman came in with runners on the corners with no outs in the 6th, after Detroit had just taken the lead, and got a double play without a run scoring before striking out Alex Avila to end the frame with the Sox trailing by just a run, 2-1. He allowed a couple infield singles in the 7th before Junichi Tazawa got Miguel Cabrera to ground out to end the inning. And, as much as Drew has struggled at the plate, his defense at short has been outstanding.
Craig Breslow did his thing in the 8th going 1-2-3 when Detroit had the wind knocked out of them on Victorino’s slam. Then Koji…two strikeouts including the final punch out of the ALCS against his former teammate, Iglesias, to seal the Red Sox American League Championship, their 3rd in 10 years. Koji was a well deserved ALCS MVP!
Overall, as mentioned, the offense was not spectacular. They were held to a .202 batting average and struck out 73 times in 193 at-bats in the six games. Really, three swings won three games. Ortiz’ grand slam in the 8th of Game 2 tied the game and sucked the life out of Detroit. Mike Napoli’s solo homer in Game 3 was the only run that scored in the Red Sox victory. And, Victorino’s blast in Game 6. Three swings won three of Boston’s four in the series.
Now, to Bogaerts. 21-years-old and the kid gets on base in eight of his 11 times to the plate. Three hits, all doubles, with five walks and seven runs scored (second most on the club behind Ellsbury’s 10). We saw it over the two months he was in Pawtucket that he was special with his offensive ability and his patience, but what he has done in his opportunities in the playoffs is simply amazing. Flawless defense. Clutch at-bats. Rally starter, run scorer and having a blast doing it. There are times when you see young players come up and while they’re at the plate, they have some twitching in the legs. Bogaerts doesn’t twitch. He doesn’t freeze. He just smiles and plays his game. We were spoiled to have him in a PawSox uniform for two months. The only way he’d be back is if he is on a rehab assignment.
In the National League, the Cardinals blasted the Dodgers 9-0 on Friday night to advance to their 2nd World Series in three years.
Michael Wacha shoved, again, throwing seven scoreless innings out-dueling Clayton Kershaw. Wacha has now made three starts in the playoffs allowing just one run over 21 innings of work, a 0.43 ERA.
Los Angeles had just three base runners in Game 6 as the lone former PawSox player not in Boston, Carl Crawford, got on base twice with a single and a walk. He finished the postseason hitting .310 with four homers and six RBI. He scored a team high eight runs.
So, here we go Wednesday for Game 1 at Fenway between the Cardinals and Red Sox. Adam Wainwright gets the start for St. Louis with Jon Lester probable for Boston.
Over the next couple of days leading up to the game, I’ll dive into position by position comparisons with their strengths and weaknesses. Looking at things as they stand, it’s a very even series, but I’ll get into all of that over the next two days.
I’ve got a unique perspective as I’m obviously working for the Red Sox now, but had spent the previous three years in the Cardinals system in Double-A Springfield. I have seen almost all of the St. Louis roster in person within the last few years. I’ve got more than a little insight on these players on both sides. So, to say the least, it’s going to be a GREAT series to watch!