|10.31.13 at 12:48 am ET|
David Ortiz‘s incredible performance has earned him World Series MVP honors. The Red Sox designated hitter posted a .688/.760/1.188 line in the series to go along with two home runs, six RBIs and seven runs scored.
Ortiz reached base 19 times in the series, breaking the record for a six-game World Series. His 11 hits were one shy of the record for most hits in a six-game World Series. At one point, he reached base in nine straight plate appearances, tying a World Series record. His .688 average was the second-highest in World Series history.
After pitching to him for most of the series, the Cardinals finally decided to take the bat out of Ortiz’s hands in Game 6, walking him four times, three intentionally. That tied a postseason record.
|10.30.13 at 11:24 pm ET|
The Improbable Dream became reality on Wednesday night at 11:22 p.m., when the 2013 Red Sox became the unlikeliest title winners in franchise history when closer Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter to close out a 6-1 victory over the Cardinals, thus concluding a six-game World Series triumph.
As if to dispel the doubts of those who might have been skeptical of such a plot line, the Red Sox claimed their World Series-clinching victory on home soil, the first title won at Fenway Park since the 1918 edition, led by George Herman Ruth, accomplished the feat at a time when the nation was more preoccupied with World War I than the baseball happenings in Boston.
Now, as in 1918, the Red Sox can claim that their championship — won against a Cardinals franchise that defeated them in seven-game World Series in 1946 and 1967 — cements their place as the most successful franchise of an extended era. That 1918 team won the franchise’s fourth title in seven seasons. This crown marks the third for the Sox in the last 10 seasons; since 2001, no other franchise has won more than two titles.
Yet this championship was drastically different from the first two that the Sox enjoyed this century. In 2004, the Red Sox had been constructed quite clearly to win a title after coming within five outs of advancing to the World Series in 2003. In 2007, the team responded to an 86-win season with an effort to construct, in the words of CEO Larry Lucchino, a “juggernaut.”
Not so in 2013 — or, at least, it didn’t appear that way.
The number of people inclined to place a wager on the 30-to-1 odds for the Red Sox to win a championship on April 1 may have been limited to the 25 players on the Opening Day roster — and they, of course, were expressly prohibited by Major League rules from betting on their own fortunes. Beyond the walls of the clubhouse, the few people audacious enough to suggest the possibility of a title in 2013 might have been dismissed for their lunacy.
The Red Sox’ stated goal last offseason, after all, following the train wreck of a 69-93 campaign in 2012 that earned the franchise its worst record since 1965, was merely to be better than last year’s mess. Towards that end, the team experienced enormous turnover — beginning, in some ways most importantly, with the quick dismissal of Bobby Valentine as manager and his swift replacement with John Farrell, and followed by the acquisition of seven free agents (in order: David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Uehara, Ryan Dempster, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli) to reconstruct a roster that was gutted when the Sox made a transformative trade to get rid of its priciest players (Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett) last August.
A team that had customarily announced bold goals during the winter — 95 wins, the postseason — conscientiously avoided doing so entering 2013. GM Ben Cherington‘s eyes were on the “next great Red Sox team,” with no announced timeframe for when it might arrive.
Yet even early, the Sox played with a team determined to operate on their own timetable for bringing that vision to fruition. The team displayed both dynamism and depth on Opening Day in New York, a game won with the critical signal of Jon Lester looking commanding after his struggles of a year ago. The team rolled to an 18-8 first month, in the process, finding an unwanted cause around which to rally. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.30.13 at 7:50 pm ET|
Considering that the Cardinals’ situation Tuesday — stuck on a tarmac for seven hours with some of the most important people in their lives, including no shortage of young children — would be some folks’ worst nightmare, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was pleased with the way his team handled it.
“Impressive, to be honest with you,” Matheny said. “I didn’t hear any complaining at all. Normally guys are, even if they’re just in jest, they’re still throwing some things out there, but we didn’t hear anything. But guys did what they do.
“They hung out with their families. They hung out with each other. There was a lot of fooling around going on. Guys were making the best of a situation they knew we didn’t have any control over.”
Right-hander Joe Kelly, a likely candidate to start a potential Game 7, said the team made light of it all and kept themselves busy — watching each others’ kids, sitting around and chatting, killing time on Twitter. He enjoyed the “#cardinalsplaneproblems” hashtag in particular.
“We don’t want to do it all the time, but it wasn’t bad,” Kelly said. “It’s very rare, and so you’ve got to take the fun in whatever situation you’re at and just try to roll with it.”
Kelly’s biggest issue: When the Cardinals did get into Boston around 11 p.m., they had a hard time finding an open restaurant.
OTHER CARDINALS PREGAME NOTES:
– It is no secret David Ortiz has given Cardinals pitching fits the last week. The designated hitter is batting .733 (11-for-15) with two doubles, two homers, four walks and six RBI through the first five games.
|10.30.13 at 7:14 pm ET|
Shane Victorino had won three Gold Gloves when he signed with the Red Sox last winter, but his fourth, the one announced Tuesday, is different. This one comes as a reward for his play in right field — Fenway’s right field, no less — in 2013, the first time he manned that position regularly since 2007.
“More than anything I think the magnitude of moving to right field, the magnitude of playing in Fenway Park, this was a big surprise,” Victorino said. “I took it as a surprise about how everybody talked about how hard Fenway Park in right field was to play. I’ve always worked hard on my defense. And I’ve always taken pride in my defense, just like Dustin [Pedroia] has and the rest of this team, collectively. I think there’s a lot of other guys that are deserving of a Gold Glove.”
The award does not come without merit. Victorino posted a 25.0 Ultimate Zone Rating, tops among right fielders in the American League and second in all of baseball behind Gerardo Parra of the Diamondbacks (26.6). The Athletics’ Josh Reddick (16.4) and the Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki (11.6), the other top right fielders in the league, were well behind Victorino by that metric, which calculates the number of runs a fielder saved as compared to an average defender at his position.
Anecdotally, of course, the banged-up outfielder stayed true to his “Flyin’ Hawaiian” nickname by making a habit of crashing into the short falls or diving full-extension to record the out whenever possible.
Victorino, however, was quick to credit those around him. He said having the defensively savvy Pedroia, who reeled in his third Gold Glove, Jacoby Ellsbury and even Mike Napoli — who impressed in his first full season as a first baseman — in his vicinity was significant.
“It’s not just myself out there,” Victorino said. “It was the [three] guys that surrounded me and the rest of the team. … We take pride in our defense, and it’s something that we’re going to continue to do and work hard at every single day.”
Pedroia, who edged the Rays’ Ben Zobrist in UZR (10.9 to 10), was similarly pleased.
“It’s definitely a huge honor,” Pedroia said. “There’s so many great second basemen in the American League. So to win that award it’s an honor. We play against them every night. You see them out there and you respect them so much the way they play the game, all of them. It’s a huge honor.”
OTHER RED SOX PREGAME NOTES:
– Victorino said he had been ready to go for Game 5, but he and manager John Farrell discussed the magnitude of the game, and given what happened the night before — Jonny Gomes hit a three-run, game-winning homer — they did not want to stray from that lineup.
|10.30.13 at 7:11 pm ET|
You know what’s at stake: The Red Sox have the opportunity to win their first World Series clincher at home since Babe Ruth donned their uniform in 1918. Couldn’t muster the thousands of dollars to get into Fenway? We’ve got you covered with the next best thing to a seat inside the pressbox. Follow the WEEI.com live blog with the latest on-the-scene news, analysis and updates as the Red Sox look to wrap up the eight title in franchise history.
|10.30.13 at 5:20 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that, “as of now,” Jake Peavy remains the starter to whom he plans to turn should the World Series reach a winner-take-all seventh game. Each time Farrell has made this claim, he’s offered some sort of qualifier (“as of now,” “right now,” etc.). And so, the manager was asked, is there something that might transpire that would result in someone other than Peavy making the start, or is Farrell simply using a default phrase to preface his remarks?
“It’s probably more the way it’s prefaced,” said Farrell.
Still, the Sox will have the rest of their pitching staff available in a potential Game 7, should the series extend to that point. The available arms, said Farrell, would include left-hander Jon Lester as well as right-hander Clay Buchholz.
“They’ll be available before this is over,” Farrell said of the team’s Game 4 and Game 5 starters.
Farrell clarified that, while Buchholz wouldn’t leapfrog other members of the bullpen in terms of their defined late-innings roles, he could be available to pitch as soon as Game 6 tonight. As for Lester, Farrell said that the lower back discomfort that he was dealing with at the end of Game 5 did not represent a significant concern.
“If there is such a thing, it was normal wear and tear,” said Farrell. “That’s what he’s dealing with.”
Farrell also had more praise for left-hander Felix Doubront, and said that the team would not hesitate to use him out of the bullpen in Game 6. He will not be avoided over concerns about his Game 7 role.
“Doubront’s available tonight. We wouldn’t hold him back for tomorrow,” said Farrell.
OTHER RED SOX NOTES
– Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, staples of the Red Sox lineup during the regular season, have found themselves relegated to reserve roles as the postseason has evolved, with Jonny Gomes and David Ross taking over primary responsibilities in left field and behind the plate. Farrell acknowledged that a drastic change of responsibilities can be hard for the players to accept, yet he can’t be beholden to player preferences in making his lineup decisions at this time of year. Read the rest of this entry »
|10.30.13 at 2:59 pm ET|
Red Sox manager John Farrell said on WEEI on Wednesday afternoon that Shane Victorino, after missing Games 4 and 5 of the World Series due to tightness in his lower back, will return to the lineup and bat sixth as the Red Sox look to clinch a championship in Game 6 of the World Series on Wednesday. As Farrell had stated on Tuesday, David Ross will serve as the catcher for John Lackey, while Jonny Gomes is back in the lineup and starting in left field, with Daniel Nava moved back to the bench.
Farrell also said that right-hander Clay Buchholz is available to contribute out of the bullpen in either Game 6 or Game 7.
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RED SOX LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Shane Victorino, RF
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
John Lackey, SP
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