Sunday, October 20, 2013
Red Sox Punch Ticket to Their 3rd World Series in 10 Years
The Red Sox are going to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series, a rematch of 2004, after Boston knocked out Detroit in six truly thrilling games. Tonight at Fenway Park, the Red Sox beat the Tigers 5-2 thanks to a clutch grand slam by Shane Victorino in the seventh inning that put them ahead 5-2. Craig Breslow got a 1-2-3 eighth and ALCS MVP Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts for his third save of the series (plus 1 win). Game 1 of the World Series is Wednesday (8:07, Fox) at Fenway.
The themes built up over the previous five games continued one more time: Max Scherzer (0-1) was excellent (6.1 innings, 3 earned runs, 4 hits, 8 strikeouts, 5 walks) but his bullpen was not. Boston's bullpen was superb, well other than Franklin Morales who allowed a two-run single to Victor Martinez that temporarily put Detroit ahead 2-1 in the sixth. I don't blame Morales as much as John Farrell for that mind-numbing move since Morales is terrible. Oh well, no reason to worry about that blunder too much now. Haha let's just hope Morales isn't on the World Series roster.
Clay Buchholz (5 innings, 2 earned runs, 4 hits, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks) pitched at a snail's pace but he was better than Game 1. After Morales failed, Brandon Workman (who should have been the first reliever) got five outs and Junichi Tazawa (1-0) retired Miguel Cabrera for the third time in the ALCS, in this instance there were runners on first and second with two outs.
Compared to Prince Fielder though, Cabrera had the greatest ALCS in history. Prince proved what a dog he is by hitting .182 in six games with no RBIs. He's gone 20 postseason games without a homer or RBI, how's that even possible? His series was best summed up by him getting caught too far off third then belly flopping five feet short of the bag for a soul-crushing double play.
Jacoby Ellsbury drove in budding superstar Xander Bogaerts (double, two runs, two walks) for a 1-0 Red Sox lead in the fifth. The rookie also drew a key walk vs. Scherzer in the sixth that led to him getting pulled a few batters later and Victorino's memorable grand slam over the Monster. Bogaerts will start every game in the World Series and deservedly so. I'd love to see Will Middlebrooks at third base and Bogaerts at third but Stephen Drew's excellent dive and throw to first likely earned him more leeway despite him being 1-for-20 (even Prince thinks that's bad) with nine strikeouts in the ALCS.
You can't say enough about the importance of not going seven games with Detroit. The Cardinals eliminated the Dodgers last night so they don't have much of a headstart on Boston plus thanks to the stupid All-Star Game, the Red Sox have homefield advantage. Both teams are gunning for their third World Series crown in the last decade and Boston swept St. Louis in 2004 (you might have heard about that). Anything can happen in the World Series but I expect it to be extremely competitive, think ALCS, but the Cardinals are deeper and more fundamentally sound than the Tigers who self-destructed much like the Rays in the ALDS.
This is the 11th time in franchise history that the Red Sox have made the World Series (6-4) and fourth time it is against St. Louis: Cardinals beat them in seven games in 1946 and 1967 before Boston returned the favor nine years ago. Four more wins!