World Series Under Way
The 109th World Series Brings Overwhelming Support from a City Already Devoted to the Boston Red Sox
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 00:10
The Boston Red Sox earned themselves yet another week to continue their tradition of burly playoff beards and mustaches when they won the American League Championship Series and prepared to advance to their third World Series in 10 seasons.
An 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series proved their place as one of the top two teams in Major League Baseball.
Sox pitcher John Lester kept the Cardinals scoreless through seven and two-thirds innings. With two home runs in Game 1 (four overall through the playoffs), David Ortiz came within one grand slam of the club record for a single postseason. Historically, the Sox have won the last nine World Series games they have played in.
With an atrocious 69-93 record last year and last place in the AL East division, the Red Sox went from worst to first in just one year.
“Certainly, we hoped and prayed for it,” said the Red Sox chief executive and president, Larry Lucchino, according to The New York Times. “But we didn’t specifically plan for this. We never thought we could come so far so fast. We just wanted to get going in the right direction.”
That positive direction came off the bat of Red Sox slugger Shane Victorino last Saturday night.
Going into game six, the Red Sox had a 3-2 lead over the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. Last Saturday proved to be a dramatic 5-2 win over the formidable AL Central Champion Tigers. With 21-game-winning ace Max Scherzer on the mound, Detroit took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning. Just as they did in game two of the series, the Red Sox waited until Scherzer left the game in the sixth to punish the Tigers’ bullpen. The Tigers held the lead until Boston loaded the bases on a double, walk, and an error by Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias. Then Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino came up to the plate, and launched an 0-2 curveball from Jose Veras over the Green Monster for a grand slam. Victorino’s second grand slam of his postseason career sealed the game for the Red Sox.
“It’s real surreal,” Ryan Dempster told The Chicago Tribune. “We worked really hard all year and it’s been an incredible team of everyone taking a turn. Whether it’s starting pitcher, a reliever, a closer, a guy off the bench, someone stepped up every night.”
Detroit’s praised offense never got on track in the series. Slumping slugger Prince Fielder couldn’t get a hot bat, while triple-crown winner Miguel Cabrera battled with abdominal and groin injuries. Fielder finished the series 4-22 (.182) with no runs batted in. Cabrera was a mere 6-22 (.273), yet he batted a league-leading .348 during the regular season.
“It breaks your heart as a manager,” said the Tigers’ skipper Jim Leyland. “It’s really a shame for the whole baseball world because they’re not getting a chance to see them at their best.”
In game two, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hit a game-tying grand slam, but on Saturday it was Victorino’s turn in the spotlight.
“It was a special moment,” Victorino said. “It’s been a special year. We all battled, and special moments like this, you cherish it.”
The Red Sox’s success this season is due to the addition of several new players like Victorino, and new manager John Farrell, who are key components to this American League Championship. Koji Uehara also became a reborn closer, earning his third save of the ALCS on Saturday, and was named its most valuable player.
“We’ve got so many MVPs on this team,” said Boston’s catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
For the fourth time in their history, and the second time in 10 seasons, the Red Sox will face off against the National League Champions, St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals won the NL pennant last Friday night by eliminating the LA Dodgers in six games.
This World Series will be a rematch of 2004, when Boston swept the Cardinals in four games. The Cardinals and Red Sox also met in 1946 and 1967, both of which St. Louis won in seven games. Recently, the Red Sox swept Colorado in the 2007 series.
Game 2 of the World Series will take place tonight at Fenway Park, with the first pitch thrown at 8:07 p.m.