WS Game 5: Shippin’ Up to Boston
by Charlie Blasberg on Monday, October 28th, 2013
And the Cardinals’ woes against left-handed pitching continue. After being shut down by Felix Doubront in Games 3 and 4, the Cardinals fell once again to the south-pawed Lester tonight. With the exception of the fourth inning, in which Holliday homered and Beltran almost repeated for back-to-back bombs, Lester was untouchable tonight. He plowed through 7 2/3 innings, giving up just one run on 91 pitches, and his ERA in this World Series is 0.59. Uehara relieved Lester for the last out of the 8th and the 9th and did his business as usual. The Red Sox’ defense was sound tonight, as they broke a streak of 5 consecutive games with at least one error. With Jon Lester on the mound, the Birds put few hard-hit balls into play and didn’t really give the Red Sox opportunities to make errors. All in all, the Sox kept their momentum from last night and rolled through Game 5 without looking back.
David Ortiz is unstoppable. He is locked in. I’m sorry, Mike Napoli. As long as Ortiz was swinging the bat like that, you wouldn’t have seen the light of day in St. Louis. Big Papi, deemed Señor Octubre by Fox, is batting .733 in the World Series. This is unheard of. Señor will be the undisputed World Series MVP for a performance in the batter’s box, the likes of which no one has ever seen before and no one will ever see again. I can assure you that. If Ortiz was hitting with a wiffle ball bat, he could still find a way to get on base and drive in runs. That’s the degree to which he has stepped up in this World Series. Even if the Sox lose the series, Ortiz deserves to join the 1960 Yankee’s second baseman Bobby Richardson as the second player to ever lose the World Series and win the World Series MVP.
Red Sox batters struck out 14 times tonight. That is a lot considering the league leader in strikeouts, Mike Napoli, didn’t even have a chance to strikeout. Going down by way of the K has plagued this Red Sox offense this postseason, especially in the ALCS against Detroit. People argue that strikeouts are just another out. They are not. That is one of the most ignorant things anyone can ever say. Strikeouts neither advance base runners nor do they give fielders the opportunities to make errors (which have been very common in this series). Runners cannot tag up on a strikeout. Strikeouts also pump confidence into pitchers. Once a pitcher fans one batter, he’s more likely to mow down the following hitters. Bottom line: the Red Sox need to stop striking out and start testing the St. Louis defense, which has already committed 7 errors in this postseason (3 of which occurred in Fenway Park).
If Victorino is hurt, don’t make him play. They Sox are doing fine without him. A healthy Daniel Nava or Jonny Gomes will do more for the Red Sox than an ailing Shane Victorino. Victorino had gone 0 for 10 at the plate in the series before being yanked before Game 4. Daniel Nava contributed with a couple of RBIs in the Game 3 loss, and Jonny Gomes put the Sox ahead last night with his three-run shot. We will miss you, Shane Victorino, but start your offseason early and leave your sorry beard and cold bat on the bench. The only concern is that he is the Red Sock most comfortable with that tricky right field wall at Fenway. With the series heading back to Boston, both Nava and Gomes know how to play the monster, but can Nava adjust to Fenway’s funky right field?
Game 6 on Wednesday night is a must-win for the Sox. Game 7 is just the flip of a coin. Anything can happen and anyone can win. The struggling Jake Peavy would start and on top of that, the game is scheduled for Halloween, which is slightly unsettling. Lackey, the unlucky loser of Game 2, will take the mound again for the Sox against the Cards’ Michael Waccha in Game 6. Lackey is a full 10 years older than Waccha, and his experience and tenacity will show on Wednesday night. Despite his ups and downs over the regular season, Lackey has been lights out in this postseason. He has experience in the big stage. He made 12 postseason starts for Mike Scioscia during his tenure in Anaheim. As a rookie in 2002, Lackey pitched the Angels to a World Series win in Game 7 against the Giants. He has delivered in the clutch before, and he will do it again Wednesday night.
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