WS Game 6: Oh What a Night
by Charlie Blasberg on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
The scruffy misfits of Yawkey Way finally have something to show for this saga (besides their shaved beards carpeting the floor of their bathrooms next week). And rightfully so. No team in baseball deserves this title more than the Red Sox – not the Cardinals, not the Tigers, and certainly not the evil New York Yankees (beating the Yankees always feels great, even if they were terrible this year).
The Sox and Cardinals came into the Fall Classic very evenly matched. Both teams finished with a record of 97-65 tied for the best record in baseball. Both teams have power and production throughout their orders, deep rotations, and strong bullpens. Both were tried in their respective LCS’s and both teams won in 6 games. Besides Games 1 and 6, this World Series reflected even tilt; the largest margin of victory in the other games was two runs. However, in the first and last games of the series, the Red Sox put on the laser show that Sox fans have grown accustomed to this year.
In my last column, I trashed on Shane Victorino. I’ll own up to it. In case you missed that one, I said something along the lines of, “Pack your golf bag, Shane, because your offseason should start as soon as the plane lands from St. Louis. You couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat. Your beard looks like my grandfather’s chest hair.” Boy, am I glad that I was wrong. Victorino seems to have found a home in Game 6s (and no other games in the postseason). In the ALCS against Detroit, he was batting 2 for 22 until he popped a grand slam over the monster to drive in the go-ahead runs and put the Red Sox in the World Series. In the World Series, he was 0-11 when he rocked a 3-run wall ball double off the Monster to boost the Sox to their 8th championship in franchise history and 3rd in a decade.
Tonight, the pitching matchup turned out to be lopsided. While Lackey pounded the strike zone, it was easy to see that Adam Waccha did not bring his A-game. His fastball looked like a beach ball for the Beantown hitters to teed off on during the third and fourth innings. Stephen Drew hit a home run. As a pitcher in this postseason, you pray that Drew comes up in anything that slightly resembles a clutch situation. He had sunken that low. He was the Major League equivalent to the 4-foot, 60-pound number 9 hitter on my Little League team. The chances of him making contact were slim and the chances of him getting a hit were slimmer. The possibility of a Stephen Drew homerun did not enter my mind this entire postseason until his ball actually landed in the bullpen tonight. That is how you know that Adam Waccha was not “on” tonight. When Stephen Drew takes you yard, you know that it’s just not your night.
This game was comfortable except for one instance in the top of the seventh inning. John Lackey had given up consecutive hits and was clearly done for the night when John Farrell emerged from the dugout. 30 seconds later, Farrell re-entered the dugout and Lackey was still on the mound. Sox fans around the globe thought in unison, “Grady Little…” as they recalled Grady Little keeping Pedro on the mound in the 8th inning to get smacked by the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. To Red Sox Nation’s relief, Farrell yanked Lackey after his very next batter, and Tazawa came in to get the Sox out of the jam and into the ninth.
This World Series victory not only redeems the Red Sox of last year, who played ball like a miserable ensemble of classless losers, but it also redeems the Red Sox of 1967, who, like our 2013 heroes, made it to the Fall Classic on an “impossible dream.” They came within one game of realizing that dream but fell short to the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 Games. So this one was for you, Yaz. Here’s to you Jim Lonborg, Dick Williams, and Rico Petrocelli. Here’s to the Impossible Dream Red Sox of 1967. And of 2013. Here’s to the World Champion Boston Red Sox.
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