Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

The Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals in six games to win the 2013 World Series last week. It’s their third title in the past decade and their eighth overall.

As a Red Sox fan, I could probably write a two-page column on how incredible Boston’s ascent from last place to World Champion (just the third team in history to do it) in just one season is, but I thought I would break down how they managed to outlast the St. Louis Cardinals over six games and clinch a World Series at home for the first time in 95 years.

This year’s World Series definitely won’t go down in history as the most dramatic or well-played series, but there were definitely some memorable moments in the six game series…..the called out at second base that was reversed in Game 1, the obstruction call in Game 3 and the pick off at first base to end Game 4. It wasn’t an exciting series, but Red Sox did enough to win.

So why did the Red Sox prevail?

Big Papi
After posting an abysmal .091 batting average in the ALCS against Detroit (he made up for it with a series-changing grand slam in game 2), Big Papi showed no mercy on the Cardinals, posting a .688 average to go along with a .760 OBP, with 5 runs scored, 2 home runs and 6 RBI. These numbers will go down in history as one of the most dominant World Series performances ever, and help cement Ortiz’s case as one of the best hitters to ever play in October.

Clutch Performances
The rest of Boston’s lineup definitely wasn’t consistent on offense. It’s crazy that Boston won the World Series when the team only hit .211 (it must have been the power of the beards). During the postseason Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes proved to be huge additions and both consistently came up big in crunch time. It seemed that every game another “cold” player contributed a big hit for the Sox…whether it was Xander Bogaerts, David Ross or Stephen Drew, the Red Sox got big hits at key moments.

While the Red Sox committed eight errors on defense, Gold Glove winner Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox defense made some nice plays and helped bail out the pitching staff on many occasions.

Speaking of the pitching staff…’s hard to ignore the numbers put up by Jon Lester (2 wins, 0.59 ERA), closer Koji Uehara (4.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, 2 saves), relief pitcher Felix Doubront (4.2 IP in relief, 1 win, 1.93 ERA) and veteran John Lackey (6.2 IP, nine hits, one earned run and five strikeouts in Game 6)

Ice Cold Cardinals
The normally clutch Cardinals bats went ice cold in the World Series. The Cardinals had success all season when batting with runners in scoring position. St. Louis only hit .214 with runners in scoring position during the series. To make things worse, they didn’t help themselves on defense. There were some costly errors (specifically in Game 1) that added to their woes.

The injuries to Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig were also key factors in this series, as the Cardinals were left with few power threats aside from Matt Holliday. The weak links in their lineup (Pete Kozma, Daniel Descalso, Jon Jay and David Freese ) were greatly exposed by Boston’s superior bullpen and their starters.
The Cardinals scored a total of four runs over their last 27 innings. During this span, the team managed a putrid 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position, a .143 mark that sealed St. Louis’ fate.

Final Analysis
Obviously, as a Sox fan I’m loving that they won, but I have to admit, I found myself flipping between channels during the first few innings and I actually fell asleep sometime during the sixth inning on Game 6. I caught the highlights from the final few innings and the celebration on SportsCenter the next morning.

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching the World Series, but the games just go too long to hold my interest….unless the game is close.

Five out of six World Series games exceeded three hours: Game 1 was 3 hours, 17 minutes; Game 2, 3:05; Game 3, 3:54 and Game 4, 3:34. Game 5 2:52, Game 6, 3:15

Sure, there are more commercials during the postseason, making the wait between innings longer. But I wish they would institute a pitch clock that would speed up the 20- to 30-second breaks between pitches when hitters step out to adjust their batting gloves. I can’t wait until they start reviewing plays next year! That should add on another hour!

Funny Stat: When the Cardinals and Red Sox met in the 1967 World Series, the average length of the seven games was only 2 hours, 22 minutes.

Week 9 NFL Picks
How did I do last week?
Last Week: 10-3, Overall: 76-45, Locks of the week: 16-3, Upset Special: 8-7.

Locks of the Week:
New Orleans at N.Y. Jets | Winner: New Orleans
Minnesota at Dallas | Winner: Dallas

Upset Special:
Tennessee at St. Louis | Winner: Tennessee
Philadelphia at Oakland | Winner: Philadelphia

The Rest:
Atlanta at Carolina | Winner: Carolina
Kansas City at Buffalo | Winner: Kansas City
San Diego at Washington | Winner: San Diego
Tampa Bay at Seattle | Winner: Seattle
Baltimore at Cleveland | Winner: Baltimore
Pittsburgh at New England | Winner: New England
Indianapolis at Houston | Winner: Indianapolis
Chicago at Green Bay | Winner: Green Bay
Redskins at Vikings (Thursday 11/7) | Winner: Vikings