Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shane Victorino Drives in Four as Red Sox Capture World Series

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 30, 2013

World Series Game Six

The Boston Red Sox grabbed the momentum with their 3-1 win at St. Louis in game five, and it carried through to a series-clinching effort in a 6-1victory over the Cardinals in game six.

Shane Victorino
Shane Victorino, who had missed games four and five with a sore back, was feeling no pain when he tripled with the bases loaded in the third inning to put Boston up 3-0, a lead they would never relinquish as they captured their third world series championship in the last ten years.

Victorino delivered in big spots for Boston, singling in another run with the bases full in the fourth for a 6-0 lead.

St. Louis had their chances, putting two runners aboard with less than two outs in the second and fourth and fifth innings, only to have Red Sox starter, John Lackey, make key pitches for outs to end the threats.

The Cardinals, who led the major leagues in batting with runners in scoring position, were woefully inefficient throughout the series and especially in game six, stranding nine.

St. Louis finally broke through in the top of the seventh, when Carlos Beltran stroked a single to left with two outs and runners on second and third. The Cardinals eventually loaded the bases, chasing John Lackey, courtesy of a wild pitch and a walk to Matt Holliday, but Junichi Tazawa came on to get Allen Craig on a ground out to first.

Yesterday's Trivia Answer: Christy Matthewson threw four World Series shutouts.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jon Lester's 7 2/3 Shutout Innings Sends Series Back to Boston; Red Sox Lead, 3-2

Players of the Day for Monday, October 28, 2013

World Series Game Five

Jon Lester
Boston's Jon Lester was rock-solid in Game One - an 8-1 Red Sox Rout - and turned in another shining performance in Game Five of the 2013 World Series, to put St. Louis in a hole, three games to two, and send the series back to Boston.

Lester subdued St. Louis bats for 7 2/3 innings Monday night, yielding only a fourth-inning, Matt Holliday home run which tied the game at 1-1, but his teammates came back with a pair of scores off Cardinal starter, Adam Wainwright, in the seventh, producing a 3-1 win for the Red Sox.

Lester allowed four hits, struck out seven and issued no walks, many St. Louis batters completely off-balance against the post-season master, who scored his second World Series win this season and is 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA during the playoffs in 2013.

With the 3-2 lead in games, the series heads back to Boston for game six on Wednesday and, if necessary, game seven, Thursday night.

First pitch is slated for 8:07 pm EDT. John Lackey gets the nod for Boston; Michael Wacha goes to the mound for St. Louis.

Today's Trivia: The record for career shutouts by a pitcher in the World Series is four. Who holds claim to that mark? (answer Thursday)

Yesterday's Answer: Mickey Mantle holds the all-time World Series career total bases record, 123.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Red Sox Knot Series, 2-2, on Jonny Gomes' 3-Run Homer

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 27, 2013

World Series Game Four

With St. Louis starter, Lance Lynn departed after yielding a two-out single to Dustin Pedroia and then giving up first base to David Ortiz on a four-pitch "pitch-around", Jonny Gomes faced reliever Seth Maness in the sixth inning of World Series game four, the score tied 1-1 and Boston in dire need of a win.

Jonny Gomes
Maness worked the count to 2-2, but Gomes dug in and belted a high slider deep and over the left field fence, driving in three runs and giving the Red Sox what would turn out to be an insurmountable lead.

Maybe Cardinal manager Mike Matheny's move to lift Lynn was a mistake; after all, Lynn had only given up three hits and thrown 89 pitches. He still looked sharp and in control. Nonetheless, the crucial move was made, costing the Cardinals the game, tying the series at two games apiece and setting up a critical game five Monday night in St. Louis.

The Cardinals were able to produce another run, in the seventh, but their lack of power (no homers in the last three games and only one for the entire series) is beginning to appear a problem as the Red Sox won game four, 4-2. The Red Sox won the one game they needed to offset St. Louis' game two win in Boston, making Monday night's match-up - a repeat of the game one pairing of Adam Wainwright and Jon Lester - a must-win for both teams.

Game five starts at 8:07 pm EDT in St. Louis.

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Today's Trivia: Who is the all-time career leader in world Series total bases? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Reggie Jackson in 1977 and Willie Stargell in 1979 each accounted for 25 total bases in the World Series.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Matt Holliday Drives in Three as Cardinals Take 2-1 World Series Edge on Bizarre Ending

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 26, 2013

World Series Game Three

Matt Holiday drove in three runs to help position the Cardinals for a wild ninth-inning ending, putting St. Louis up two games to one with a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.

Holliday: 2-5, 3RBI
Prior to Allen Craig doubling and scoring the game-winner on an obstruction call, Holliday had gotten the Cardinals out to an early lead with an RBI single in the first as St. Louis scored a pair off Boaston starter, Jake Peavy. After Boston tied the game at 2-2, with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, Holliday delivered a two-run double in the seventh to give St. Louis what looked, at the time, a safe lead.

Boston re-tied the contest with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth and the game appeared headed for extra innings after the Cardinals failed to produce in the bottom of the eighth. But, Yadier Molina singled with one out in the ninth, followed by Craig's double as a pinch-hitter for reliever Trevor Rosenthal.

With runners at second and third and the infield playing in, Jon Jay grounded to second baseman, Dustin Pedroia, who threw home to nail Molina at the plate. Boston catcher, Jerrod Saltalamacchia, whipped a throw to third base in an attempt to gun down Craig, who was trying to advance on the play. The ball eluded third baseman, Will Middlebrooks, who lay prone in the third-to-home basepath when Criag rose from his slide and attempted to slide, but tripped over Middlebrooks, falling face-first to the ground.

Craig continued down the line, the throw beating him to the plate, where Saltalamacchia applied the tag, but the play was overruled by third base umpire Jim Joyce, who awarded Criag home on grounds of obstruction by Middlebrooks, an obvious and correct call.

Notes: Both teams emptied their respective benches in a managerial free-for-all. St. Louis used 18 players, six of them pitchers, while Boston fielded 17, also employing six hurlers, though Mike Napoli, Boston's surest power hitter, sat the bench throughout.

-- As is often the case in World Series games, little things matter, such as Matt Carpenter reaching on a checked swing to shortstop Xander Bogaerts (moved from third to short to start the inning). Bogaerts got to Carpenter's dribbler, but threw wide to first base, manned by David Ortiz, who had played the position all of five times during the regular season. Ortiz failed to come up with the ball and Carpenter later scored the go-ahead run, breaking a 2-2 tie, on Holliday's double down the left field line.

-- The Cardinals won for the second straight time without the benefit of a home run. Matt Holliday has the only St. Louis homer thus far, a ninth-inning solo shot in game one, an 8-1 Boston rout.

Game four starters are Lance Lynn for St. Louis and Clay Buchholz for Boston, with first pitch slated for 8:07 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: The record for total bases in a World Series is 25, shared by which two players? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: David Freese set the standard for total bases in a single post-season with 40 in 2011.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Jay Jay Leads Cardinals over Red Sox, 4-2, Sends Series to St. Louis

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 24, 2013

World Series Game Two

After an embarrassing game one loss, St. Louis regrouped, topping the Red Sox, 4-2, to tie the series at a game apiece.

Matt Holliday scored he game's first run in the fourth inning, as Cardinal rookie phenom, Michael Wacha, and Boston's John Lackey locked into a pitching duel. Holliday tripled to deep center leading off the inning and scored when Yadier Molina grounded out to second.

The Red Sox responded in the sixth, finally getting to Wacha when Dustin Pedroia worked a one out walk and David Ortiz followed with a home run over the Green Monster in left field, giving the Sox a 2-1 lead.

Jon Jay
The crucial plays came in the seventh inning as St. Louis responded. David Freese walked with one out and advanced to second on Jon Jay's single to right. That was all for Lackey, replaced on the mound by reliever Craig Breslow. Pete Kozma came on to run for Freese. The Cardinals pulled off a double steal, Kozma advancing to third, Jay to second, as Boston catcher, Jerrod Saltalamacchia, could not get the ball out of his glove and did not produce a throw.

David Descalso worked a walk to load the bases, bringing leadoff hitter, Matt Carpenter, to the plate. Carpenter lofted a ball to shallow left field, Kozma tagged and beat the throw by Shane Victorino, which was off line, toward the first base side. The ball glanced off Saltalamacchia's glove, but Breslow was in position to back up the play.

Jay made a bee-line for third base, and Breslow's throw sailed over the head of Boston third baseman, Xander Bogaerts, and into the stands. Jay scored, Descalso advancing to third, giving the Cardinals the lead again, at 3-2. The next batter, Carlos Beltran, added an insurance run, stroking a single to right, bringing Descalso home.

Given the two-run lead, Cardinal relievers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal were magnificent. Martinez worked the seventh and eighth, allowing one hit while striking out three. Rosenthal was all business in the ninth, striking out the side on eleven pitches to end the game and send the series back to St. Louis for games three, four and five, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Jay's single, stolen base and alert base-running in the seventh were the keys to the St. Louis win, putting pressure back on Boston, as they must make lineup changes in St. Louis, where the DL rule will not be in effect. If Boston wants to keep Ortiz and Mike Napoli in the lineup, they'll be at unfamiliar positions. Ortiz, Boston's regular DH, will be at first, while Napoli, who spent years with the Angels and Rangers primarily as a catcher, has played first base all season and has not been behind the plate since last season.

Today's Trivia: Who holds the record for total bases in a single post-season? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Bernie Williams of the New York Yankees is the all-time career leader in post-season RBI with 80.