Monday, October 29, 2007

That's a Wrap: Red Sox Sweep Series

Boston 4 Colorado 3 - The Boston Red Sox completed their second World Series sweep in 4 years, topping the Colorado Rockies, 4 games to none, to capture the 2007 Championship. Boston, in their last trip to the World Series in 2004, bested the St. Louis Cardinals by the same margin. Outside of Boston, the remainder of the baseball universe hopes sweeping the fall classic doesn't become a habit. Sunday night's affair went along the same lines as the previous three games, with Colorado failing to generate any offense against Boston's starter, Jon Lester, who cruised through 5 2/3 innings without allowing a Colorado run. Lester (right) allowed three hits, walked three and struck out three in a commanding performance, similar to the other three Boston starters, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka, each of whom worked into at least the 6th inning and earned a win. By the time Lester left the game, the Red Sox had established a 2-0 lead, and expanded it to 3-0 on Mike Lowell's solo homer in the 7th. Lowell, who batted .375 over the course of the four games, was named MVP of the series. Colorado got one back in the bottom of the 7th on Brad Hawpe's solo shot to right, but Bobby Kielty homered in Boston's half of the 8th to make it 4-1.
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Mike Timlin got the last out in the seventh and the first out in the bottom of the 8th inning, but after Garrett Atkins tightened the score to 4-3 with a 2-run blast off Hideki Okajima, closer Jonathan Papelbon came on to get the final five outs and clinch the sweep and send the title back to Boston. Papelbon was magnificent in his closer role, earning saves in games 2, 3, and 4, while allowing no earned runs and only 2 hits and no walks, while fanning 3 in 4 1/3 innings overall. Though the Rockies didn't win a game, they came close in games 2 and 4, losing both of them by a single run, but Boston's starters were much better and their bullpen a lot more effective than Colorado's. In the hitting department it was no contest. Boston batted a cumulative 47-141 (.333) in the four games, while the Rockies managed only 29 hits in 133 at-bats for a disappointing .218 batting average. Colorado led the National League with a .280 team batting average during the regular season. Boston's starters were the story, however, allowing just 4 earned runs in 23 1/3 innings for a combined ERA of 1.55 in their four starts. Series MVP Lowell (right), was the ultimate hitting star in the middle of Boston's potent lineup going 6-for-16 with 3 doubles, a home run, 4 RBI and 6 runs scored. He was the only player from either squad to score at least one run in each game. Boston has now won 8 straight World Series games and finished 2007 by winning seven straight through the playoffs and series. Their post-season record for 2007 was 11-3, having swept the Angels in the ALDS and taking 4 of 7 from the Indians in the ALCS. Boston outscored Colorado 29-10. In the AL Championship Series they scored 51 runs to Cleveland's 32, and outscored the Angels 19-4 in the ALDS, for a cumulative post-season score of 94-46. Spring training begins in just over four months.

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