Entering this season, many saw the Red Sox as a middling team at best. Though their multitude of major acquisitions in the offseason would keep them from a miserable season like they had experienced in 2012, the acquisitions would not be enough to make them a true contender. My personal prediction entering the season was a third place finish and an 86-76 record, and I was on the optimistic side. That’s why it’s extra special what the Red Sox accomplished in 2013 and how improbable it was that the Red Sox have gotten to this point.
In a way, John Lackey has been a symbol of the success of the 2013 Red Sox. He was the worst qualified pitcher in baseball in 2011, missed 2012 due to Tommy John surgery, and has come back with a vengeance in 2013. It just seems fitting that it was Lackey who started Game 6 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, despite a 3-2 advantage in the series, it did not look like an easy win for Lackey. Despite a strong season and postseason, Lackey could be considered the underdog going up against Michael Wacha, the 22 year old right-hander who had posted a stingy 1.00 ERA in four postseason starts. Each pitcher matched the other pitch-for-pitch through the first pair of innings, but the Red Sox got their coveted lead in the third inning.
A Jacoby Ellsbury single, David Ortiz walk, and Jonny Gomes hit-by-pitch were enough to load the bases with two outs. It would be Shane Victorino, who had missed the last two games due to back pains, who came through big time. Victorino hit a high line drive off the green monster in left, scoring two easy runs in Ellsbury and Ortiz and one more as Jonny Gomes just beat Yadier Molina‘s tag at home plate to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.
The Red Sox kept piling onto their lead in the fourth inning. Stephen Drew, who entered the game 1-17 in the World Series, led off the inning and immediately launched a deep home run to right-center into the Red Sox’ bullpen. A pair of RBI singles in the inning by Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino would be enough to open up a 6-0 lead for the Red Sox.
The first rough patch of the game came in the top of the seventh inning. After two quick outs to begin the inning, the Cardinals pieced together a single and double off a tiring John Lackey. Carlos Beltran then laced a double down the third base line to score a run, and John Farrell came out to the mound. Lackey was able to convince Farrell to let him stay in to face Matt Holliday, whom he walked to load the bases. In a truly tough situation at that point, Junichi Tazawa came in to face Allen Craig and coaxed him into grounding out to end the inning with a 6-1 lead.
Each team’s bullpen kept the score at 6-1 until shutdown closer Koji Uehara came in for the ninth inning. It only took him twelve pitches. As soon as Matt Carpenter swung and missed at the outside splitter, it was all over. The Red Sox have won their eighth World Series and their third in the last ten years, the most in baseball in that timeframe. What an incredible season this has been, and now it’s time to celebrate!