Looking Back on October

Thank you to the Boston Red Sox for making me look smart. Also congrats on winning the World Series…I guess. For the Red Sox it was a happy ending to a strange postseason ride. Who knew the key for the Red Sox all along was for Shane Victorino to hit with the bases loaded? Joking aside, this team couldn’t seem to hit for its life, save for the super human stats of WS MVP David Ortiz. Ortiz hit .688 during the WS. Yes, .688. That is not a typo. However, neither is this: no other player on the Red Sox hit higher than .250. As a team they were closer to the Mendoza Line than that .250 mark. That’s abysmal for a group that finished the regular season as MLB’s best offense. Their saving grace was that they were CLUTCH. Mike Napoli had two hits in the series: one a three run double, the other an RBI single. Victorino also had only two hits. Can you guess what they were? Yep, a three run double and an RBI single. Jonny Gomes was hitless in the series before launching a three run, go ahead home run in game four. The list goes on.

Despite that lack of offensive production, pitching will keep you in games, and the Red Sox pitchers, primarily Jon Lester, did just that. A good way to cancel out a team batting average of around .200, is to have a team ERA of about 2.00. What do you get when you combine that bad offense and good pitching? You get a lot of close games. Of the Red Sox sixteen postseason games, only four were decided by more than three runs. Their pitchers put themselves in the position for their hitters to be clutch. Lester himself was clutch, pitching two brilliant games opposite Cards ace, Adam Wainright. It may seem like an oversimplification, but if your ace loses twice in a best of seven series, your chances are very slim. Overall, this probably wasn’t how John Farrell would have drawn it up, but Beantown is celebrating, and for the Fenway Faithful, that’s all that matters.

Looking back on the playoffs as a whole I did alright (ok fine, I was brilliantly lucky). I missed one game in the DS, picking Oakland in 5 (Tigers won in 5). I missed one game in the CS, picking the Cards in 7 (they won in 6). And though it looked iffy after the Cards took a 2-1 lead in the WS, I got it right, with the Sox winning in 6. Overall that is about as good (lucky) as I could have hoped. I have no doubt my next prediction will be as wrong as humanly possible. Such is the law of sports predictions: genius one minute, idiot the next. For now I will take the Red Sox lead and enjoy my prognostication.

I will miss baseball though. With three and a half months until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, gotta make do. Luckily there is a lot to tide me over. Football is in full swing. Soccer is too. Basketball is just getting under way. Plus, the Sochi Olympics will be taking the spotlight in February. It has been a fun season, but until spring I bid baseball (in the words of Orioles’ announcer Gary Thorne) “Adieu, adieu!”

Notes:

  • Red Sox are first team since 1991 Twins to win the World Series a year after finishing last in their division.
  • Tim McCarver announced his final World Series game
  • First time the Red Sox clinch the World Series at home since 1918
  • Ortiz is third oldest WS MVP

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