Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

Boston Red Sox Finish Improbable Season With World Series Title

Posted on October 31, 2013 by Dean Hybl


The Boston Red Sox slid past the St. Louis Cardinals to win Game Six and the 2013 World Series.

The Boston Red Sox slid past the St. Louis Cardinals to win Game Six and the 2013 World Series.

After a 2012 season filled with internal bickering, a trade that removed three of the best players from the roster and a record that was the third worst in the American League, who could have predicted that just 12 months later the Boston Red Sox would be the 2013 World Series Champions?

Yet, despite basically starting from scratch with a roster that included a dozen new faces, there were the Red Sox defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in game six to claim their third World Series title in a decade and first being clinched at Fenway Park since 1918.

The final game was perhaps the least dramatic of a World Series that had two “first ever” endings.

Game three, a 5-4 Cardinals victory, was the first World Series game ever ended on a fielder obstruction play. Then the next night, the Red Sox tied the series at two games each when Koji Uehara picked off Kolten Wong with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to preserve a 4-2 victory.

As was the case throughout the season, the key for the Red Sox against the Cardinals was timely hitting, strong starting pitching and a lights out bullpen.

Jon Lester got the Red Sox started with a tremendous performance in the first game and then matched that effort in game five to give the Sox the Series lead. John Lackey also was excellent, especially in his game six performance.

Offensively the only Boston hitter who was consistently hitting was David Ortiz. The eventual Series MVP hit .688 with two home runs and six RBI. His clutch hitting was a key throughout the entire post season as he rescued the Sox from impending doom on multiple occasions.

The rest of the Boston hitters struggled, but seemed to provide the big hit when needed. Jonny Gomes in game four, David Ross in game five and Shane Victorino in game six each provided a clutch hit that helped bring home a victory.

Though the offense wasn’t always popping, they were able to score enough runs to give the Red Sox late leads that the bullpen held onto like gold. Felix Doubront, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara combined to pitch 11.2 innings and allow only one earned run.

Much as the Cardinals have done in making it to two of the last three World Series and each of the last three NL Championship Series, the Red Sox showed that chemistry can be more valuable than raw talent when constructing a winning team.

Yes, the Red Sox continue to have one of the higher payrolls in baseball, giving them an advantage in the post season over smaller market teams. However, in 2013 the size of the payroll isn’t the main reason the Red Sox won the final game of the season.

The Red Sox proved in 2013 that you don’t have to possess the best roster in baseball from top to bottom to win. Instead, having every player on the roster understanding his role and buying into the team concept are key ingredients for creating a World Series Champion.

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