Tomorrow’s game at Fenway Park is the crucial one in this World Series. It is an advantage for Boston that the Old Towne Team has two games to win one; the Cahdinals backs are against the proverbial wall.
Yet, game sevens are always precarious, as any Red Sawx fan of a certain age can attest. In 1946 and 1967, the Sawx lost 7-game contests to the….Cahdinals. In 1975, game 7 gave the series to the Cincinnati Big Red Machine, despite the Carlton Fisk heroics of Game 6. No Sawx fan will evah forget Fisk’s 12th inning blast and the body language worthy of a young Arnold Palmer that coaxed the ball over the Green Monstah. No Sawx fan will evah, evah forget the 1986 Bill Buckner flub against the Mets, a game that will live in infamy as long as baseball is played in Red Sawx Nation. There were no printable words for what happened that evening in game 6. After that, the game 7 loss was just about inevitable.
Now, the Sawx fate rests on the broad shoulders of John Lackey and the bullpen, especially shut out closer Koji Uehara.
What should help Boston is home cooking and the return to Fenway, New England’s baseball cathedral. The biggest advantage is the return to American League rules. This means David Ortiz is back as designated hitter. Mike Napoli is back at first base. No pitchers have to make anemic plate appearances.
Ortiz played fine defense in St. Louis at first base, but Napoli is a defensive upgrade at the position. The team can also look forward to getting Napoli’s power back into the lineup for three, four or (hopefully) more at bats.
Ortiz, the emotional leader of this improbable Worlds Series contender, has had a post season for the Cooperstown ages. He is hitting .733 with two home runs, two doubles and six RBIS against St. Louis. Everybody who has watched more than a few innings of baseball wonders why the Cahdinals keep pitching to him.
St, Louis does have Michael Wacha as starting pitcher. He calmed the Sawx bats in his game two victory, even though Ortiz crushed a home run. If the Sawx can pull of a win, the team could celebrate a World Series championship at Fenway for the first time in 95 years, when Babe Ruth was a star left handed pitcher. And win the world series for the third time since 2004.