This series just gets weirder and weirder. Saturday night gives us the first ever walk-off obstruction call in World Series history. Sunday night gives us the first ever game-ending pickoff in World Series history.
The 2013 Red Sox find a way to to support each other. When one player struggles or makes a mistake, the others make up for their teammate's failures. John Lackey, normally a starter, pitched a scoreless 8th inning, bridging the gap between Junichi Tazwawa and Koji Uehara when Craig Breslow couldn't get an out. That's how the Sox have done it all season. Even when your starter is hurt and only manages to pitch 4 innings, a guy like Felix Doubront enters the game and pitches 2.2 innings of quality relief. He was charged with a run, but that was Breslow's fault.
While some members of the Red Sox picked up their teammates, others stepped up and made the big plays that decided the game. None more than David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes Sunday night.
Ortiz is red hot in the World Series. He's 8 for 11 with 2 homeruns and a double. That double came Sunday night, leading off the 5th. After Ortiz reached second base, he looked into the Red Sox dugout and screamed words of encouragement to his teammates in English and Spanish. ¡Vámonos! He eventually scored on a Stephen Drew sac-fly.
Before the 6th inning Ortiz gave a motivational speech to his teammates in the dugout. And then Jonny Gomes hit the 3-run homerun that pushed the Sox to victory. How much did the pep-talk affect Gomes? There's no way to accurately measure that. Although in the postgame press conference Sunday night, Gomes beamed as he talked about Ortiz and his leadership.
Jonny Gomes hasn't gotten a lot of hits this year. But the hits he gets mean a lot.
In 2013 David Ortiz has taken on more of a leadership role. He isn't just everyone's friend in the clubhouse. He's expecting more from his teammates and pushing them to push themselves. After the game he spoke about what he told his teammates before the 6th:
"Let's loosen up... What got us to this level is doing what we normally do. If you run, run. If you play defense, play defense. If you hit, hit. If you pitch, you pitch. That's all it takes to win games. And it clicked."
I'm not looking forward to Craig Breslow's next appearance. He's looked dreadful in this series. Without him the bullpen gets stretched very thin. That means the starters must go deeper into games.
Hopefully that's exactly what Jon Lester does Monday night. He faces Adam Wainwright in a rematch of Game 1.
AP Photo/The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris Lee