They might not be your World Series champions but the Boston Red Sox will raise another banner at Fenway Park either way. The Red Sox dramatic turnaround from very good team to very bad team and back to very good team is complete as Boston beats St. Louis 6-1 to clinch the 2013 World Series, four games to two.
The Red Sox built a balanced club around an pre-existing core of all stars. They negotiated more than their fair share of injuries and turmoil to 97 wins and an AL East division title. Once into the playoffs, they went right through the teeth of two of the better rotations in baseball, besting the Tampa Bay Rays and then blasting through the tough Detroit Tigers rotation full of studs.
And now they’re the World Series champions, having defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in six games. A testament to smart signings, to organizational depth and total buy-in from the front office all the way down to the players on the field. They put all these organizational pillars into play during the World Series, outpitching the St. Louis Cardinals, outhitting them and, for good measure, outmanaging them, too.
It all adds up to one thing – the Boston Red Sox, your 2013 World Series champions. Congratulations!
It is very fitting that David Ortiz and Koji Uehara figured so prominently in this World Series run. They represent the real face of these Red Sox – the established star and the key role player. The Red Sox signed Koji Uehara for just $4.25 million dollar last winter, a mere pittance for a player of his substantial skills. Koji provided insulation for the Red Sox, rising through their bullpen injuries to become the closer and invaluable bullpen presence.
World Series MVP David Ortiz was plucked from Twins and became a Red Sox legend. David Ortiz carried the Red Sox offense through an well-pitched and low-scoring World Series, seemingly . The timely hits more than make up for the absence of offense from players like Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli.
Without players like David Ortiz, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Dustin Pedroia (who now own nine rings between them) in place, it is very difficult to justify spending considerable resources on a player like Koji. The Red Sox have that luxury, because of their deep pockets and because of the great players already in the mix.
For all their savvy and analytical data, there is no way to gloss over the big budget realities that made it all possible for the Red Sox. Other teams can’t afford to sign Ryan Dempster as a three-year insurance policy for with so much money tied up John Lackey. Many teams can’t afford to dump significant players like Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez in one fell swoop and expect to regroup and win the World Series title the very next year.
Signing Shane Victorino isn’t an option other teams consider when they have a young and cheap player like Jackie Bradley Jr. waiting in the wings. The Red Sox did a wonderful job of finding players with high floors – the kind of players unlikely to completely crater over the span of 162 games – that served them so well. The Red Sox can fortify their roster with just this type of signing. They do, of course, deserve all the credit in the world for doing so well. For hitting on so many trades and signings as to create a good team.
A great team, in fact. They built around what they had and set themselves up wonderfully not only for this season but for the seasons to come, as Xander Bogaerts loudly attested all postseason long.
The Red Sox deserve this World Series title (as much as any one team deserves it.) They were the best team this season. They won the best division, the fought through the toughest playoff road, the best the other best team in six games. The stayed true to their organizational vision during their run, doing the same things that won them those 97 regular season games in the high-stress playoffs.
Manager John Farrell went off the board, too. He rolled the dice and made some unexpected moves, like leaving John Lackey in to face (and walk) Matt Holliday in the seventh inning tonight. That decision didn’t end up costing the Sox anything but it was still risky. It is easy to take some extra chances when you have a 6-1 lead. It in some ways, it felt like the Red Sox had a 6-1 lead all season long. They managed risk and got enough breaks all season to stand here, tonight, the World Series champions.
There is plenty of credit to go around for this Red Sox win. There is plenty of time to dole out that credit, to wonder about what the 2014 Red Sox will look like and how the Cardinals young core can expect to experience more than their fair share of World Series triumph and disappointment. Tonight is about paying tribute to the Boston Red Sox – a most deserving World Series champion.