Shane Victorino’s seventh inning grand slam into the Green Monster seats off Jose Veras erased a 2-1 deficit and gave Boston a lead they would not relinquish.
As the St. Louis Cardinals get ready to fly east, here are a few thoughts:
–Craig Breslow gave his best performance of the ALCS when he retired the Tigers in order on 10 pitches in the eighth.
Control had been a problem for him earlier in the series, as he walked two in 4.1 innings before Saturday.
On Saturday, nine of his 10 pitches were strikes.
–We will all forget Victorino’s failed bunt attempt in the third inning by Wednesday, but the Sox need to practice their small ball skills before the World Series.
–One could have made a case for Xander Bogaerts for being ALCS MVP.
Three times Saturday he fell behind in the count with two strikes and he worked a full count each time, turning those opportunities into two walks and a double.
He officially will not be a rookie until next year. Think about that.
–Manager John Farrell was correct in giving Clay Buchholz the quick hook.
Farrell left him in too long in Game 2 and Detroit scored five runs in the sixth.
Farrell also should have pulled Franklin Morales after that four-pitch walk to Prince Fielder. The moment overwhelmed Morales and Farrell was playing with fire leaving him in to face a hot Victor Martinez.
–Tigers manager Jim Leyland was roundly criticized for pulling Max Scherzer with one out in the seventh.
Leyland, who is known to play hunches, was correct in that decision.
Scherzer walked five Saturday and did not have the command he displayed so beautifully in Game 2.
Even with the knowledge that the bullpen is the Tigers weakest link, Leyland rode Scherzer as long as he could.
–Prince Fielder, however, had an awful series, highlighted by being caught in a double play rundown in the top of the sixth.
Situated between a hobbled Miguel Cabrera and Martinez, Fielder turned into an instant rally killer.
–Is Clay Buchholz hurt?
His fastball velocity started the game around 94 mph and dipped to 85 in the sixth.
Both of his starts saw him hit the wall in the sixth inning under 80 pitches.
He could start Game 2 Thursday on normal rest against the Cardinals.
–The Red Sox have never lost a Game 6 at home.
*All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.
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