The image of a hobbled Allen Craig tangled with a dirt-eating Will Middlebrooks by the third-base bag Saturday night was supposed to be the defining image of the 2013 World Series.
On a night in St. Louis where the Boston Red Sox were outhustled and out-managed, their devastating 5-4 loss in Game 3 on a defensive interference call was the turning point of the series.
Game 4 was going to feature an injured and unsure Clay Buchholz and the mood of Red Sox Nation was pitch black.
As they say, it is always darkest just before dawn.
Never in a million years would you have thought it would have been the Cardinals that could not get up off the ground.
Instead, the defining image from this championship series came in the sixth inning of Game 4.
David Ortiz—now the grizzled veteran—gathered his team around him and a Fox television camera and told them this was their moment.
They had lost a game where Jake Peavy—grinding his entire career just to start a World Series game—became so emotional that he nearly wept on the mound after getting into a jam in the fourth inning of Game 3.
They lost Shane Victorino to a back injury. Playing hurt for most of the season, he finally could not take anymore and asked out of the lineup after not being able to get loose in the batting cage before Game 4.
If you believe in momentum, then everything you saw as Game 4 started told you that the Red Sox had a great year and the St. Louis Cardinals were the deserved champions.
We could not have been more wrong.
Buchholz gnashed and gritted his way through four innings. Jonny Gomes—put in the lineup 90 minutes before the game started—crushed the game-winning hit.
The team had knocked itself on the canvas, then picked themselves up, dusting themselves off in the process.
By the time Jon Lester warmed up to pitch Game 5, you could see the one thing in a team as a fan you know is fatal. The Cardinals looked scared.
The Red Sox had won.
Michael Wacha—St. Louis’ playoff phenom—thought he was ready, but the Red Sox figured him out in the middle innings of his Game 2 start. If you wait long enough, he will miss the strike zone.
In 3.2 innings Wednesday, he walked four—Ortiz intentionally.
Every night, there was a different hero. Wednesday, there were 25.
From Victorino’s bases clearing double that drove in the championship runs to John Lackey tipping his cap to the faithful that tried to run him out of town two years ago, every little thing was indeed going to be all right.
This season was more than what happened on the field.
When Boston needed the Red Sox the most, the Sox gave them a year for the ages. The bond between the team and fans is real. To have it end at Fenway made it even bigger.
Yes, we can believe it.
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- St. Louis Cardinals Vs. Boston Red Sox: World Series Game 5 Preview
- Boston Red Sox Vs. St. Louis Cardinals: World Series Game 4 Preview
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