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World Series Game 6: Michael Wacha vs. John Lackey

Posted by David Sabino  October 29, 2013 05:07 PM

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Since everything else he's done has been golden this World Sereis, perhaps Big Papi should go to bat with a baby in his arms.

Who exactly wrote this script?

When we find out who's responsible for coming up with the storylines for the Red Sox 2013 season, please someone have a talk with them, explaining that what they've put on paper is just not that credible. Let's see: they want you to believe that a team coming off of a mammoth collapse late in 2011 and a last-place finish in 2012 where a once-beloved group was widely booed and came to be derided by its rabid hometown faithful is one-game away from winning the World Series? That same group of parts with very little star power that was dismissed by the entire baseball community at the beginning of the year as having second-division talent under a rookie manager is on the brink of achieving something that escaped other Sox teams for eight decades?

If all of that isn't far-fetched enough we're supposed to believe that in the 2013 World Series, the team is nearly singlehandedly powered offensively by a larger-than-life, father-figure, stereotypically named “Big Papi” of all things. He’s someone who was in no way a lock to return to Boston this season, especially after he suffered a season-ending Achilles' injury midway through the 2012 disaster. Through Game 5, this Papi fella is reportedly hitting .733, which would be more than 100-points higher than anyone who's participated in a five-game Series of more. He's also supposed to have the highest career World Series batting average (.465) and on-base percentage (.556) of anyone in the history of the Fall Classic. Not only is he hitting so well, the rest of the embellished story has the remainder of the squad batting a mere .151 with the team's regular first baseman, shortstop, catcher and left fielder accounting for a combined three hits, (one of which was, of course the melodramatic variety— a game-winning three-run home run by Jonny Gomes in Game 4).

Then there's the pitching staff. Jon Lester, a question mark the past few years has become a latter-day Whitey Ford, seizing the title of staff ace and stopper by throwing 15 ⅓ innings of one-run ball in the Series, lowering his postseason ERA in 2013 to 1.56 in five starts, four of which were wins and the one loss was on an opposition one-hitter. (Who’s coming up with this stuff?). His 0.43 lifetime ERA in the World Series is now the second best in World Series history among those with at least 20 innings, trailing only Jack Billingham and his 0.36.

Now take at the supposed bullpen where the staff’s elder statesman, Koji Uehara has become a cross between Greg Maddux and Mariano Rivera. He rescued what was shaping up to be the worst closer situation in the game during the regular season and has become the best there is, bar none. He has struck out 15 batters in 12 ⅔ postseason innings, over which he’s allowed just seven hits and one run, in the ALDS to Tampa Bay’s backup catcher Jose Lobaton. He also has tied the record for most saves in a single postseason with seven.

Finally, in what could be the crowning game of the series, the team’s formerly sad-sack, hard-luck, big bust of a contract hurler who missed all of last season and was widely regarded by the team’s most vocal supporters as a symbol of the failure of 2011, John Lackey has a chance to recapture the glory he experienced 11 years ago as a rookie, to win the final game of the World Series. Making the story even more far fetched is the man he’s facing, Michael Wacha, is a rookie who was beaten by the Triple A affiliates of the Cubs, Astros, Mets and Mariners, who has been the best pitcher in the game since September. And he beat Lackey beat him in Game 2.

They say that truth is stranger than fiction, but come on. Let’s find the writer and have them inject some reality into this wild narrative of a ride because who will ever believe it? Just wait until Friday to do it.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Stats Driven is powered by David Sabino, who over the last two decades has been a source of statistical analysis on the pages of Sports Illustrated, New York Times, and Chicago Tribune. David has written about all seven recent Boston-area championships for Sports Illustrated Presents commemorative issues, was the creator of such long time features as SI’s Player Value Ranking, NBA Player Rating and long running fantasy football and baseball columns.

He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrated’s 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.

Now living in Marblehead, he’s focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.

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