Wild American Gooner

When Sports Are More Than Just Sports

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One Year Ago Today: Looking Back on Game 2

The Red Sox season is long over. I have gone through my “It doesn’t feel right watching October baseball without the Red Sox” phase and have emerged in time to watch two thoroughly entertaining Championship Series. I think at this point, I’m rooting for a Cardinals-Orioles World Series, but I don’t have a huge rooting interest. The best and simultaneously strangest part of this postseason is watching our boys John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Andrew Miller play starring roles for other teams. I love those guys to death, but it still always feels weird seeing World Series-winning, former Red Sox have another run in the postseason in other colors.

But today, I am looking back. Because today marks one year to the day that David Ortiz saved the Red Sox’s 2013 season. I doubt anyone could ever forget it, but here’s the video:

It’s easy when looking back on 2013 to remember it as simple. But lest you forget, the Red Sox nearly lost the first two games of the ALCS against the Tigers at home. In Game 1, Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers bullpen carried a no-hitter into the 9th. Only a Daniel Nava bloop single to left saved the Red Sox from an embarrassing start. And then in Game 2, Max Scherzer also had a no-hitter going with the Tigers up 5-0. Shane Victorino broke it up in the sixth and Papi tied it in the 8th. But through the first 14 innings of the series – all at Fenway Park – the Red Sox had one hit. And Justin Verlander had not yet pitched. Things weren’t looking good.

But all that has been forgotten because of one swing. One beautiful, incredible swing. If we weren’t expecting it, we should have been. Because nobody has proven to be more clutch than David Ortiz when it comes to playoff baseball. That grand slam will forever rank among the best moments in Red Sox history. The accompanying photo will also go down as one of the best sports photos ever taken.

That night now seems a distant memory. So much has changed on the Red Sox front in the last year. But we will always have the memory of this night to make us believe anything can happen in sports. Never count yourself out.

Here are some other fun notes about Game 2:

Max Scherzer’s line – 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 R, 2 BB, 13 K – I don’t know about you, but I’d be up for shelling out some serious cash to bring him to the front of the 2015 Red Sox rotation.

The Red Sox were aided by a Jose Iglesias error in the 9th, one of two big defensive miscues the former Red Sox wizard made that series at shortstop. As bad a year as Xander Bogaerts had both at the plate and on the field, there weren’t too many cries that Iglesias should have been playing. Jake Peavy may be gone from Boston, but at this point, it’s safe to say the Red Sox won that deal in the short term. I wish Iglesias the best of luck in his recovery from his shin injuries this offseason. I always liked him.

Brandon Workman and Felix Doubront were the Red Sox relievers who kept the game close, combining for 2 and 2/3 scoreless innings in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. The two of them didn’t give up a hit. Only a year later, both of those pitchers have seen their careers implode. Doubront got shipped out of town and Workman played himself out of a job. I bet 2013 seems even longer ago for the two of them.

In the 2 and 3 holes, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia combined for 3 hits and 2 runs. Don’t sleep on the two of them after subpar, forgettable 2014 campaigns. They’ll be driven all offseason by everyone counting them out, and I predict both to have bounce back years. Right now, my 2015 Red Sox outfield is Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Shane Victorino with Jackie Bradley Jr. the fourth outfielder.