It’s dull, boring and the cliche of all sports cliches, to be sure, but the Red Sox are succeeding this season by taking it one game at a time.
Manager John Farrell believes the same approach will serve his team well now that it on the doorstep of becoming the first team in this century to win three World Series.
Behind 7 1/3 strong innings from Jon Lester and three more hits by the red-hot David Ortiz, who is batting .733 in the series, the Red Sox downed the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 Monday night in Game 5 at Busch Stadium.
The Red Sox took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They can close things out at home Wednesday night in Game 6 at Fenway Park.
“The one thing we won’t do is get too far ahead of ourselves, whether that’s what we achieve collectively or what any individual’s performance suggests,” Farrell said. “The fact is we’re going home, going back to a place that our guys love to play in, in front of our fans.
“This atmosphere (in St. Louis), these three games have been phenomenal. We know it’s going to be equal to that, if not better. And we’re excited about going home in the position we are.”
If the Red Sox do capture the championship, they would do so in front of the home fans for the first time since 1918. Boston clinched its 2004 World Series win at Busch Stadium, then captured the 2007 World Series at Coors Field in Denver. Both of those series ended in sweeps.
John Lackey will start for the Red Sox in Game 6 against rookie phenom Michael Wacha.
Those two also met in Game 2 at Fenway Park, with the Cardinals winning 4-2. Wacha gave up two runs and three hits in six innings, while Lackey allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Lackey also pitched one scoreless inning of relief in the Red Sox’s win in Game 4. He is 2-1 in this postseason with a 3.26 ERA in four games, including three starts, and he has a 5-5 lifetime record in the postseason with a 3.14 ERA in 18 games, including 15 starts.
In the regular season, Lackey went 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts.
Wacha is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts in the postseason after going 4-1 with a 2.78 in 15 regular-season games, including nine starts.
–LHP Jon Lester was masterful in Game 5, giving up just four hits and a run in 7 2/3 innings for his second win of the World Series. Were it not for David Ortiz’s otherworldly display at the plate, Lester would be an odds-on favorite for MVP. Lester won Game 1 by throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings. “He puts the same emphasis on the first pitch he throws as the last pitch he throws, and that’s what makes a really good pitcher,” C David Ross said.
–RHP John Lackey pitched well in Game 2 at Fenway Park, but he was charged with two seventh-inning runs that cost Boston a 4-2 loss. Lackey will have to be at his best in Game 6 against RHP Michael Wacha, who has been superb in the postseason. Lackey pitched the eighth inning Sunday night, working around Xander Bogaerts’ throwing error to get the game to RHP Koji Uehara for the save.
–RF Shane Victorino (lower back tightness) did not play again Monday night. However, manager John Farrell said Victorino was available to come off the bench, an indication Victorino was feeling much better than he did Sunday night. With a day off Tuesday, Victorino could return to the lineup for Game 6.
–1B David Ortiz continued his phenomenal hitting with a 3-for-4 performance Monday, giving him a .733 average (11-for-15) so far in the World Series. Ortiz trails only Billy Hatcher, who batted .750 (9-for-12) for the 1990 Cincinnati Reds as they swept the Oakland A’s, for the best batting average in a single World Series. Ortiz also has three walks.
–C David Ross snapped a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh inning with a ground-rule double off RHP Adam Wainwright, capping a 2-for-4 night. Boston is 3-0 in his three starts in the World Series, and it lost both games in which Jarrod Saltalamacchia started. Might Ross get the call in Game 6, even though Saltalamacchia usually catches RHP John Lackey?
QUOTE TO NOTE: “He’s in a really good place, obviously.” — Manager John Farrell, on 1B David Ortiz, who is 11-for-15 (.733) through the first five games of the World Series.
–RF Shane Victorino (lower back stiffness) sat out Game 4 of the World Series. He was available for Game 5 but again did not play.
–RHP Andrew Bailey (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 13, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 19. He underwent season-ending surgery July 24.
–RHP Alex Wilson (sprained right thumb) went on the 15-day disabled list July 9, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 31. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on July 30 but was shut down after feeling further soreness.
–LHP Andrew Miller (torn ligament in left foot) went on the 15-day disabled list July 7, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 12. He had season-ending surgery in July and expects to be ready for spring training.
–RHP Joel Hanrahan (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list May 7, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 9. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery May 16.
–OF Ryan Kalish (right shoulder surgery in January 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list Feb. 20. He has missed most of the past two seasons with shoulder and neck problems. On Aug. 13, he underwent cervical fusion surgery, which involved joining several bones in the neck to relieve pain.
LHP Jon Lester
RHP John Lackey
RHP Jake Peavy
RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Koji Uehara (closer)
RHP Junichi Tazawa
LHP Craig Breslow
RHP Brandon Workman
LHP Franklin Morales
LHP Felix Doubront
RHP Ryan Dempster
1B Mike Napoli
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Stephen Drew
3B Xander Bogaerts
DH David Ortiz
INF Will Middlebrooks
LF Jonny Gomes
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
RF Shane Victorino
OF Daniel Nava
OF Mike Carp
OF Quintin Berry