While overwhelming pitching is necessary to win in the postseason, so is timely hitting. Here are four offensive X-factors whose emergence or failure to emerge will influence the outcome of the championship.
4. LF Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Holliday hit .300 and had an on-base percentage of .389 in the regular season. He’s still one of the Cardinals’ better batters, but his .244 playoff average isn’t cutting it when coupled with a .261 on-base percentage—only the seventh highest on the team.
However, he’s also first on the team in runs and second in RBI. Holliday’s offensive production has translated to runs this postseason more times than not.
3. RF Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox
Shane Victorino leads the Red Sox with eight RBI in the playoffs. When he isn’t sending baserunners home, though, he’s striking out—something he’s done 12 times this postseason, good for third on the team.
He hasn’t earned a single base on balls. That’s why, as valuable as contact is for the next Red Sox batter on this list, it’s even more important for Victorino.
2. 2B Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
Only Yadier Molina had a higher batting average than Matt Carpenter in St. Louis this past regular season. Carpenter’s .318 has, however, plummeted to .167. He’s struck out 11 times—four more than he’s hit.
His 42 at-bats are the second most on the club. Peter Kozma has as many RBI as him—two—with only 25 at-bats. Carpenter’s ability to shake this slump and regain even an ounce of his regular-season form is paramount for the Cardinals’ success.
1. DH David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
David Ortiz led the Red Sox in batting average in the regular season. In the playoffs, not so much, batting just .200 compared to .309 before October.
He is, however, leading the American League in home runs this postseason with three. In fact, three of his seven measly hits were bombs. That’s why any Ortiz contact can change the outcome of a game.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.