5 Unsung LCS Heroes Who Will Shake Up the World Series
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Between David Ortiz and Carlos Beltran, the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, respectively, have two of the greatest October players in history.
But even though both veterans had key hits in their respective LCS series, a variety of other players didn't receive credit in the celebratory recaps.
For instance, if not for Brandon Workman and his three scoreless relief outings, the bridge to closer Koji Uehara could have been a rocky one for the Red Sox.
Read on to see the five unsung LCS heroes who will shake up the World Series.
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The Boston Red Sox have little trouble scoring runs, which is likely why Stephen Drew and his stellar glove have remained in the lineup. But if Drew’s playoffs batting average continues to dip below the .086 clip, Xander Bogaerts will begin to steal significant time.
In limited ALCS playing time, Bogaerts has proven he's ready for more. The 21-year-old has posted a .500 batting average, 1.667 OPS and three doubles over just nine plate appearances.
Bogaerts is the Red Sox shortstop of the future, so perhaps Drew's struggles are an indication that the Xander Bogaerts era is already upon us.
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For 13 seasons, Randy Choate has been getting left-handed hitters out. At age 38, the St. Louis Cardinals reliever hasn't changed a bit. Choate has held lefties to just a .176 batting average and .492 OPS in 2013.
But Choate was particularly stingy in the NLCS, blanking the Los Angeles Dodgers over three different appearances (a combined 1.2 innings)—and not even allowing a baserunner.
Given the damage left-handed hitter David Ortiz caused the Detroit Tigers in Game 2, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will undoubtedly use the unhittable Choate against the slugger in key spots through the series.
St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay slumped mightily in the NLCS. Jay posted a mere .222 batting average and .433 OPS with zero extra-base hits in 20 plate appearances.
Due to his lackluster performance, manager Mike Matheny increasingly handed reserve outfielder Shane Robinson additional playing time. Perhaps to Jay’s dismay, Robinson took advantage. Robinson hit to the tune of a .429 batting average and 1.286 OPS and even collected a home run in Game 4.
For the sake of playing the hot hand, it's possible Robinson's production in the ALCS will pave the way for some consistent starts in the World Series.
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Brandon Workman couldn't be further from the spotlight. As a 25-year-old middle reliever, his name generally only appears in recaps when he blows a Boston Red Sox victory.
But in the ALCS, Workman played a pivotal role out of the Red Sox bullpen. Over the span of 4.2 innings (three games), the right-hander blanked the Detroit Tigers. In fact, the Tigers hit just .200 against the Austin, Texas native, who did not allow a single extra-base hit.
Workman might never see a "big spot" in the World Series, but if he does his job, closer Koji Uehara might not either.
With a roster full of postseason veterans like Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran, it's pretty easy to fly under the radar if you're a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
But Michael Wacha's starts in Game 2 and 6 were hard to forget. Wacha held the Los Angeles Dodgers to just seven hits and two walks over 13.2 innings without surrendering an earned run. The 22-year-old also sat down 13 batters in the process.
Wacha's final start in Game 6 was particularly memorable, as he bested arguably the game's finest in Clayton Kershaw and helped his team advance to the World Series.