The Boston Red Sox took Game 5 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, winning 3-1.
Boston now leads the series 3-2, and will have two opportunities to close out the series at Fenway Park.
The results from Game 5 don't just end with the score, however, as there is much, much more than that to take away from the game.
Let's take a look at the most important stats and figures from the fifth game of the Fall Classic.
David Ortiz is Shouldering the Load
David Ortiz hasn't just been good this postseason, he's been making history.
Big Papi went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI on Monday night. That would be a great game for any other player in this series, but it was an average night for him, as noted by SportsCenter and Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson:
David Ortiz finally makes an out. First time in 10 plate appearances that he didn't reach base. Big Papi is hitting .714 in World Series.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 29, 2013
David Ortiz singled twice and doubled tonight, and his World Series slugging percentage went down.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) October 29, 2013
Ortiz could potentially break two records during this series, and another performance like the one he had on Monday would lock them both up, according to ESPN Stats & Info and Lupton Media Group's Jonah Lupton:
David Ortiz has 11 hits in this World Series. Record for a single WS is 13-- Bobby Richardson, Lou Brock, Marty Barrett— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 29, 2013
Through 4 games David Ortiz was batting .727 in the World Series but after going 3-4 he's on pace to set the record pic.twitter.com/Gs4GJGbuz9— Jonah Lupton (@JonahLupton) October 29, 2013
Ortiz has been sensational, and everyone knows it. He is 11-for-15 in the series after Monday night, and could easily be 12-for-15 if Carlos Beltran hadn't robbed him of a home run in Game 1.
The Cardinals are trying to limit the amount of damage Ortiz can inflict on them, but Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated says that they have been doing so by allowing him to reach base in big situations.
In each of the last two games, the Cardinals refused to give Ortiz anything to hit with a man on first base and two outs, walking him on four pitches, though not intentionally. Ortiz is an unreal 8-for-11 (.727) on the series with four walks and no strikeouts. Of the three outs he has made in four games, one came on a would-be grand slam in Game 1 that Carlos Beltran brought back into the ballpark.
For all of Ortiz's production, however, the Red Sox are only averaging 4.2 runs per game in the series. Take away the team's 8-1 victory in Game 1, and that average drops to just 3.3 runs per game. Much of that has to do with a lack of production from the rest of the team:
|David Ortiz vs. Red Sox World Series Production|
|Rest of Team||22/146||.151||15||16|
Taking two of three games in St. Louis wasn't easy, but Big Papi was clutch, and he has his team in a position to win its third World Series in 10 years.
Michael Wacha Has Been on Fire in October
The Cardinals will have rookie sensation Michael Wacha pitch Game 6 of the Fall Classic in a must-win game for St. Louis.
Normally, pitching a rookie with your backs to the wall is a bad idea, but Wacha has been the best pitcher the Cardinals have had throughout the postseason.
In his four starts during the playoffs, Wacha has gone 27.0 innings and has an ERA of 1.00 and a WHIP of 0.70. He has led the Cardinals to four victories as well, and even beat the Red Sox in Boston in Game 2 of the World Series.
Wacha will be opposed by John Lackey for the second time this series, after Wacha got the better of him in Game 2.
The Cardinals are happy to watch their 22-year-old hurler put on a show. It took a no-hit bid that was broken up with two outs in the ninth in his final start of the regular season for Wacha to earn a spot in the postseason rotation, but he's here and he's making the most of it.
As Adam McCalvy of MLB.com writes, Wacha is working toward a historically good month of October:
Wacha is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his October starts, the 17th pitcher in history to win at least four games in a single postseason and the first since teammate Chris Carpenter in 2011. Only two pitchers have won five times in a single postseason: D-backs starter Randy Johnson in 2001, and Angels reliever Francisco Rodriguez in 2002. Both of those players' teams won the World Series.
Wacha worked 19 consecutive scoreless innings between Alvarez's home run in the NLDS and David Ortiz's two-run homer into the Monster Seats at Fenway Park in the sixth inning of World Series Game 1, matching Bob Gibson for the longest postseason scoreless streak in Cardinals history.
Opponents are hitting .127 against Wacha this month, the fourth-lowest average in a single postseason against pitchers who logged at least 20 innings. The Orioles' Mike Mussina held opposing bats to a .112 average in 1997, and the Tigers' Kenny Rogers in 2006 and the A's Blue Moon Odom in 1972 each held hitters to a .120 average.
To be completely fair, the Red Sox have been the hardest team for Wacha to put away.
It took a career-high 114 pitches for Wacha to complete six innings against the BoSox in Game 2. He walked four batters and gave up two of his three earned runs this postseason on a Ortiz home run during that start.
The Cardinals are hoping that Wacha can lead them to another playoff win and force a Game 7, but the Red Sox have already showed that they can dent the phenom.
Home Cooking...Or Not
Entering the series, the Red Sox and Cardinals held two of the best home records in baseball.
The Red Sox led the AL in home winning percentage, going 53-28 in the regular season. The team won nearly two-thirds of its home meetings from April through September.
The Cardinals were even better, going 54-27 at home during the regular season. While that was two games worse than the Atlanta Braves, who held the best home record in baseball, the Cards proved that they were at their best in St. Louis.
Surprisingly, neither team has held to the idea that playing at home is easier than playing on the road. The road team is 3-2 in this series after the Red Sox won on Monday, and both teams have been able to steal games on the road.
While the Cardinals would surely rather be at home than on the road for the final two games of the Fall Classic, it has to be a ray of hope for the team's fans to know that they've won in Boston before.
St. Louis Blues Has a Whole New Meaning
No, not the hockey team.
The city of St. Louis has had some issues when its football and baseball teams play on the same day.
According to Chris Chase of USA Today, the last time that the city's football team played on the same day as the baseball teams and both teams won was 46 years ago, back in 1967. On that day, 16,822 days ago, both St. Louis Cardinals teams won their games.
Both St. Louis teams were in action again on Monday, and it didn't go so well.
The Cardinals lost to the Red Sox mere minutes before the St. Louis Rams faltered on the one-yard line on a potential game-winning drive. The Rams lost to the Seattle Seahawks, 14-9.
Surprisingly, this was the first time that both the baseball team and football team played at home on the same day during a World Series, but it certainly didn't end well for the city of St. Louis.
The Cardinals Are in Serious Trouble
Losing Game 5 of a series that's tied at two games apiece is never good. As it stands, the Red Sox have two chances to win the series, and things look bad for the Cardinals.
Things look even worse when you look at the history behind the loss.
According to Corcoran, no team in history has been able to win a World Series after being in the same situation the Cardinals are in now.
The history of best-of-seven matchups in the League Championship Series and World Series makes Game 5 even more vital for St. Louis. In best-of-seven series with the conventional 2/3/2 home/road pattern, 19 teams have lost a tiebreaking Game 5 at home, and just one of them, the Atlanta Braves in the 1991 National League Championship Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, rallied to win the final two games on the road to take the series.
If that wasn't enough for you, the Cardinals would be in bad shape even if they forced a decisive Game 7.
Of the last nine World Series to go to seven games, the home team have won seven times (the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals, 1985 Kansas City Royals, 1986 New York Mets, 1987 and 1991 Minnesota Twins, 1997 Florida Marlins, 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, 2002 Anaheim Angels, and 2011 St. Louis Cardinals).
Dating back 34 years, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates are the last team to win a World Series Game 7 on the road.
The Final Word
We knew coming into Game 5 that the winner would hold a huge advantage as they tried to close out the series. However, with the Red Sox winning, Boston has given itself a great chance to win its third World Series in the last decade.
The crowd in Fenway Park is going to be rocking for Game 6, as the team tries to close out the series. It's going to be interesting to see how rookie sensation Michael Wacha will deal with the pressure and the atmosphere.
The series is far from over, however, as the Cardinals didn't make it this far for nothing. The Red Sox may hold the advantage, but if they get complacent we could easily see the Redbirds take the next two games and the series.
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