The scene Thursday night in downtown Boston could have been taken straight from a bad sci-fi movie. The roles were reversed this time as it was the Red Sox suffering from an atrocious defense. The Cardinals capitalized off a bad throw by Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow, which led to the game deciding run to come across home plate. The Cardinals took game 2 by a final score of 4-2. It was a pitcher’s duel through six as both starters Michael Wacha and John Lackey were sending batters down with regularity. Wacha’s performance was slightly disappointing considering how well the rookie phenom has been pitching in the postseason, but he still only allowed two runs (a David Ortiz two run homer) on three hits, while walking four, and striking out five. Lackey was strong as well through six, but due to the seventh inning miscues, ended up being charged with three runs, on five hits.
Game three moves the series from the Green Monster to the Gateway Arch. At this point it is anybody’s series. As a bit of preview for game 3 here are the keys to the game for both teams.
Key #1- Wake the bats up! The Red Sox are hitting an abysmal .188 this series. To make matters worse, they will be without Catalyst Mike Napoli tonight, due to having no DH. Opposing pitcher Joe Kelly is not someone who is unhittable. In his last outing against the Dodgers, Kelly went five innings, allowing four runs, and taking a loss. He is someone who the Red Sox could, and need to hit around if they have hopes of taking game 3.
Key #2- Defense. The same rule that was stated to the Cardinals after game 1 has to be applied here. These teams are so evenly matched, that the series could very well come down to defense. The Red Sox exhibited stupid decision making in the aforementioned seventh inning, where the Cardinals put three runs on the board. If the Sox want to gain some momentum back, they need to make a statement with their bats and gloves tonight.
Key #1- Neutralize Big Papi. The sole member of the Red Sox who is hitting consistently right now is David Ortiz. He is 4-6 with 2 HR and 5 RBI this series. For the Cardinals to take game 3, they need to cool him off. Oritz hit .309 this season, with 30 HR and 103 RBI. It doesn’t help that Kelly is a right hander, which Ortiz feasts off of. Without Napoli protecting him, it will be easier for the Cardinals to pitch around him, but they need to avoid the mistake pitch that the Detroit Tigers and Michael Wacha know too well of.
Key #2- Get ahead early. The St. Louis Cardinals have the momentum right now. They are coming off a win, facing a pitcher who gave up 7 runs in his last start, and are playing at home with one of the best fan bases in all of sports. If the Cards can put a couple of runs on the board early, the sea of red may be able to carry them the rest of the way.
Game 3 starts at 8:07 on FOX (check your local listings)