BOSTON (Reuters) – He came to the Boston Red Sox as an efficient set-up man for the bullpen, yet Koji Uehara has emerged as an end-game master for the American League champions, who are seeking their third World Series title in 10 seasons.
The Japanese pitcher with the devastating splitter was given a rare night off on Wednesday when the Red Sox breezed to an 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the series opener, but a well-rested Uehara could translate into an even bigger edge.
BOSTON (Reuters) – Mike Napoli rose to the occasion on baseball’s biggest stage once again, cashing in on a rare umpiring reversal with a booming three-run double to kickstart Boston’s victory charge in the World Series opener on Wednesday.
Napoli, who wielded a hot bat for Texas in a seven-game series loss to the Cardinals in 2011, struck the key blow against the same opponents in a first-inning outburst that helped the Red Sox ease to an 8-1 victory.
BOSTON (Reuters) – The Boston Red Sox took advantage of sloppy St. Louis Cardinals fielding with superb pitching and timely hitting to run away with Wednesday’s World Series opener 8-1 at chilly Fenway Park.
Red Sox starter Jon Lester threw 7-2/3 scoreless innings and was backed by a three-run double by Mike Napoli and a two-run blast over the rightfield wall by David “Big Papi” Ortiz.
BOSTON (Reuters) – Presiding over a Boston Red Sox team that bubbles over with characters and charisma is a strong, quiet baseball lifer who fits the manager’s job like a glove – John Farrell.
Besides handling a wide assortment of personalities, baseball is also a game of constant on-field adjustments between pitchers, hitters and fielders.
By Larry Fine
(Reuters) – Boston’s bearded band of brothers will go against the burgeoning talents of a remarkable St. Louis Cardinals rookie class in the best-of-seven World Series beginning on Wednesday at the Red Sox home of Fenway Park.
The two best teams in Major League Baseball, representing two of the most rabid fan bases in the sport, renew their rivalry in a fitting championship climax.
By Larry Fine
(Reuters) – There is a first for everything, even for charter members of the American League going back more than a century, as the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers can attest.
Rivals for 112 years, Boston and Detroit will clash in the postseason for the first time when the best-of-seven American League Championship Series starts Saturday in Beantown.
By Larry Fine
(Reuters) – Two of Major League Baseball’s most storied franchises will meet with a World Series berth at stake when the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers open the best-of-seven National League Championship Series on Friday.
The Cardinals, whose 11 World Series crowns is the most for any National League team, and the Dodgers, winners of six and losers in a dozen other Fall Classics, remodeled their teams in distinctly different ways to get within one last hurdle of contesting MLB’s pinnacle prize.
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) – The New York Giants’ season lay in ruins, while the Philadelphia Eagles climbed into the thick of the NFC East division race on Sunday as they won their Desperation Bowl showdown at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
The Giants, winners of the Super Bowl two seasons ago, sank to 0-5 for the first time since the strike-interrupted 1987 season in which replacement players were used, while the Eagles reached 2-3 by ending a three-game losing skid.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Mike Trout, fresh off his second MVP-calibre season with the Los Angeles Angels, on Wednesday offered a frightening prospect for opposing pitchers to contemplate this offseason – he has room to improve.
The 22-year-old Trout, a unanimous choice as American League Rookie of the Year in 2012 and runner-up to Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera of Detroit as MVP, returned with a .323 average, 27 home runs, 97 runs batted in and 33 stolen bases.
By Larry Fine
(Reuters) – The postseason rise or fall of the St. Louis Cardinals could well rest on contributions from 10 rookies on their roster, but the National League’s top seed are confident in them and their own winning culture.
Major League Baseball’s Cardinals own 11 World Series trophies, the most hardware among National League teams, and their long string of achievement has roots in their minor league levels, with players groomed to expect success.