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Dave D'Onofrio's Sox Beat: Team's redemption nearly complete
That’s all they need. One more win — with two chances to get it — and their journey from the ruins of collapse and through the dregs of calamity will end with the spoils of coronation. One more win, and these bearded men will be immortalized forever, in baseball and especially in Boston.
And how fitting that in this season of redemption, the man with a chance to close out the Series in Game 6 tonight is chicken and beer poster boy-turned-happy warrior John Lackey, who will start for the Sox opposite Cardinals wunderkind Michael Wacha three days after coming out of the bullpen to help preserve a critical Game 4 win.
They’ve won 49 games on the road. They’ve won 58 games at home. They’ve won 73 games against right-handed starters. And, answering some mid-season doubts, they’ve won 34 (of 56) games against left-handed starters.
Tampa Bay’s David Price and Matt Moore, Detroit’s Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, St. Louis’ Adam Wainright — the Sox have won games started all of them this postseason.
“The one thing that we tried to establish in spring training, the most important thing is the game tonight and how we put together a game plan to win. And I think we’re seeing that against top-flight pitching throughout the season.”
They’ve won by doing whatever it takes to win that day, whether that has required them to use their bats, their arms, their gloves, their legs — or, in most cases, some combination of the four.
Eight different players delivered walk-off hits. Sixteen players produced game-winning RBI. Because of injuries, they were forced to use 22 position players and 26 pitchers, but that didn’t stop them from scoring more runs than any team in baseball or from finishing with a better-than-average earned run average.
“Comes down to one game. Pretty special time,” starting pitcher Jon Lester said Monday night after hurling a masterpiece in a 3-1 Game 5 victory. “We’ve just got to go out and keep playing baseball the way we’ve been doing it all year.”
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