Oct 28, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning during game five of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David J. Phillip/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

World Series Game Five: Jon Lester Out-Pitches Adam Wainwright Again

Red Sox take control of the World Series

And just like that the Boston Red Sox are in position to win their third World Series in the last 10 years. With Monday night’s 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, they now led the best of seven series three games to two heading back to Boston for game six and game seven if necessary. They will have two chances to eliminate the Cardinals on their home turf and celebrate in front of the Boston faithful, something they have yet to do since breaking the curse back in 2004.

In a rematch of game one’s starting matchup, Jon Lester took the mound against Adam Wainwright looking to do the unthinkable. Lester was looking to defeat Wainwright for the second time in this World Series and in the process send Wainwright to his third straight defeat. He was once again up to the challenge as the Cardinals had no answers for the Boston ace.

World Series Jon Lester and Xander Bogaerts

Oct 28, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Xander Bogaerts (right) is greeted by starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) after scoring a run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 7th inning during game five of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Lester ended up throwing 7.2 innings of four hit, one run baseball. He also struck out seven on the night and never really gave the Cardinals a chance to get anything going offensively. Even worse for the Cardinals was who replaced Lester with two outs in the bottom half of the eighth inning. Naturally, John Farrell went to his closer, Koji Uehara, for the four out save and just like he has all postseason long, Uehara was dominant as he retired all four batters he faced, striking out two.

Offensively for the Red Sox, it was a strange game. Wainwright limited them to only three runs while striking out 10, but the Sox were still able to put together eight hits off the tall righty. When they did make outs by putting the ball in play, they were hard, loud outs. For whatever reason, the Red Sox have just had Wainwright’s number throughout the entirety of this World Series.

In the top of the first, the Red Sox plated their first run of the game following back to back doubles by Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Following a Matt Holliday home run in the bottom of the fourth, the lone bright spot offensively for the Cardinals, the Red Sox struck again in the top of the seventh. David Ross hit a ground rule double to right that scored Xander Bogaerts and gave the Sox a 2-1 lead. With two out, Jacoby Ellsbury singled on a bloop single to center, Stephen Drew scored easily on the play, but Ross was gunned down at home to end the inning.

Although it was only a two run lead with nine outs left to go, a two run lead seemed like a mountain with the way Jon Lester was pitching and the Cardinals were hitting. It just goes to show, once again, that pitching is the great equalizer. Without quality starting pitching and a reliable bullpen you aren’t going anywhere in October. Sure, the Red Sox have a talented lineup full of solid hitter, but it has been the pitching that has stolen the show this postseason. The killer combination of Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, and Uehara has been unhittable, shortening games and keeping runners off the bases.

Game six of the World Series will take place on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Michael Wacha will take the mound for the Cardinals and try to save the season. If he pitches the way he has all postseason long, game seven might be a certainty. As for the Red Sox, they will counter with John Lackey. First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 PM.

Win Probability


Source: FanGraphs

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