David Ortiz gets World Series MVP honors

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It wasn’t exactly a shocker, but after batting .688 with two homers, David Ortiz was named World Series MVP following Boston’s Game 6 victory over the Cardinals.

Ortiz tied World Series and postseason records with four walks and three intentional walks in the Game 6 victory. He came around to score after two of them. He struck out in his lone official at-bat, dropping his average from .733 to .688.

Ortiz also earlier tied Billy Hatcher’s World Series record (1990 Reds) by reaching base in nine straight plate appearances between Games 3, 4 and 5. He hit both of his homers and drove in five of his six runs in Games 1 and 2.

To say Ortiz was Boston’s leading hitter would be one of the great understatements of our time. The batting averages of the nine Red Sox to play tonight:

.250 (Jacoby Ellsbury)
.208 (Dustin Pedroia)
.688
.154 (Mike Napoli)
.118 (Jonny Gomes)
.154 (Shane Victorino)
.238 (Xander Bogaerts)
.158 (Stephen Drew)
.188 (David Ross)

Still, there was some competition for MVP in the form of Jon Lester, who allowed just one run over 15 1/3 innings in winning Games 1 and 5.

The World Series MVP honor is a first for Ortiz, who is now a three-time world champion. He did win ALCS MVP in 2004 against the Yankees.

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.