Last night’s game decided the World Series winner. Verdict: Red Sox.
Never mind that it wasn’t an actual World Series game. Never mind that it didn’t technically even decide the AL Championship Series, as it left both teams tied 3-3 and forced a Game 7.
We’re seeing the exact same pattern as in 2004 and 2007, the last two times the Red Sox won the World Series. It’s a formula for success in the World Series that the Red Sox should consider patenting.
Step 1: Win the Division Series quickly. (The Red Sox won in 3 games in 2004 and 2007, and 4 games this year.)
Step 2: Fall behind in the League Championship Series, to the point at which any sane person would believe you’re done for. (The Red Sox fell behind 3 games to 0 in 2004, and were losing Game 4 in the 9th as Mariano Rivera took the mound – completely hopeless – yet they came back and won every game after that. They fell behind 3 games to 1 last year and came back.)
Step 3: Start winning, and let your momentum and the emotional high carry you to a 7-game League Championship, while your World Series opponents-in-waiting wait without any real games to play.
Step 4: Use your now razor-sharpened skills to sweep World Series over an opponent whose skills have dulled from lack of competition while they waited.
We’re right in the middle of Step 3, and the Red Sox are now carrying a lot of momentum. Game 5, by the 7th inning, was a most unlikely win. In Game 6, the Rays had to be considered the favorite, with Josh Beckett being a best a big question mark. But the Sox came through, their momentum keeps rolling forward, and with Jon Lester on the mound wanting to make up for a bad performance in Game 3, they have to consider themselves the favorites now. They have to like their chances.
Game 6 was the last game in question. Now past that hurdle, too much of the pattern has repeated itself for the Red Sox not to sweep the rest of the way. Had the Rays won, I have to take the Rays over the Phillies. Either way, last night’s winner becomes the World Series winner.
The World Series was played last night, and the Phillies weren’t in the game. Sorry, Phillies.