Shane Victorino came through for the Red Sox Saturday night. Credit: Getty Images
Another game, and a different player coming through with a clutch hit, leading them to victory.
It’s been that kind of year for the Red Sox and it continued in their 3-2 series win over the Tigers in the ALCS. David Ortiz’s grand slam in the eighth inning of Game 2, Mike Napoli’s home runs in Games 3 and 5 and Shane Victorino’s seventh inning grand slam in Game 6 all contributed mightily to Boston's third American League pennant in the last 10 years and in continuing their historic worst-to-first turnaround from last season.
“Every single guy on this roster and beyond can feel good about getting to the World Series because everyone did something to contribute to the success of this team,” reliever Craig Breslow said.
In the regular season, 16 different players had game-winning RBIs, including nine players with six or more. Napoli and Dustin Pedroia led the team with 12, with Stephen Drew right behind with 10. As a team they also had 10 walk-off hits by seven different players, with Drew, Napoli and Jonny Gomes leading the way with two apiece.
One of the more memorable hits from an unexpected player was in the middle of September in Tampa when utility man Mike Carp hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the tenth inning to propel the Sox over the Rays.
Their clutch hitting has carried over into October with one walk-off hit as well as their pass-the-torch-to-the-next-guy mentality.
Having not started a single game all postseason, rookie Xander Bogaerts was inserted into the lineup for Games 5 and 6. The young stud responded, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored while showing tremendous poise, working three walks in the two games.
“His poise out there, it says a lot about him,” centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury said. “This coaching staff, in the postseason, puts him in the lineup and they just have a lot of confidence in him and he has a lot of confidence in himself. Definitely added a spark for us this series.”
With no MVP candidates, the Red Sox relied heavily on their depth and sometimes their will to win to overcome, perhaps, a lack of talent.
“This ball club worked really hard. We have a lot of superheros here, a lot of guys that come here everyday that like to make things happen and that’s what this ball club is all about,” Ortiz said.
With the Red Sox in 2013, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the league for 17 years with two World Series titles, or if you're just 21-years-old and own only two months of big league experience. Everyone is contributing, which is one of the biggest reasons why the Red Sox will be competing for the eighth World Series title in franchise history this week.
Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @Hannable84