2007 World Series
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|2007 World Series|
|Boston Red Sox
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|2007 MLB Postseason|
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The 2007 World Series saw the Boston Red Sox sweep the Colorado Rockies in four games to claim their second World Series title in four years, after a drought of 86 years. For their part, the Rockies were taking part in their first World Series, in what was only their second postseason appearance since their creation in 1993.
The match-up of teams appeared intriguing on paper, with a strong and experienced Red Sox team facing a young but talented squad that was coming off a tremendous late-season winning streak, a win in a one-game playoff to reach the postseason, and then sweeps in two series without seemingly breaking a sweat. In fact, though, the Red Sox proved much too strong for their upstart challengers, and from the first batter of Game 1 would have the men in purple playing a futile game of catch-up. Mike Lowell was named the Series MVP, going 6 for 15 with 3 doubles and a home run as part of a balanced Red Sox offense.
The Boston Red Sox
After a disappointing 2006 season, the Boston Red Sox had approached 2007 with a purpose, namely that of ending the New York Yankees' streak of nine consecutive division titles, and of returning to the World Series which they had won in 2004. They fielded a revamped team that dominated the American League early on, built a huge lead on the Yankees, and after a mid-September scare, eventually held on to reach the 2007 Postseason as AL East champions. They then proceeded to sweep the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the Division Series and then dispose of the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series after falling behind 3 games to 1.
Led by manager Terry Francona, the 2007 edition boasted three new starters, SS Julio Lugo, 2B Dustin Pedroia - the eventual AL Rookie of the Year Award winner - and RF J.D. Drew. By the time the World Series started, a fourth new face was added, as rookie CF Jacoby Ellsbury replaced the struggling Coco Crisp when the Red Sox were on the verge of being eliminated by the Indians, and never relinquished the starting job. The big offensive threats were the veteran quartet of 3B Mike Lowell, 1B Kevin Youkilis, LF Manny Ramirez, who appeared to be fully recovered after a down year in which he was slowed by various injuries, and DH David Ortiz, who seemed to thrive whenever the limelight was on him. Completed by veteran catcher Jason Varitek, the line-up had few holes, the only question being whether it would be possible to keep Ortiz, Ramirez and Youkilis together in the line-up when the team moved to a National League park where the designated hitter would not be in use.
On the mound, the Red Sox boasted a fearsome two-some in Josh Beckett, who had consolidated his reputation as a big-game pitcher with three wins in three starts in the first two postseason series, and Curt Schilling, whose reputation for postseason heroics was bulit in the 1993 NLCS with the Philadelphia Phillies, the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the 2004 Postseason with the Red Sox. Japanese prize-rookie Daisuke Matsuzaka was a solid third starter, and while the fourth starter, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, would miss the World Series because of a back injury, Francona had two other starting options available in young Jon Lester, who had staged a remarkable comeback from cancer, and veteran Julian Tavarez. Boston's bullpen, built around ace closer Jonathan Papelbon, veteran set-up man Mike Timlin and Japanese rookie Hideki Okajima, was deep and included enough other options that the poor performance of Eric Gagné after being acquired in a blockbuster deadline trade was not a huge concern, even for the most pessimistic of Red Sox fans. As a result, the team was an overwhelming favorite of analysts before the Series began.
The Colorado Rockies
In contrast to the Red Sox, the Colorado Rockies were not considered by many to be serious World Series contenders when the 2007 season began. Even more so, by mid-September, they seemed to be out of consideration for the postseason, trailing both the Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres in the NL West division race, but also whichever team would end up the loser of the race between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East for the Wild Card; it was seemingly a matter of days before they were mathematically eliminated. But then the Rockies started winning. And winning. And winning again. They finished the season on a 13-1 run and ended tied with the Padres for the Wild Card (only a last-day loss by the Mets prevented what could have been a wild three-team playoff). Their one-game playoff against the Padres was a classic see-saw 13-inning contest, won by the Rockies on a controversial safe call at the plate as they mounted an unlikely comeback against Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, baseball's all-time saves leader at the time.
The postseason began and the Rockies kept winning. They swept the Phillies in three games in the Division Series, then swept the Diamondbacks in four games in the National League Championship Series. By then, the Rockies' magical run had reached 21 wins in 22 games - one of the great winning streaks of all-time. They were upstarts, but they also looked like a team touched by destiny heading into the World Series.
The Rockies' strength, buoyed by the very favorable hitting conditions in Denver, has always been their bats. 2007 was no exception, as they boasted perennial star 1B Todd Helton, now a tad less dangerous than in his heyday, and LF Matt Holliday a leading candidate for the MVP Award. SS Troy Tulowitzki was Pedroia's counterpart, an excellent middle infielder who was aiming to win the Rookie of the Year Award. In the end, both Holliday and Tulowitzki would lose out on the awards, but it did not detract from their contribution to the team. Other pillars of the offense were RF Brad Hawpe and 3B Garrett Atkins, two sluggers in the classic Colorado mold, CF Willy Taveras, a speedster who could hit for a high average, and Japanese 2B Kazuo Matsui, another speedster who had found a second wind to his career after leaving New York. Even the unsung C Yorvit Torrealba was a solid hitter. However, the team lacked for a true DH candidate, as the main options available to manager Clint Hurdle being back-up outfielders Ryan Spilborghs and Cory Sullivan, neither of which could be counted on to contribute much power to the line-up.
If the Rockies line-up was fearsome, its starting pitching was more of a question mark. Canadian left-hander Jeff Francis was one of the best young pitchers in the National League, but after him, Hurdle, making his first trip to the postseason, was faced with a number of imperfect choices: Josh Fogg had earned himself a reputation as a "dragon-slayer" with a few clutch performances down the stretch, but that couldn't erase a decidedly unisipiring statistical line; youngsters Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales both had lots of talent, but also less than a full year of Major League experience; Aaron Cook, the nominal second starter, had not pitched since late August because of an injury, leaving Hurdle in a quandary as to whether or not to use him in the World Series.
The bullpen was much stronger however. Two-time All-Star Brian Fuentes had lost the closer job to a mid-season injury, but had been replaced by the even more formidable Manuel Corpas. The supporting cast of Matt Herges, Jeremy Affeldt and LaTroy Hawkins had been outstanding during the team's incredible streak and was counted on to compensate for the weakness of the starters beyond Francis. Still, it was hard to see how, short of miracles, the Rockies could upend the Red Sox. But then again, the well-rested Rockies who headed to Boston for Game 1 bore little resemblance, at least psychologically, to the team that was sputtering along on the fringes of the pennant race in early September...
|1||Colorado Rockies 1 at Boston Red Sox 13||Wed. October 24||Jeff Francis (0-1) vs. Josh Beckett (1-0)|
|2||Colorado Rockies 1 at Boston Red Sox 2||Thu. October 25||Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1) vs. Curt Schilling (1-0)|
|3||Boston Red Sox 10 at Colorado Rockies 5||Sat. October 27||Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-0) vs. Josh Fogg (0-1)|
|4||Boston Red Sox 4 at Colorado Rockies 3||Sun. October 28||Jon Lester (1-0) vs. Aaron Cook (0-1)|
|WP: Josh Beckett (1-0), LP: Jeff Francis (0-1)|
|Home Runs: BOS - Dustin Pedroia (1)|
- Attendance: 36,733
On a wet night at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox won Game 1 of the World Series in convincing fashion, crushing the Colorado Rockies 13 to 1 and ending their remarkable streak of 21 wins in their last 22 games, including a 7-0 record in the 2007 Postseason thus far. The match-up on the mound featured the two teams' young aces, Josh Beckett, whose postseason legend seemed to grow by the day, for Boston, and Jeff Francis for the Rockies. In this game, though, it was clear very quickly who was the master and who was the student. Beckett started out the game by striking out the Rockies in order in the 1st inning. Then Francis took the mound and gave up a home run off the top of the Green Monster to the first batter he faced, Dustin Pedroia. Kevin Youkilis followed with a double. One out later, Manny Ramirez drove him in with a single, and then came home to score a third run after a single by Jason Varitek and a double by J.D. Drew.
Colorado tried to make a game of it in the 2nd, when Garrett Atkins and Troy Tulowitzki hit doubles to cut Boston's lead to 3-1, but that would be just about it for their offensive production on the night: Beckett pitched seven innings, allowed that one run on six hits and a walk while striking out nine. Two relievers, Mike Timlin and Eric Gagné, eached pitched a perfect inning to close out the game. For their part, the Red Sox were only getting warmed up. Youkilis scored again in the 2nd when he walked after two outs and David Ortiz doubled him in. In the 4th, Ortiz singled with two outs, Ramirez doubled and Mike Lowell was walked intentionally to load the bases. Varitek doubled in two more runs to bring the lead to 6-1. Franklin Morales replaced Francis to start the 5th, and once again found trouble after two outs. With Jacoby Ellsbury on first as a result of a fielder's choice, Morales balked. Youkilis and Ortiz followed with doubles, Ramirez singled, and Lowell hit another double. A walk to Varitek and an infield single by Drew then loaded the bases. Four more runs had scored by now and Ryan Speier replaced Morales, but he proceeded to walk the next three batters he faced, each pushing in a run. By the time Matt Herges retired Youkilis on a fly ball to right, Boston had built a 13-1 lead, which would be the game's final score. In addition to their 13 runs, the Red Sox collected 17 hits on the night, hit 8 doubles and drew 8 walks off an overmatched Rockies pitching staff.
|WP: Curt Schilling (1-0), LP: Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1), SV: Jonathan Papelbon (1)|
|Home Runs: none|
- Attendance: 36,370
The Boston Red Sox took a 2-0 World Series lead thanks to another strong pitching performance by a player used to the big stage. Veteran Curt Schilling ran his lifetime postseason record to 11-2 by earning a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies, with the help of some solid work from his bullpen.
The Rockies managed to take an early lead this time, without getting any big hits: in the top of the 1st inning, Willy Taveras was hit by a Schilling pitch and raced to third on a short ball hit by Matt Holliday that dribbled off the pitcher's glove towards third. Holliday reached second when third baseman Mike Lowell tried to pick up the ball and threw errantly, but the Rockies had to settle for a single run on a Todd Helton ground out. However, that was all the Rockies would be able to muster in 5 1/3 innings off Schilling, and the Red Sox bullpen would be even stingier. On the mound, young Ubaldo Jimenez started off well, keeping the Red Sox off the board for the first three innings. He walked Lowell with one out in the 4th, and J.D. Drew followed with a single that moved Lowell to third. Jason Varitek then hit a sacrifice fly, and the score was tied at one.
In the bottom of the 5th, Jimenez walked David Ortiz with two outs, but Manny Ramirez followed with a single and Lowell with a double, scoring the Red Sox's second run and chasing Jimenez. Both bullpens did the job after that. Hideki Okajima relieved Schilling with one out and two on in the 6th, and retired the next two batters without allowing the tying run to score. He breezed through the 7th, struck out the first two batters in the 8th, and gave way to closer Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon allowed a single through the mound to Holliday, the first batter he faced, but immediately picked him off at first base to end the inning. Meanwhile, the Rockies' bullpen, in the guise of Matt Herges, Brian Fuentes and Manuel Corpas, also prevented the Red Sox from adding to their lead, although they had to work considerably harder, as Boston put men on each inning. Papelbon came back out with a one-run lead in the top of the 9th and proceeded to set down the Rockies in order, striking out Helton and Brad Hawpe in the process, to close the game and earn the save as the teams headed to Colorado.
|WP: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-0), LP: Josh Fogg (0-1), SV: Jonathan Papelbon (2)|
|Home Runs: COL - Matt Holliday (1)|
- Attendance: 49,983
The Boston Red Sox took a commanding three games to none lead in the World Series by winning Game 3, 10-5, the first World Series game ever played in Colorado. The Red Sox had to re-jigger their line-up heading into the National League ballpark. With the DH not in effect, manager Terry Francona chose to sit down first baseman Kevin Youkilis in order to keep David Ortiz in the line-up, and moved center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the lead-off spot, dropping Dustin Pedroia to second, in order to make up for Youkilis' absence. For the Rockies, Clint Hurdle tried to revive his listless offense by benching lead-off hitter Willy Taveras. Kazuo Matsui moved to the lead-off spot, Troy Tulowitzki batted second, and Cory Sullivan played center field in Taveras's stead. The changes reinvigorated the Rockies' offense to some extent, but it was not enough to overcome another offensive barrage from Boston.
For the fourth time in five games, Boston posted a six-run inning, this time coming in the 3rd off Colorado's Josh Fogg. Ellsbury led off with a double, Pedroia laid down a bunt single that moved him to third base. The heart of the Red Sox line-up then did its usual damage, with a double by Ortiz, an intentional walk to Manny Ramirez and single by Mike Lowell making it 3-0. Fogg almost wiggled out of trouble when J.D. Drew popped up and Ramirez was thrown out at home on Jason Varitek's single. After Julio Lugo was walked semi-intentionally to load the bases, Fogg only had to retire his opposite number, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who did not have a base hit in his major league career (but who had gone 5 for 20 with a double and homer in interleague play in Japan), to end the inning. But Dice-K singled to left, driving in two runs, and Ellsbury followed with his second double of the inning to make it 6-0 and chase Fogg from the game.
At that point, Colorado could have rolled over and played dead, but they managed to mount a nice comeback to put themselves back in the game. The Rockies scored two runs in the bottom of the 6th, chasing Matsuzaka when he walked Todd Helton and Garrett Atkins after one out. His successor Javier Lopez allowed singles to the next two hitters, Brad Hawpe and Yorvit Torrealba, to make it 6-2. Mike Timlin replaced Lopez and retired back-to-back pinch-hitters to leave things there. However, Colorado was back at it in the 7th, using some little ball tactics followed by a big bang. Matsui dropped a bunt single, stole second and made it to third on Tulowitzki's single. Hideki Okajima replaced Timlin, but Matt Holliday greeted him with a crushing blow to the deepest part of Coors Field, bringing the score to 6-5. Helton followed with a single, but Okajima retired the next three batters to keep the score from being tied.
Boston gave itself some breathing room with three runs off Brian Fuentes in the 8th. The big blows were Ellsbury's third double of the game, followed by a two-run double by Pedroia. The Red Sox needed that breathing space, because the Rockies went back at it in the bottom of the 8th. Matsui singled with two outs, then Tulowitzki walked, bringing up Holliday again. With the tying run in the on-deck circle, it was a save situation, and Francona brought in his closer, Jonathan Papelbon. Holliday flied out on the first pitch. Boston added a 10th run in the 9th, but it was academic by now. Colorado had wasted its last real opportunity, and went down in the bottom of the inning without scoring in spite of Hawpe's two-out triple.
Matsuzaka became the first Japanese pitcher to get a win in a World Series game. Ellsbury tied a rookie record with four hits in a Series game - only Freddie Lindstrom (1924) and Joe Garagiola (1946) had done so previously.
|WP: Jon Lester (1-0), LP: Aaron Cook (0-1), SV: Jonathan Papelbon (3)|
|Home Runs: BOS - Mike Lowell (1), Bobby Kielty (1); COL - Brad Hawpe (1), Garrett Atkins (1)|
- Attendance: 50,041
Three years after sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first World Series title in 86 years, the Boston Red Sox completed a sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 4-3 victory in Denver. The result may have looked close, but once again, Boston held the lead for the entire game, forcing the Rockies to play a futile game of catch-up. The pitching match-up was interesting in that it featured two pitchers making their first start of the postseason, Aaron Cook for Colorado who was coming back from an injury suffered in August, and Jon Lester for Boston filling in for the injured Tim Wakefield, who had been left off the World Series roster. Both pitched well, but the edge went to Lester who gave his team 5 2/3 scoreless innings before giving the ball to the bullpen.
Once again, Boston started strong, with Jacoby Ellsbury's lead-off double. David Ortiz drove him in one out later and the Red Sox held a lead they would never relinquish. They added a second run in the 5th by repeating the same scenario, with Mike Lowell providing the lead-off double and Jason Varitek the one-out RBI single. They made it 3-0 in the 7th when Lowell hit a lead-off home run, sealing his claim on the title of World Series MVP. The Rockies began a comeback attempt with Brad Hawpe's home run in the bottom of the inning off Manny Delcarmen. However, Boston added another run in the top of the 8th when Bobby Kielty, pinch-hitting for Mike Timlin, hit a home run off Brian Fuentes. Hideki Okajima came in to pitch the 8th for the Red Sox and allowed a one-out single to Todd Helton. Garrett Atkins followed with a home run, and the score was now 4-3 in favor of Boston. That brought in ace closer Jonathan Papelbon, who got the last two outs of the inning.
After the Red Sox went down in order in the top of the 9th, the Rockies were down to their last chance against the practically-unhittable Papelbon with the bottom of the order due up. He retired Yorvit Torrealba on a ground ball, Jamey Carroll on a line drive to Ellsbury in left, and got pinch-hitter Seth Smith on strikes to earn his third save of the series. The Red Sox were World Champions again, having obliterated baseball's hottest team in four easy games.
- Bill Nowlin and Jim Prime: From the Babe to the Beards: The Boston Red Sox in the World Series, Sports Publishing LLC, New York, NY, 2014. ISBN 978-1-6132-1727-6
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