Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
Boston takes a World Series lead, the Red Sox lose an MVP, and a couple of hurlers celebrate their birthday today
Games of Note: The Boston Red Sox and New York Mets are tied up two games a piece in the 1986 World Series. Bruce Hurst is facing off against 21-year-old phenom Dwight Gooden, who has already pitched once in the series, and surprisingly did not do well. Gooden would once again falter, lasting just four innings while allowing nine hits and two walks, leading to four runs. Sid Fernandez would throw four scoreless frames in relief, but it was too late for New York. Hurst held the Mets' offense to 11 baserunners over the course of a complete-game, scattering them enough that New York would score just twice.
Five different Red Sox hitters picked up a pair of hits, but they stranded 11 baserunners, and went just three-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They secured the win just the same, though, thanks to New York's one-for-eight with RISP.
Jumping ahead to 2004, the Red Sox host Game One of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals after coming from behind to beat the Yankees in the ALCS. Tim Wakefield starts, but does not pitch well. Luckily for Boston, neither does Woody Williams, with the two starters giving up five and seven runs respectively in a combined six innings of work. Dan Haren relieves for the Cardinals, Bronson Arroyo for Boston, but the game isn't decided until the eighth, when the Red Sox score two more runs to put them up 11-9, giving them Game One.
Transactions: Mo Vaughn's Boston career takes its first step towards ending on this day in 1998. The Red Sox grant Vaughn free agency following his age-30 campaign, one in which he hit .337/.402/.591 for a 153 OPS+. It was the sixth-straight year in which Vaughn received MVP votes, as well as his third top-five finish. Vaughn would eventually sign with the Angels, but would play just four more seasons in the majors. His best years (and health) were behind him, so the Red Sox dodged a bullet when Vaughn left for the west coast and a bigger payday.
Birthdays: Two current Red Sox rotation members have a birthday today. Felix Doubront turns 25, while John Lackey is 34. Doubront's age-24 campaign was his first full season in the majors, with the lefty tossing 161 innings. While overall he was below-average, there were flashes of real production within. He needs to be more efficient, though, and being young doesn't necessarily mean that will happen.
Lackey missed all of 2012 thanks to Tommy John surgery, but will be nearly a year-and-a-half removed from the procedure by the time spring training is underway, more than enough time for him to dive right back into a full workload.