The Red Sox have pulled back into a tie in the World Series after a 4-2 victory in Game 4, and once again we are here only to confirm the man we all know brought this one home. But let's go through the process anyways.
Here are your candidates for Red Sox MVP of Game 4:
Anyone who spent the regular season thinking Buchholz should just get over it and get back on the mound must be feeling a little silly after Buchholz' shoulder injury kept him under 90 MPH for most of his four innings of work. To be sure, the reduced velocity inspired a good deal of panic in the fanbase, with everyone just waiting for one of Buchholz' flat get-me-over slowballs to find its way into or beyond the bullpens.
It never happened. Clay placed his pitches well, and the Cardinals rarely took advantage of those pitches he did offer up in order to get ahead in the count. It's hard to believe, but after four innings of work the only run they managed to tack onto the much-diminished Buchholz was unearned thanks to Jacoby Ellsbury surrendering an extra base on a bobble in center field.
Reaching base four times in four trips to the plate? Seems good. The Cardinals pitched around Papi as much as they could, but in the end he reached base every time, contributing a run to both of Boston's attacks. Hard to question that.
Where has Felix Doubront come from? It's not so long ago that Doubront gave up five runs in one relief appearance against the Orioles, saying afterward that he didn't feel like he could give the Sox much help out of the bullpen. Now he's seven innings of one-run ball into the his relief stint in the postseason. That one run came last night, but given that Doubront only gave up the one hit after retiring eight straight, with Breslow allowing the inherited runner to score, I think we can give him a pass.
And so we come to the inevitable conclusion. Jonny Gomes had been awful in the postseason. But for a big double against Detroit, his claim-to-fame was an infield single, however important it may have been in context. Even against Tampa Bay's lefties his success had been muted, and with John Farrell leaving him in the lineup to start against righties he generally has no business facing, the results were predictable.
But whether he's facing a lefty or righty there's no denying that when Gomes gets hold of one, he really gets hold of one. And there's no better cure for the frustration of a 5-for-35 postseason performance than a game-winning three-run homer. In the end, Shane Victorino finally giving in and missing a game ended up being the best thing to happen to the Red Sox thus far this World Series.