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World Series Grades: Red Sox pound Cardinals for third title in 10 years

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

MVP David Ortiz carried the Red Sox to the 2013 World Championship.
MVP David Ortiz carried the Red Sox to the 2013 World Championship. (USATSI)

More World Series: Game 6 box score | Game 6 quick hits

For the third time in the past 10 seasons and the eighth time overall, the Boston Red Sox are World Series champions. They beat the Cardinals by the score of 6-1 in Game 6 on Wednesday night, taking the best-of-7 series 4-2. St. Louis needed terrible defensive mistakes by Boston to win their two games, otherwise they were outscored 27-14 in the series. This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched a world title at home since 1918.

Now that the series -- and baseball season, sadly -- is over, let's look back and hand out some grades for the six-game get. I took some liberties with the format. Hopefully you don't mind.

A+Has there been a more obvious World Series MVP in the last ... I dunno ... 25 years or so? David Ortiz hit a ridiculous .688/.760/1.188 (!!!) in the Fall Classic, reaching base 19 times in 25 plate appearances. Oh, and he was robbed of a grand slam in Game 1. That is bonkers. The Cardinals stopped pitching to him by the end of the series -- World Series record three intentional walks in Game 6 -- but by then it was too late. The damage had been done.
ATwo starts, 15 1/3 innings, one run allowed, one walk allowed, 15 strikeouts ... and he didn't have a shot at series MVP. Jon Lester was magnificant in Games 1 and 5, setting the tone for the series early and pitching his team to a win in the pivotal swing game with the series knotted at two. It was an ace-like performance from a guy who had a 4.82 ERA and was trade bait just last year.
BLost in the Ortiz and Lester mania was John Lackey, who held the Cardinals to four runs in 14 innings (2.57 ERA) across two starts and one relief appearance in the Fall Classic. He capped off his eff you redemption tour with an exclamation point in Game 6 after missing all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery and being possibly the most unliked player in Boston from 2010-11.
DCardinals manager Mike Matheny, specifically his consistently slow hook. He left his starting pitcher in a few batters too long in Games 2, 4, 5 and 6, and each time it led directly to runs. This isn't second-guessing stuff, there was first-guessing at the time on EOB, by fans on Twitter, and even by the broadcast team. Is this the peril of a rookie-ish manager? Maybe. Either way, Matheny made things tougher for his team by leaving his starters in the game longer than they needed to be.
FThe Cardinals scored only 14 runs in the six games because the bottom of their lineup was spectacularly unproductive. That they actually got two hits in Game 6 was a minor miracle compared to Games 1-5. The St. Louis offensive attack basically stopped after Yadier Molina, who, depending on the game, was hitting either fifth or sixth. They got zero RBI from the 6-9 spots in the series. Zero. You can't win with only half a lineup producing. The Cardinals proved that.
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