Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning of game five of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. The Red Sox won 3-1. (USA TODAY Sports: Jeff Curry)
Fans in Boston could be celebrating a World Series title at Fenway Park for the first time in 95 years when the Red Sox play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Six on Wednesday.
After winning the previous two games of the series in St. Louis to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Red Sox would claim their third Major League Baseball crown in 10 years with one more win in Boston.
Their last two titles were capped off on the road with Boston completing four-game sweeps over the Rockies in Colorado in 2007 and the Cardinals in St. Louis in 2004.
Before that, the Red Sox had not won a World Series since 1918, an 86-year span known as “The Curse of the Bambino” because their luck changed after selling Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920.
“It would be awesome,” John Lackey, Boston’s Game Six starting pitcher, told reporters on Tuesday about winning the World Series in front of the home fans.
“As far as personally, I’m just thinking about executing pitches and trying to win a game. And hopefully we get to that point.
“We’re definitely confident. We played here pretty good this season. And the place, the atmosphere, is going to be great. The fans are going to be crazy,” he added.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, were temporarily grounded on a St. Louis airport runway on Tuesday because of problems with the airplane that was to take them to Boston.
“We’ve been sitting on the plane here for a couple of hours with some mechanical difficulties,” manager Mike Matheny told reporters in a conference call.
“So they’re still continuing to work on our plane. There’s another plane en route in case they can’t get this one to where it needs to be.”
Taking the mound in Wednesday’s possible elimination game for St. Louis will be their 22-year-old rookie sensation Michael Wacha.
Wacha has been on an amazing run, nearly throwing a no-hitter in the regular season finale, winning an elimination game against Pittsburgh in the Division Series and twice outdueling Clayton Kershaw to win the League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award.
“I imagine it’s going to be crazy, but I’m not going to pay any attention to it,” Wacha said in his conference call about the atmosphere at Fenway Park.
“I’ll keep going about my business the way I have been in all my starts this year. And not worry about the crowd, and just get locked in with Yadi (catcher Yadier Molina) behind the plate and just make my pitches.”
The Cardinals know that if Wacha works his mound magic one more time and posts a victory, it would be do-or-die for both teams in a winner-take-all Game Seven in Boston on Thursday.
Slumping St. Louis hitters, batting a meager .218 in the series, must start producing to have a shot at adding to their National League record of 11 World Series crowns.
“There’s no sugarcoating this,” Cardinals lead-off hitter Matt Carpenter said after Monday’s loss.
“We had three games at home and we lost two of them. There is nobody happy with how this has gone. It will be an absolute dogfight the next two games.”
Wacha said he and his team mates were just calmly riding out the delay.
“Everyone is just watching movies,” he said. “They’ve got dinner on here for us and stuff. Everyone is just walking around. Nobody is in a bad mood or anything like that. The attitude is pretty good.”
Wacha said he was eager for what lay ahead in Boston.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow, just really looking forward to it,” said the rookie pitcher.