Jon Lester took Round 1 of the Ace vs. Ace matchup versus Adam Wainwright in Game 1 of the World Series. He scored another win in Round 2 on Monday.
Lester yielded a solo home run to Matt Holliday in the fourth inning but was otherwise in control all night, permitting just four hits and no walks while striking out seven. He required just 91 pitches to navigate through 7 2/3 frames of one-run ball.
The left-hander’s work in the postseason – both this year and in his entire career – has been awfully impressive. In five starts during this year’s playoffs, Lester boasts a 1.56 ERA and 29/8 K/BB ratio across 34 2/3 innings. In 11 career postseasons starts, he holds a 1.97 mark with 63 strikeouts over 73 frames.
Even as fantastic as Lester has been, he probably won’t win World Series MVP should the Red Sox ultimately prevail. That honor would likely go to postseason dynamo David Ortiz, who compiled three more hits and an RBI in Monday’s win. The slugger is an incredible 11-for-15 with two doubles, two home runs and six RBI in the first five games. He’s also walked four times and has yet to strike out.
The Cardinals got 10 strikeouts from Wainwright Monday, but he also allowed three runs, with the back breakers coming in the seventh on an RBI double by David Ross and RBI single from Jacoby Ellsbury. He’s lost each of his last three playoff starts.
Still, it’s hard to pin too much on Wainwright. The Cardinals’ offense, which led the National League in runs scored by a wide margin during the regular season, was held to three or fewer runs for the ninth time in 16 playoff games. They’ll obviously need to kick things into gear in order to have a shot at winning the next two games in Boston.
The Red Sox will send John Lackey to the hill in Game 6 on Wednesday as they try to close things out, while the Cardinals will counter with Michael Wacha. Jake Peavy and Joe Kelly would be on tap for a potential Game 7 Thursday.
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Cabrera to Undergo Groin Surgery
If you watched the Tigers at all down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs, you know that Miguel Cabrera was playing through a groin injury that was severely limiting him. So, it comes as no surprise that the slugger will have his groin operated on Tuesday.
"Those are decisions you have to make sometimes, if not it affects your future," Cabrera told ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas. "If not, it could hurt your career, and that's what I based my decision on. I consulted with the team and made this decision personally so I could keep playing with the team. I tried to [play hurt] to take advantage of the chance we had in the playoffs, because with so many good teams you never know when a chance like this will come along. It took me eight or nine years to get back in the playoffs and I wanted to be back there and help the team win."
Tigers manager Dave Dombrowski said last week that Cabrera had a “Grade 2 or 3” tear of groin fibers, so the operation will be a significant one. But while more will be known about his timetable after the surgery is performed, all indications are that he’ll be just fine for the start of spring training. Lynn Henning of the Detroit News writes that the Tigers “expect a rapid recovery for Cabrera.”
Update: Cabrera underwent successful core muscle repair surgery (another name for sports hernia surgery) Tuesday morning. He'll need 6-8 weeks of rehab and is expected to be 100 percent for spring training.
The Reds have promoted former pitching coach Bryan Price to manager and the Nationals are expected to officially announce after the World Series the hiring of Matt Williams as their new skipper. However, there are still a few other openings that need to be filled.
Padres bench coach Rick Renteria is considered the front-runner to land the Cubs’ managing gig, but he’s also a candidate elsewhere. Renteria has already interviewed for the Mariners’ opening and is expected to interview for the Tigers’ job, as well. In addition to Renteria, the Cubs will also give a second interview to former Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch.
Former big league catcher Brad Ausmus interviewed for the Tigers’ job on Monday, becoming the third known candidate for what is the most desirable job that’s still open. Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach have also interviewed for the gig. If Ausmus doesn’t get the Tigers’ job and Renteria is hired somewhere, he’s expected to slide into Renteria’s bench coach job with San Diego.
Giants bench coach Ron Wotus is the latest to interview for the Mariners’ opening. The aforementioned Renteria and McClendon have already interviewed for the Seattle job, as has A's bench coach Chip Hale. The M’s reportedly have a long wish list, so we should see more names start to surface in the coming days.
National League Quick Hits: Three Nationals players underwent minor surgeries last week, with Bryce Harper (knee), Stephen Strasburg (elbow) and Adam LaRoche (elbow) having operations. All are expected to be fine for spring training ... Clayton Richard has elected free agency after being outrighted off the Padres’ 40-man roster. He’s recovering from shoulder surgery but is expected to be fine for the start of spring training ... Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported over the weekend that the Padres determined during their recently completed organizational meetings that it would be best not to trade Chase Headley this offseason ... Matt Harvey (elbow) said less than a week after Tommy John surgery that he’s already ahead of schedule ...
American League Quick Hits: Shane Victorino (back) is expected back in the lineup for Game 6 of the World Series after not starting Games 4 and 5 ... Clay Buchholz will be available out of the bullpen for Game 6 and a potential Game 7 ... Nolan Reimold expects to be fully healthy by the start of spring training following his July surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his spine ... Chris Iott of MLive.com believes the Tigers might non-tender Phil Coke this offseason. Coke made $1.85 million this season and is arbitration-eligible for a final time this winter ...