Either way, get ready. The World Series is going to end with a bang.
The Boston Red Sox, leading three games to two, haven’t clinched a Series title at Fenway Park since 1918.
“The city of Boston would absolutely go berserk if we were able to pull it off,” outfielder Daniel Nava said. “It would be a pretty surreal scene, don’t you think?”
What do you think it would be like, Jonny Gomes?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t wait to find out.”
Gomes then paused for dramatic effect.
“It would be one of the biggest wins in sports history, if you ask me — in history.”
Which is why the St. Louis Cardinals already are relishing the thought of silencing Fenway, overthrowing Red Sox Nation and sending New England into depression.
“It will be legendary if we go into Boston and win two games,” Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright said.
Of course, the Cardinals first need to win one, and their 3-1 loss in Game 5 on Monday night marked their second straight defeat at Busch Stadium, where they were 54-27 during the regular season and 5-1 in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Red Sox will restore Mike Napoli to their lineup when the Series resumes under American League rules Wednesday night. Heaven knows what the Cardinals will get from the hobbling Allen Craig, who is likely to be their DH but failed to get the ball out of the infield Monday night in his first start at first base since Sept. 4.
Still, the idea of the Cardinals rallying is not as far-fetched as it might sound, considering they will start rookie phenom Michael Wacha in Game 6 and the Red Sox are scheduled to start struggling righty Jake Peavy in Game 7, if necessary.
Obviously, veteran Sox righty John Lackey will be a formidable opponent for Wacha. What’s more, the Cardinals will need to improve upon their Series average of 2.6 runs per game and stop pitching to David Ortiz, who is a ridiculous 11 for 15 in the Series.
But hey, this is the Series in which one game ended on an obstruction call and another ended on a pickoff. Game 5, a classic pitchers’ duel between Wainwright and Sox lefty Jon Lester, marked a return to normalcy. But it’s entirely possible that this Series will feature at least one more odd turn.
If not, well, then the thought of the Sox winning the Series at Fenway for the first time in nearly a century, in the year in which they helped the city heal after the Boston Marathon Bombing, is almost too much to comprehend.
“Papi could have a pretty good speech then,” Nava said, referring to Ortiz’s “This is our f—— city” oratory when baseball returned to Fenway after the tragic events last April.
“It’s kind of fun to hope that he would, right?” Nava continued. “That’s what you hope he would do. And he hasn’t disappointed ever. Keep the standards high, right?”
The Red Sox sure do that on the field, starting with their biggest stars. Lester has been just as brilliant as Ortiz this postseason, producing a 1.56 ERA in five starts. His numbers against the Cardinals in the Series are even more stunning: a 0.59 ERA, 15 strikeouts and one walk in two starts.
Lester is the first Red Sox pitcher to win his first three World Series starts since a slightly more portly left-hander, Babe Ruth, did it nearly a century ago. And all the talk about the green goop on Lester’s glove can now stop — as he said in our postgame interview on FOX, in a classic bit of understatement, he is a good pitcher.
Ortiz and Lester later met with reporters in the interview room, all but forming a comedy team when Ortiz was asked if he could remember a time when he was this locked in.
“I did it like 20 times this year,” Ortiz said, drawing laughter.
“That pretty much sums it up,” Lester added.
“I was born for this,” Ortiz concluded.
Ortiz actually emerged as a voice of reason earlier in the session, explaining that the Red Sox will face unique pressure as they try to win their third Series title in 10 years.
“It’s a tough spot when you get to 3-2 because you know you’re close — that’s the biggest challenge,” Ortiz said. “You’ve got to come back on Wednesday and continue playing the way we have.”
If they do, a 95-year drought will end. If they don’t, the teams will play Game 7.