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Thursday, March 03, 2022

The Lockout Files - ALDS MVPs

Have I done this before? I don’t think I have.  Anyway, if I have my apologies but there ain’t much to talk about so let’s revisit the theory.

So of course we all know about the ALCS and World Series MVPs, but for some reason the various League Division Series don’t select an MVP.  The Boston Red Sox have won eight LDSes since the 1995 advent of that series and I thought it would be a fun trip down memory lane to pick an MVP from each of those series;

1999 - Pedro Martinez
- This would have been an interesting vote.  Nomar was the team leader in OPS (1.646) for the series but missed game three with the Sox down 2-0, Troy O’Leary had the monster game five but had done little up to that point, John Valentin drove in twelve runs in the five games and the highest OPS in the series among players who played all five games was….Mike Stanley and all those guys had an OPS over 1.100.  But what Pedro did against the Indians vaunted thousand run offense (10 innings, 3 hits, no runs) is just stupidly good.

2003 - Todd Walker
- One of the great casualties of the LCS loss is the memory of Walker’s post-season run.  Walker posted an OPS over 1.000 in both series including a three homer LDS against Oakland.  You could make a case for Jason Varitek who also had an OPS over 1.000 against Oakland including his game tying homer in game five and Scott Williamson was brilliant and had he been able to close out game five this award would have been his.  If you forgot, in his first post-season series with the Sox David Ortiz went 2 for 21.

2004 - David Ortiz - The legend of David Ortiz really started here and while he is remembered for his game three walk off (Jerry Trupiano screaming “The Red Sox are going to American League Championship Series on the back of David Ortiz!” will be in my brain on my deathbed) he was a force all series.  He went 6 for 11 with five walks and four runs scored.  Johnny Damon was a leadoff machine (7 for 15, 3 steals) and Keith Foulke had three scoreless innings in two appearances but really, this was Ortiz’ award.

2007 - Josh Beckett - A bit of controversy here.  Ortiz had another amazing series (.714/.846/1.571) but my hypothetical writers are sick of giving him awards and look to Beckett.  The big righty solidified his own blossoming post-season resume with his tone-setting game one domination of the Angels.  Manny (1.740 OPS and a walk off homer) and Schilling (7 shutout innings also get a look in from the knights of the keyboard in a series that frankly was more coronation than competition.

2008 - Jason Bay - Now here we have an award that can go a lot of different directions.  Bay was the offensive star of this series for the Sox with a 1.356 OPS and two homers then scored the winning run on Jed Lowrie’s single followed Bay’s double in game four.  Jon Lester was a beast pitching 13 scoreless innings in two starts and Jonathan Papelbon had five scoreless innings in three relief appearances.

2013 - Jacoby Ellsbury - The Red Sox centerfielder was at his dynamic best in this series hitting .500/.526/.611 and stealing three bases.  His stolen base then continuing on to third on the wild pitch that tied game four set the stage for the Sox to take the decisive lead in that game.  He was all over the place that whole series.  In a stunning development Ortiz had a huge series and while remember Koji Uehara’s brilliance in the LCS and WS that year it was Craig Breslow who was the relief star in this series.

2018 - Chris Sale - No one had a particularly stand out series in this one (well, Giancarlo Stanton hit .222 with 6 Ks).  Brock Holt made history with his game three cycle but that was his only game of the series. Sale pitched well in game one then had a great inning of relief in game four.  Nathan Eovaldi was similarly effective though his game three start loses some luster from the fact that the Sox were up by a couple of touchdowns before the fifth inning.

2021 - Kiké Hernandez - Ah that week in 2021 when Kiké Hernandez was the best hitter on the planet.  Dude went off with a couple of homers and the walk off sacrifice fly to send the Sox to the ALCS.  JD Martinez had a similarly great series while Garrett Whitlock was a relief star but this was Hernandez’ award all the way.

2021 Wild Card - Xander Bogaerts - Hey let’s keep it going and we give this award to Xander for his first inning homer and magnificent relay to gun down Judge at the plate.

1975 ALCS - Carl Yastrzemski - There was no LCS MVP in 1975* but the Sox’ greatest clutch player prior to Big Papi took center stage in the club’s first ever LCS.  The 35 year old only had eight more years in him and put up a .455/.500/.818 line against the three time world champion A’s.  Luis Tiant pitched a complete game in game one and Dick Drago notched two saves but Yaz was the man then.  The Sox used five pitchers in the three games total, they used five pitchers to get six outs in game three in the 2013 LDS.

* and for some reason an NLCS MVP was introduced in 1977 but the ALCS MVP didn’t come about until 1980.

Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 03, 2022 at 01:47 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: March 03, 2022 at 03:12 PM (#6066693)
John Valentin drove in twelve runs in the five games
Yeah, but 7 of those RBI were in one game that they won by 16 runs. It's gotta be Pedro or Nomar, and I think Pedro steals it at the end. Narrative matters, and changing a back-and-forth slugfest into a complete shutdown of an offensive juggernaut was absolute sorcery.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: March 03, 2022 at 04:29 PM (#6066694)
2003 - Todd Walker - One of the great casualties of the LCS loss is the memory of Walker’s post-season run. Walker posted an OPS over 1.000 in both series including a three homer LDS against Oakland. You could make a case for Jason Varitek who also had an OPS over 1.000 against Oakland including his game tying homer in game five and Scott Williamson was brilliant and had he been able to close out game five this award would have been his. If you forgot, in his first post-season series with the Sox David Ortiz went 2 for 21.
Derek Lowe is also a candidate for this series.

And even in a series with Ortiz going 2 for 21, he still had a huge huge huge hit.
   3. Where have you gone Brady Anderson? Posted: March 03, 2022 at 06:09 PM (#6066699)
Pedro in the 1999 Division Series is one of the key reasons I’m a Red Sox fan. I had just started college in Maine, and the energy among the Sox fans I was watching with was electric when he came out of the bullpen in game 5. It was a whole other level of intensity than anything I’d seen before, and I was increasingly drawn in from there.
   4. Rough Carrigan Posted: March 08, 2022 at 02:26 PM (#6067055)
Almost as powerful as the positive reaction of Sox fans was the fearful reaction of Indians fans. When Pedro came out of the bullpen Jacobs Field apparently went hear a pin drop silent.

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