CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Ortiz aims for history, Wainwright out to make amends

Ortiz aims for history, Wainwright out to make amends

Ortiz aims for history, Wainwright out to make amends

Here are five storylines to watch for in Game 5 of the World Series tonight on FOX (7:30 ET, first pitch 8:07):

Boston strong
David Ortiz, whose designated-hitter role doesn't exist for the three World Series games in St. Louis, has survived the past two games at first base just fine, which makes it that much easier for the Red Sox to keep his bat in the lineup in Game 5.

More

Ortiz is having a World Series to remember. He has hit .727 and has a 2.114 OPS in the first four games, with two home runs, five RBIs and four walks. And Ortiz hasn't struck out, either.

There have been only four players who have hit .600 or better in a World Series. They are Billy Hatcher of the 1990 Reds (.750) and three Yankees: Babe Ruth in 1928 (.625), Hideki Matsui in 2009 (.615) and Ricky Ledee in 1998 (.600).

There also have been only four players to have an OPS of 2.000 or higher in a World Series: Lou Gehrig of the 1928 Yankees (2.433), Hatcher in 1990 (2.050), Matsui in 2009 (2.027) and Ruth in 1928 (2.022).

Looking to rebound
Adam Wainwright will start for St. Louis, and he has a chance to make amends for his struggles in Game 1 -- the one blemish on his postseason record. He lost Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Los Angeles, but in that game, he gave up only two runs in seven innings of a 3-0 shutout.

But about that Game 1 in Boston. Wainwright allowed five runs, three earned, in five innings of the 8-1 loss. He allowed only four runs in 23 innings in his three previous starts this postseason.

Wainwright is comfortable pitching at Busch Stadium. He was only 9-6 at home this season compared to 10-3 on the road, but he had a 2.53 ERA at Busch compared to 3.36 on the road. And in Wainwright's career, he is 53-32 with a 2.67 ERA in 128 games, 97 of them starts, at Busch III. He pitched in one game -- his Major League debut in September 2005 -- at Busch II.

Jonny on the spot
Will Jonny Gomes be in the Boston lineup? If manager John Farrell has a superstitious bone in his body, Gomes will be in the outfield. Gomes hit the three-run home run that lifted the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory Sunday that tied the World Series at 2-2.

However, there is more than that. It was the first -- and so far only -- hit Gomes has had in 10 World Series at-bats. And he's only 6-for-42 (.143) in the postseason. But the Red Sox are 8-1 with Gomes in the starting lineup this month.

Left on
With lefty Jon Lester back on the mound for Boston, the Cardinals were optimistic that Allen Craig can return to help balance out a lineup that can be heavy with left-handed hitters.

Craig, who missed September and the first two rounds of the postseason with a sprained left foot, was the DH in Games 1 and 2 at Boston, but he was limited to pinch-hit duties in Games 3 and 4 in St. Louis. He aggravated the injury Friday night when he doubled in the ninth and scored the game-winning run on an obstruction call.

Lester dominated the Cards in Game 1, allowing five hits in 7 2/3 shutout innings, walking one and striking out eight. He has allowed only five earned runs in 27 innings this postseason.

Craig, meanwhile, led the Cardinals with 97 RBIs during the regular season, despite the time he missed. He hit .315 with 13 home runs, and his .278 average against lefties was the fourth best on the Cards. Craig had six home runs, second to Carlos Beltran's seven, and ranked second with a .468 on-base percentage and third with a .779 OPS.

Help wanted
The Red Sox might feel fortunate to have split the first four games as they have batted only .189. Of the 27 previous teams to hit below .200 in a World Series, only three won: the 1918 Red Sox (.186), 1930 Phillies (.197) and 1906 White Sox (.198).

While Ortiz is hitting .727, the only other Red Sox players hitting .200 or better are Dustin Pedroia (.267), Xander Bogaerts (.231) and Daniel Nava (.200).

The Red Sox have scored 18 runs but are only 5-for-24 with runners in scoring position. The .208 average with RISP is low, but this is the World Series, between two league champions, so it is not as unusual as it may seem.

There have been 68 teams that have hit .208 or worse with runners in scoring position in a World Series. The 1966 Dodgers were hitless in 22 such at-bats, although they did draw five walks. They were swept by the Orioles, who shut them out three times and outscored them, 13-2.

There have been four World Series winners that hit below .150 with runners in scoring position: the 1918 Red Sox (.111), 1944 Cardinals (.130), 1909 Pirates (.141) and 1991 Twins (.148).

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less