The reminder probably isn’t required around here, but the Red Sox’ most recent World Series game prior to Wednesday was one to permanently savor.
Jon Lester earned the win, Jonathan Papelbon locked down the save, and on the cool Colorado night of Oct. 28, 2007, the Red Sox wrapped up a four-game sweep of the Rockies with a 4-3 win to clinch their second World Series in four years.
Mike Lowell savors it. In fact, the smooth third baseman was a huge part of it, being named Most Valuable Player after homering in Game 4 and hitting . 400 for the Series.
Now Lowell is watching and studying the latest Red Sox entrant in the Fall Classic as an analyst for the MLB Network. And he likes what he sees, though similarities to his 2007 team and even the ’04 champs (he was with the Marlins then) aren’t easily found.
“I think with the ’07 team, and you can even go back to the ’04 team, there were really some big-name superstars,’’ said Lowell. “I mean, several of them. You’re talking David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez — obviously Pedro wasn’t there in ’07 — but you had those names.
“What I think sets this team apart is that while you have David, and Dustin [Pedroia] is one of the elite second basemen, they’re more of a team that beats you down the line, you know?
“One night it could be [Shane] Victorino, the next night [Jarrod] Saltalamacchia. You’ve got Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes, a lot of guys that you have to pay attention to, rather than a couple of guys where the pitcher might look at the lineup and say, ‘Let me get by David and Manny and then maybe I can take a deep breath.’
“Here, they can keep that line moving, one great at-bat after another, and that puts a lot of pressure on opposing pitching staffs and defenses.”
The 2007 Red Sox weren’t the first World Series champ for whom Lowell played. He debuted with 15 plate appearances for the mighty 1998 Yankees, who went 125-50, including the postseason. Five years later, he was the established third baseman for the Marlins team that shocked the Yankees, winning the World Series in six games.
In right field for those Marlins was a 20-year-old phenom named Miguel Cabrera, who homered off Roger Clemens in Game 4. Lowell knows a future star when he sees one, having shared a lineup card with a few. So what does he think of precocious Red Sox infielder Xander Bogaerts?
“I love him. Love him,” said Lowell. “By his face, he looks 20, if that, but the pitches he was laying off [against the Tigers] while facing literally the elite pitchers in the league, he plays the game like he’s been around 10 years.
“And it’s not a cockiness. It looks like a really cool confidence that he has, playing a premium position of shortstop. It is something Miggy had when he came up.
“I compare it to when I was 20. I’m a sophomore in college, playing with an aluminum bat, nervous as heck about facing a ranked team. His maturity and baseball knowledge and baseball sense are way beyond his years.”
Articulate and insightful, Lowell has a baseball sense that comes through during his appearances on MLB Network, which isn’t a full-time gig by his choosing.
“Once a month I fly into [New Jersey, where the studios are] for a handful of days,’’ said Lowell, who will be in St. Louis on duty for Games 3-5. “It’s new and exciting, but I don’t know if I’d still have the love of the game if I were doing it 30 days in a row.
“But the World Series, how do you not get excited about talking about that?”