Amidst the organized chaos on the field at Fenway Park as Saturday night to turned to Sunday morning, Brandon Workman, dripping a combination of champagne and perspiration, sought out and embraced one teammate in particular: Xander Bogaerts.
These two rookies, a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher and a 21-year-old infielder, savored part of the moment together — and for good reason. Six months ago, as the Red Sox began a turnaround season to just about everyone’s surprise, they were enduring long bus rides and frigid Maine nights with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs.
“I just grabbed Bogaerts and said, ‘We’re a long way from Portland right now, aren’t we?’ ” said Workman, about as jubilant as one would expect a veteran of exactly 23 major league games to be. “Obviously for both of us it’s what we planned on — well, not planned, but were hoping to do this year, and to be able to do it, and both of us contributing a little bit, it’s special right now.”
After pitching effectively with Portland for two months, Workman left Bogaerts and the Sea Dogs for Triple-A Pawtucket, where he stayed for about a month until injuries to the major league team necessitated his call-up. Bogaerts, meanwhile, made the jump to the PawSox five days after Workman did, and he continued to display the skills that made him the organization’s top prospect: power and patience at the plate combined with a will to learn in the field and maturity beyond his years off of it.
Bogaerts made his much-anticipated big league debut Aug. 20 in San Francisco, and despite sporadic play since has earned himself what seems to be a regular spot in the postseason lineup.
Now, with the Red Sox off to their third World Series in a decade, the pair has its fingerprints all over the Red Sox’ American League Championship Series title, clinched by Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Tigers.
Bogaerts struck first. He sent a screaming two-out double off of the Green Monster — a liner that would have been out in a lot of parks, including Fenway had it been a few feet to the right. Jacoby Ellsbury drove him in one pitch later with a single to right to break a scoreless tie.
Workman’s contribution came just half an inning later, but at a time when things were looking far bleaker for the Sox. The Tigers had just taken a 2-1 lead and were threatening for more with men on the corners and no one out. Manager John Farrell brought Workman in to face Jhonny Peralta, one of Detroit’s hottest hitters.
Peralta sent an 0-1 fastball to Dustin Pedroia at second and it turned into two outs. Pedroia tagged Victor Martinez, his former teammate who was running to second, then fired home to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who ran Prince Fielder back toward third. Fielder’s belly-flop back to the bag fell far short, and Saltalamacchia fell on him for the second out. Alex Avila watched a 94 mph fastball for strike three to end the inning.
“I thought we were just going to get a regular double play,” Workman said. “My back was turned and I didn’t see what Fielder was doing. Next thing I know, it looked like Pedey was about to throw a ball through my chest to the plate, so I just hit the dirt. I was trying to stay out of the way.”
Workman returned for the seventh, but after retiring the first two batters, Jose Iglesias singled and Torii Hunter reached on a dribbler Workman couldn’t get a grip on. Junichi Tazawa escaped the jam to make Workman’s line final 1 2/3 scoreless innings, two hits, one strikeout.
“Workman tonight,” Farrell started, “outstanding inning-plus on his part.”
The Sox’ seventh-inning rally culminated in Shane Victorino’s series-winning grand slam, and Bogaerts was again in the middle of it. He drew a walk — his second of the game and fifth in 11 postseason plate appearances — as the last batter likely AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer faced.
That plate appearance was consistent with his first two, and, really, consistent with his season. Bogaerts worked the count full all three times he stepped up to the plate, seeing a total of 19 pitches, nearly a fifth of Scherzer’s 110 on the night.
Bogaerts’ first time up was particularly impressive. He went down 0-2 — both fastballs called strikes — before taking a number of close pitches.
“I know [Scherzer is] an amazing pitcher, but the first at-bat I took two fastballs,” Bogaerts said, as even-keeled as ever. “I just wanted to see his angle, see where the ball comes out because I’d never faced him. I ended up having a good day and we won.”
Added Farrell: “Much like we’ve gotten reports all year long from our development staff, he’s beyond his years. He’s got a bright, bright future.”
The rookies’ contributions underscore the Red Sox philosophy of just how important it is to groom your own talent.
“Those two guys certainly played a part of [the win],” said Ben Crockett, director of player development, getting in on the celebration on the field. “And I think from top to bottom we’re all very proud of the contributions they made.”
Workman, still trying to find words to describe not only the rush of winning the pennant but the journey that he and Bogaerts took to get there, put it simply.
“It’s worked out for both of us,” Workman said. “It’s been a hell of a ride.”
A ride that that has yet to end.
Daniel Jeremiah calls NFL Sunday to preview the NFL Draft and discuss what the New England Patriots will be looking to do starting Thursday night.
In hour 2 of NFL Sunday, we get more draft talk from Price and Dickerson. They discuss if the Pats will trade up or down at all or what they can get by staying put. Also, what does the RB position look like for New England? We hear from Daniel Jeremiah from the NFL Network and NFL.com and get his thoughts on the NFL draft and what the Patriots will do. Finally, the boys talk about the Greg Hardy situation in Dallas.
It's finally the week of the NFL Draft and the guys are psyched. They kick off the show discussing the release of the NFL schedule and how they expect the Pats to do against a relatively easy road for the Super Bowl champs. Greg and Chris talk about any difficult match-ups and if any teams in the AFC East can contend with the Patriots. Then the boys move on to the Draft and where the Pats may go. WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia joins the program to discuss his thoughts on the upcoming draft, the Pats needs and his ideas on why the Patriots may in fact trade up this season.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox super utility man Brock Holt, who hit the game winning 3 run home run that propelled the Red Sox over the Baltimore Orioles, and played some stellar defense to seal the win.
Continued Red Sox talk on benching Victorino and the Red Sox pitching issues..and Sean's love for the band Poison.
Dale and Michael check in with the Red Sox manager John Farrell for his weekly take on all things Boston Red Sox.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
Stephen A. expressed his thoughts on Tom Brady's White House snub and Floyd Mayweather's past.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Kevin Love and the Celtics.
The Celtics, unsurprisingly, were swept by the Cavs and Jackie helped the guys recap the season, and the crazy final game which saw some hard fouls as well as an ejection of JR Smith.
The guys dissect Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer on Friday night.
The Red Sox rotation has the worst ERA in the league. No one thought this team had a true Ace, but did we think it was going to be this bad?
Michael, Jerry and Dale speak with draft guru Todd McShay of ESPN for some insight on what the Patriots might do in the upcoming draft.
We talk to Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com and discuss his column on Rajon Rondo from ESPN and ESPN the Magazine.
Dale and Michael discuss some news on deflategate as the 100 day mark approaches us.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Gerry, Kirk and Glenn discuss Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer and Chris Gasper's latest column.
Football fans and Fantasy Footballers know that there is NO Offseason in the NFL, so Jim and Pete are back with the first of a series of Fantasy Football Podcasts of the “NFL Draft variety.” Tune in and you’ll get an in depth analysis on Pete’s most first batch of scouting reports on this year’s crop of Rookie Targets. Jim and Pete kick it off with a lot of focus on a Runningback rich draft class, some of the top Wide Receiver talent and touch on the top Quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Enjoy!
Uncle Buck joins Chris on the show again to talk about Raw from 4/20, finishing maneuvers and gives a few classic match picks.
Stephen A. expressed his thoughts on Tom Brady's White House snub and Floyd Mayweather's past.More from this show
Dale and Michael discuss some news on deflategate as the 100 day mark approaches us.More from this show
Michael, Jerry and Dale speak with draft guru Todd McShay of ESPN for some insight on what the Patriots might do in the upcoming draft.More from this show
Jim Palmer continues to take shots at David Ortiz, and everyone wants to weigh in on Tom Brady's White House no-show.More from this show