PITTSFIELD -- Local Red Sox fans are hungry for another World Series.
And they could get their chance with a win today against the Detroit Tigers.
It's been six years since the Boston Red Sox last went to the World Series and swept the Rockies for their seventh title.
Another trip would be dramatic for a team given little credence this year after trading away Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett last season.
With the return of pitcher Clay Buchholz from injuries, the re-emergence of pitcher John Lackey after Tommy John surgery and the never before seen dominance of closer Koji Uehara, the Sox are on the precipice of another World Series trip.
They can thank David Ortiz, who hit the grand slam heard around Massachusetts in the eighth inning of Game 2 to bring back the Sox from a four-run deficit and certain defeat.
For many, though, Koji comes first.
"He's like lightning out of a bottle," Pittsfield resident Jim Conant said.
The Japanese sensation set a record this year for fewest baserunners allowed per inning of any pitcher who has logged 50 innings in a season.
"He's like Rivera," Conant said.
He's been better than Rivera this year, with an unheard of 0.56 walks and hits per innings allowed and an unhittable splitter.
But Sox fans aren't taking anything for granted.
They know it will be tough to topple Max Scherzer today, who is a favorite to be named the American League Cy Young Award winner.
Scherzer was removed early in Game 2 in a controversial decision by manager Jim Leyland, leading to the eventual David Ortiz home run.
"Hopefully, Buchholz has enough to get them a few innings and get them to the bullpen," Pittsfield City Councilor-at-Large Kevin Sherman said.
Buchholz has had two shaky postseason outings after returning from a neck injury.
If they don't win today, Sherman is confident they can win Sunday with Lackey, whose curveball mesmerized in six shutout innings against Detroit in Game 3.
"I'm a charter member of the John Lackey fan club," Sherman said.
"I've been driving the bandwagon since February and I have witnesses to prove it," he said. "He came to camp looking like he was on a mission."
Conant, who calls himself a "diehard," is impressed with this group because "the bottom part of the lineup -- they're getting no offense."
Ortiz, he noted, "is batting .105, but out of that little batting average he hits a grand slam."
Mike Heck, who bartends at Patrick's Pub and J. Allen's Clubhouse and Grille in Pittsfield, calls that the biggest home run that Ortiz hit.
He was bartending at J. Allen's that night when the ball cleared the right field fence and outfielder Torii Hunter's glove in the bullpen.
"It felt like an earthquake," he said.
Tom Sakshaug, a local dentist, was in the right field seats at the game.
"I really thought that it was going to happen," Sakshaug said.
"You could feel it," he added.
Sherman calls this team "a bunch of blue collar players you can feel good rooting for," he said. "They're not prima donnas."
Heck likes their teamwork. "I like the unity. I like how they get along with each other," he said.
Conant didn't have much hope at the start of the year.
"You look on paper and you figure it would be a rebuilding year," he said.
"I think they are fortunate to be where they are right now due to the lack of offense," Heck said.
The Sox were no-hit into the ninth inning against Anibal Sanchez in the first game, had no hits against Scherzer until the sixth inning of Game 3 and were no-hit into the fifth inning in the third game against Justin Verlander.
For Sherman, this squad reminds him of the 1986 and 2003 teams, which he considered scrappy but with low expectations. The 1986 team lost to the New York Mets in the World Series and the 2003 team lost to the Yankees in the American League Championship.
Heck is also reminded of the 2003 team, whom he remembers fondly as "The Idiots."
"Hopefully, they can close it out [today] because I don't think my heart can handle a Game 7," Sherman said.
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