2013 World Series Preview

The Fall Classic.  The Masters of the Four Major Championships (stay tuned for that post).  The World Series begins tonight between the American League Champion Boston Red Sox and the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals.  This is the fourth time these two storied franchises face each other in the World Series.  The Cardinals won the first two meetings in 1946 and 1967 and the Red Sox won the last time in 2004 to break the Curse of the Bambino.

Schedule

Because the American League won the All Star Game, the Red Sox will have home-field advantage.  Here’s the full schedule with the probable starting pitchers (STL vs BOS):

Game 1: Tonight at 8:07 in Boston (Adam Wainwright vs. Jon Lester)

Game 2: Tomorrow at 8:07 in Boston (Michael Wacha vs. John Lackey)

Game 3: Saturday at 8:07 in St. Louis (Joe Kelly vs. Clay Bucholtz)

Game 4: Sunday at 8:15 in St. Louis (Lance Lynn vs. Jake Peavy)

Game 5 (if necessary): Monday at 8:07 in St. Louis (Starters TBA)

Game 6 (if necessary): Next Wednesday at 8:07 in Boston

Game 7 (if necessary): Next Thursday at 8:07 in Boston

Positional Matchups

At First Base: Matt Adams (STL) vs. Mike Napoli (BOS)

Napoli had a clutch ALCS hitting two long homers and batted .350 in the 2011 World Series while playing for the Rangers.  Boston Manager John Farrell has said that he will play David Ortiz at first so it will interesting to see how that cuts into Napoli’s playing time.  Matt Adams has moved than stepped up since Allen Craig got injured at the beginning of September batting .308 with nine homers. Edge: Boston

At Second Base: Matt Carpenter (STL) vs. Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

Carpenter was the best everyday man for the Cardinals.  He led the majors in hits (199), runs (126), and doubles (55) and played other positions for the team as well.  Pedroia led the Red Sox in WAR (6.5) mainly due to outstanding defensive play. Despite batting .301, he hit .278 against righties, the handiness of the St. Louis rotation. Edge: Even (STL for Offense/BOS for Defense)

At Third Base: David Freese (STL) vs. Xander Bogarts/Will Middlebrooks (BOS)

Bogarts and Middlebrooks have been platooning during the postseason with Bogarts (1.727 OPS in 11 PA) batting much better than Middlebrooks (.530 OPS in 26 PA).  Freese has had a very down year, resulting in a below replacement WAR (-0.3), much of it coming from a loss of range on the field. Edge: Boston

At Shortstop: Pete Kozma/Daniel Descalso (STL) vs. Stephen Drew (BOS)

The Kozma/Descalso tandem has been was been weak at the plate but great in the field.  Kozma has made crucial plays for St. Louis in their postseason run. It’s been the same story for Stephen Drew, except he’s been better in both aspects, including .190 better in isolated power. Edge: Boston

In Leftfield: Matt Holliday (STL) vs. Jonny Gomes/Daniel Nava (BOS)

In the five years since being traded to the Cardinals, Matt Holliday has been averaging a .304 BA, 25 homers, and 97 RBI.  That is extremely impressive for a 33-year-old.  He has also grounded into only one double play this postseason.  Both Gomes and Nava are good choice for John Farrell. Gomes is weaker against righties than lefties, but he did start four of the six ALCS games. Edge: St. Louis

In Centerfield: John Jay (STL) vs. Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)

John Jay had an OPS of .351 this season, but his defense went down in exchange.  On the flip side, Jacoby Ellsbury came back from injury in perfect form.  Ellsbury has batted .400/.467/.525 with six stolen bases in 45 PA this postseason. Simply put: he can fly, and I’m excited to see him go against Yadier Molina’s cannonball arm. Edge: Boston

In Rightfield: Carlos Beltran (STL) vs. Shane Victorino (BOS)

The Flying Hawaiian’s grand slam sent the Sox into the World Series, but it was only his second extra-base hit of the postseason.  Since essentially becoming a righty, Victorino has hit .300 against right-handers; 26 points higher than the .274 he was hitting as a lefty.  He’d get the edge if Carlos Beltran weren’t tearing up the postseason.  In his last 23 postseason games, he is hitting .309/.412/.630 with five homers, 15 walks, and only nine strikeouts. Edge: St. Louis

Catching: Yadier Molina (STL) vs. Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Saltalamachhia did set career highs in batting for himself this season, but he only threw out 21% of opposing baserunners.  That’s not nearly enough to match-up against the best defensive catch in the league.  And don’t forget that he also made himself one of the best offensive catchers as well. Edge: St. Louis

Bench/DH:

Aside from Allen Craig, the Cards don’t have much in terms of hitting. They do have speed and defense, but so do the Sox in Quintin Berry.  And Boston’s bench DOES have hitting.  Between Big Papi DH-ing, and whoever doesn’t start at third and in left, the Red Sox have a lot of options to turn to for pinch-hitters. Edge: Boston

Starting Pitching:

St. Louis’ starting rotation has proven itself this postseason.  Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha have anchored the Cardinals through out the postseason, letting up a combined five earned runs in six starts.  Lance Lynn has yet for record a quality start, but he and Joe Kelly should be pitching in St. Louis, so they won’t have to deal with the Red Sox Nation at Fenway.  The Red Sox, on the other hand, haven’t been as dominate as one would hope. The Boston starters have a 4.29 ERA, 7.5 strikeouts per nine, and an average of 5.7 innings per start.  Edge: St. Louis

Picks (including our Experts):

G-Man: Red Sox in Six

Matty-D: Red Sox in Six

Jarred S. Barnes: Cardinals in Six. “I hate to pick them yet their pitching is too good regardless of their pitching being subpar. Boston has hole in their offensive that late inning heroics can only do so much. Wainwright and Wacha are going to be too much and I think they may short rest them to get them to pitch again by the end. Wild Card is Allen Craig for St. Louis.”

Greg Piatelli: Red Sox in Six

Abby Tufts: Cardinals in Six

Mike Esposito: Cardinals in Six – “Why go against the Red Sox? Could it be Molina’s cannon of an arm when it comes to throwing out talented base-stealers like Victorino? Perhaps. Could it be the pitching then, in that St. Louis has what I believe to be one of the most talented rookies taking the mound in Game 2? Maybe – Wacha’s good, but he’s yet to prove himself against the experienced lineup of Boston, especially in an away game. What about the x-factor – you know, that intangible piece of awesomeness that fuels monster hits and feeds the roaring fire of momentum in these stress-laden games? Absolutely – The Red Sox have the Power of the Beards, but St. Louis has an x-factor that allows them to rout opponents and ride momentum like no other. If you don’t believe me, call up Don Mattingly. Just don’t bring up bench coaches…”

One thought on “2013 World Series Preview

  1. Pingback: The Bullpen Cart BLOG: 2017 World Series Preview | The THUNDERBLOG

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