2013 World Series Preview
The Boston Red Sox
(97-65, 74-81-7 O/U) met the St. Louis Cardinals (97-65, 79-75-8 O/U) in the 2004 World Series and swept the Cardinals in four games to win their first title in 86 years. This is a new era for both teams, especially for the Red Sox, who overhauled their roster last season and are winning with a lot of players, who are not exactly All-Star quality. The Cardinals have a very good offense and quality pitching, but they aren't loaded with big names either.
How did they get here?
St. Louis beat the Los Angles Dodgers in six games in the National League Championship series. They defeated Pittsburgh in three of five games in the National League Division Series.
Boston took three of four in the opening American League Division Series. They followed that by winning four of six games to beat Detroit
in the American League Championship Series.
World Series Odds (from Bovada)
St. Louis 6-5
Total Games in Series
St. Louis finished third in baseball in runs scored, third in on-base percentage and fourth in batting average. But in the postseason, St. Louis ranks ninth, hitting just .210, while Boston is hitting .236.
The Red Sox rank second in baseball with a .277 batting average during the regular season, they rank first in runs scored, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
St. Louis had 125 home runs, while Boston produced 178 this year. Boston was helped by having a designated hitter, except when they travelled to National League Parks. David Ortiz leads the team with a .309 batting average with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs. Ortiz is hitting just .200 in the postseason, but does have three home runs including a key grand slam against Detroit to tie it up in Game 2. When Boston goes on the road to St. Louis, Ortiz might sit because Mike Napoli (.259, 23 HR, 92 RBI) is a quality first baseman.
The Cardinals don't have an Albert Pujols, but they have numerous good power hitters including outfielders Matt Holliday (.300, 22, 94) and Carlos Beltran (.296, 24, 84). Beltran is hitting .256 with two home runs and a team-leading 12 RBIs in the postseason. He's one of the better clutch hitters in the postseason of his generation and is looking for his first World Series win. At first base, Matt Adams (.284, 17, 51) and Allen Craig (.315, 13, 97) are quality hitters. Craig has been injured but should be healed for this game.
The best player on St. Louis is catcher Yadier Molina
(.319, 12, 80), who is tremendous with the glove and the bat. Jarrod Satlalamacchia (.273, 14, 65) is a quality player, who also had 40 doubles this year. But he's not in that elite category, which Molina is.
Edge: St. Louis is just a little deeper
Adam Wainright (19-9, 2.94 ERA is one of the best pitchers in the game. The Cardinals had the second-best rotation ERA during the regular season while Boston finished 11th. The Red Sox don't have a pitcher of Wainright's caliber, but they have a good left in Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75 ERA), who knows how to win the postseason.Clay Buchholz (12-1, 1.74 ERA) had a great regular season, but due to injuries, hasn't quite put it together. He has pitched 16.2 innings and allowed 10 runs with 19 hits and five walks. The key will be John Lackey (2-0, 3.00 postseason), who has pitched well in the regular season, going 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA.
St. Louis rookie Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA) has been unreal in postseason. He's never faced a lineup like Boston, but against the Dodgers and Pittsburgh, is 3-0 with an 0.43 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Joe Kelly (0-1, 4.41 ERA) is the wild card for the Cardinals, just like Lackey is for Boston.
Edge: St. Louis
Boston's bullpen was instrumental in their win over Detroit in the ALCS. Koji Uehara was sensational, saving three games and winning one. He was good all season, going 4-1 with a 1.09 ERA with 21 saves and three blown saves. St. Louis has an excellent closer in Edward Mujica (4-1, 279 ERA, 37 saves) and a bunch of hard throwers in middle relief. Boston also relies on lefty Craig Breslow (5-2, 1.81 ERA) and Junichi Tazawa
(5-4, 3.16 ERA) in middle relief. In the postseason, all three pitchers have allowed a combined two runs in 21 innings.
There's a big difference between playing in Dodgers Stadium and in Fenway Park. Boston will be electric for the first two games but they aren't invincible there. Boston did lose once at home to Detroit to start the ALCS. St. Louis will be allowed to have a DH at Fenway Park and that makes them more dangerous. The Red Sox appear to a be a team on a mission. The Cardinals have been the most consistent team in the National League this season. It always comes down to pitching and the Cardinals have the slight edge there.
Edge: St. Louis