2013 World Series – Red Sox vs. Cardinals

Last time they faced each other, Boston swept St. Louis to win its first title since 1918.

 

With the way Michael Wacha has been pitching, the St. Louis Cardinals may become a regular fixture in the postseason.

The young right-hander has been phenomenal in this year’s playoffs, posting a 3-0 record with a miniscule 0.43 ERA. This comes on the heels of a near no-hitter in his last regular season start. Wacha has been a pleasant surprise for a team that has relied on its pitching in the past.

During the 2011 playoffs St. Louis leaned heavily on ace Chris Carpenter. Carpenter won two of his three World Series starts as the Cardinals edged the Texas Rangers in seven games. In that postseason Carpenter went 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA.

This Cardinals team once again used dominating pitching to make a return trip to the Fall Classic. In addition to Wacha, Adam Wainwright has become the ace of the staff, posting a 1.57 ERA in his three starts. The rotation is set for both pitchers to make two appearances. And history has shown you can win a series with just two pitchers, especially when those two are in the kind of zone Wainwright and Wacha are in. But don’t hand over the World Series trophy just yet.

Boston pitchers might not have the same kind of gaudy numbers, but they are an experienced group familiar with postseason pressure. Jon Lester and John Lackey have been stalwarts in the rotation. Lester sports a 2.33 ERA while Lackey carries a respectable 3.00 ERA into the series. All you need to remember is this group out-pitched the Detroit Tigers duo of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

The Red Sox will count on Jacoby Ellsbury to keep setting the table for the big hitters. Ellsbury is hitting .400 this postseason and leads the team with 10 runs scored. Boston only had two players with home runs going into game six of the ALCS against the Tigers before Shane Victorino smashed a grand slam to win the series.

Boston manager John Farrell has a tough decision to make when the series shifts to St. Louis. What to do with David Ortiz?

Ortiz leads the team with three home runs and can play first base if necessary. But that means taking Mike Napoli’s bat out of the lineup. Napoli is second on the team with two home runs. How Farrell uses Ortiz and Napoli will be an interesting scenario to watch.

Prediction: Runs could be at a premium. Errors and smart base running could be the difference in a series that will feature dominate pitching. I think it will come down to a game 7 matchup that could have Lester facing Wainwright on short rest. I like Boston to win in seven games.

Notes of interest:

  • Cardinal 1B Allen Craig is expected to make his postseason debut. Craig, who led the Cardinals with 97 RBIs in the regular season, has not played since Sept. 4.
  • Carlos Beltran has 12 RBIs in 11 games to lead the Cardinals.
  • Ellsbury has six of the Red Sox’s 11 stolen bases.
  • Since 2004, Boston is 8-0 in the World Series. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals 4-0 in 2004 and the Colorado Rockies 4-0 in 2007.

Don’t miss what should be an exciting series. Whether you’re a die-hard Red Sox fan or loyal Cardinals supporter, TicketCity can help you experience the postseason in person.

The Other Lead – Your Sports Weekend in GIFs, Pics and Video

We’ll start in Dallas where the Cowboys and Broncos combined for the 4th highest point total in NFL history. The Broncos won 51-48 with a field goal as time expired, but the highlight reel for this one might take half an hour to get through. Here’s Tony Romo showing us he can still evade pressure and deliver:

 

Because of the way AT&T Stadium is set up, the shadows and sunlight can give you some unique views of NFL football. Not too many 3:30 kickoffs in Arlington, but when they do happen you get pictures like these:

Denver Broncos v Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos v Dallas Cowboys

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the NFC East the Giants are 0-5 after a beating from the Eagles. It’s getting ugly in NYC:

 

The MLB playoffs are in full swing and while the Dodgers are up 2-1 on the Braves, ex-Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda wonders aloud to Magic Johnson what just happened after pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu couldn’t find first base with his foot to make the out. I’ll leave it up to you to lip read:

 

In the American League, the Red Sox are up 2-0 and will try to sweep the Rays out of the ALDS tonight in Tampa. David Ortiz took Cy Young-winner David Price deep twice in game 2, here’s the first:

By next week we’ll be into the League Championship Series in baseball and have a sole team in 1st place in the NFC East after the Cowboys-Redskins game on Sunday. This could be the best weekend in sports yet.