The Tenth Inning – World Series Preview ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
By Mike Ivcic
I should have known better. I started off my LCS preview by talking about how well I did with my LDS picks, and promptly got both LCS picks wrong. Kids, let this be a lesson – when you do something right, just keep your mouth (or in this case, fingers) shut.
So now we’re left with a 2004 rematch – Red Sox vs. Cardinals. Typically I always root for the two series – the World Series and the Stanley Cup Finals – to go seven games just because I want to see as many games as possible before the season ends. In this case, though, I’m hoping in a big way for a repeat of that ‘04 series, because the fewer games the Cardinals win, the happier I am. Will that happen? Probably not – which is why I’m going to write a few hundred more words in this preview to let you know exactly what I see playing out in the 2013 Fall Classic.
Boston Projected Rotation: Lester, Lackey, Buchholz, Peavy
Why Boston Will Win: Clutch Hitting and Bullpen
Oh, and the bullpen – did I mention the bullpen? Koji Uehara was named ALCS MVP for a reason, like maybe his 6 innings in 5 games where he allowed just four hits while striking out nine, walking none, and earning three saves and a win. He wasn’t the only stellar Boston reliever, though – only Junichi Tazawa allowed an earned run after jogging out of that bullpen, giving the Red Sox relief corps a microscopic 0.43 ERA. If the Cardinals don’t get to the Boston starting staff (an entirely different discussion with the way John Lackey pitched against Detroit) they may not have a chance to win games late because of the way the Sox can close out games they’re leading and come from behind to overcome even multiple-run deficits.
Why St. Louis Will Win: Starting Pitching and Experience
That won’t be nearly as important, though, as the starting pitching duo of Wainwright and Michael Wacha, who have been virtually unhittable for the past month. Wainwright has allowed four earned runs in 23 innings (1.57 ERA) with one walk and 20 strikeouts, while Wacha has been even better with just one earned run allowed in 21 innings (0.43 ERA, same as the entire Boston bullpen) with four walks and 22 strikeouts. That should make for some great matchups between two pitchers that walk almost no one and a lineup that saw 1,000 more pitches than any other baseball team this season. The Cardinals top two are currently slated to pitch games 1-2 and 5-6, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all, especially if the Cardinals are trailing in the series, to bump Lance Lynn from game four and move Wainwright up a slot to potentially give him three starts should the series go seven games.
“The Tenth Inning” thanks everyone for reading this season, and we’ll see you for spring training in February – only at the Ultimate Capper!
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