It’s World Series time folks. Every year brings the promise of an epic, seven game series that could result in an era-defining moment. Both teams have had such moments recently. David Freese’s monster World Series that brought the trophy to St. Louis, and the BoSox ending the “Curse of Bambino” will forever be entrenched in the annals of baseball’s greatest moments. However, with such an evenly matched series who will capture the crown of World Series Champs this year?
ESPN’s experts have already made their picks which can be found here. However, these are the same experts that bailed on the Red Sox in March (I did too). Numberfire.com has released World Series projections that see Boston winning the title 57% of the time with the most likely outcome resulting in the title going to Beantown in six (Around 18% of the time). Makes sense as Boston holds home-field advantage which could prove pivotal. I would not be surprised if the home team wins out. However, there is one man in particular who really loves swinging his bat in October.
Of course that man is Carlos Beltran. 337 B.A., 16 Home Runs, 37 R.B.I in 45 games, as the former New York Met has used the greatest post-season batting stat line in history to make the case he is a Hall-of-Famer. However, whether or not the Puerto Rican can capture that ever elusive ring that may determine if he gets a plaque and a speech in Cooperstown. This is Beltran’s first ever World Series appearance.
Game 1 from Fenway presents a mouth-watering pitching match-up (Which game doesn’t?) as perennial Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright squares off against the man that took the win against cancer, Jon Lester. Take a guess which of these postseason career stat lines is whose.
4-1, 2.80 E.R.A, 55.2 Innings, 0.916 WHIP, 8.886 SO/BB
4-4. 2.49 E.R.A, 66.1 Innings, 1.14 WHIP, 2.65 SO/BB
The top-line is the Cardinals’ man as Lester is the bottom. However, Lester has won both of his starts this go-around and Wainwright is 2-1 after taking the loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS.
Between Beltran, Freese, Shane Victorino’s resurgence, Pedroia and a whole other catalog of clutch hitters, both teams’ bullpens are going to have to step their game up. St. Louis have a great bullpen, but the Red Sox bolster a straight up elite one. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com refers to Koji Uehara is the ninja closer and it fits the bill as the Japanese pitcher led major league relievers in every category you can think of. E.R.A., Innings pitched, and opponent’s batting average just to name a few.
If the Red Sox manage to get a beard on a baseball against Michael Wacha (Only 9 of the last 103 hitters can make that claim) don’t expect to be to active on the bases as Yadier Molina has a cannon pirate ships would be proud of. However, with all these “sure things” each team features is there any bigger conundrum than Alan Craig?
A career 300. hitter who only raises that by about 50 points when the lights shine bright around Halloween adds another bat into the already dangerous Cardinals’ line-up. Limited by a foot sprain that has kept former Cal-Berkeley grad on the sidelines for almost 2 months; How much can he offer this Cardinals team?
This a series that I expect to go at least six games with a high possibility of reaching a deciding seventh. Pitching is everything as evident by the ALCS and NLCS: Starting Pitching: Advantage Cardinals, Bullpen: Advantage Red Sox. I like the Cardinals line-up but Mike Matheny is a question mark in the dug-out.
Prediction: Wainwright wins Game 1 and Allen Craig returning tips the scales; Cardinals in 7 as they avenge the sweep they took at the hands of Boston in 2004.
World Series MVP: Carlos Beltran books his ticket into Cooperstown.
Whose your winner? Comment or get at me on Twitter: @jakebham
Statistics were provided by http://www.baseball-reference.com/