World Series Preview – St. Louis Cardinals vs. Boston Red Sox
Everything else goes away starting today for the Cardinals and the Red Sox. Everything up to this point doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters now is getting that 4th win. Although it’s not what I predicted, it’s not a huge surprise that these 2 teams are meeting in the World Series. The Cardinals and the Red Sox had identical regular season records (97-65), both leading their league. There’s no question that these teams are evenly matched.
Pitching staff experience
Apart from Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals pitching staff is thin on experience. With Wainwright, only John Axford and Randy Choate are over 30 years old (Axford is 30). In contrast, 5 of the Red Sox pitchers are over 30 years old. Thirty eight year old Koji Uehara, Ryan Dempster (36), John Lackey (34), Craig Breslow (33) and Jake Peavy (32) round out the over 30 set. Michael Wacha has had a special post season, logging 21 innings in 3 starts with a 0.43 ERA, 0.571 WHIP and 29.7% strikeout rate, so I don’t think playoff experience means everything.
As I mentioned, the Cardinals pitching staff is young. Looking into the other dugout, we find some youth on the Red Sox roster as well. Depending on how John Farrell sets his lineup throughout the series, the Red Sox could have 2 starters 24 or younger. Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts will all likely get a lot of playing time as this series wears on. For the Cardinals, it’s not just the pitching staff that’s young, Matt Adams, who has been playing first base since Allen Craig went down with an injury, is 24 years old as well. Twenty two year old Kolten Wong us also on the roster and will likely be used in pinch hitting situations.
On the pitching side, the Cardinals will continue to turn to 23 year old Trevor Rosenthal to close out games in the World Series. Rosenthal has made 13 post season appearances (6 this post season) and has not allowed an earned run. He has struck out 44.4% of opposing batters. He has staked his claim to the closers role and will be a solid piece of St. Louis’ bullpen in this series and for years to come.
When we look at each teams record in inter-league play, the Red Sox have the edge there. Boston won 70% of their inter-league games. They outscored their National League rivals by 64 runs. On the other hand, St. Louis had a .500 record, while outscoring their opponents by 25 runs. The Red Sox were the slightly better team in the better league.
Even though I didn’t do so well in my previous predictions, I’ll forge on and make another prediction for the World Series. I’ve underestimated the Red Sox all year. I’ll keep that up. Enough with the beards already.
I think the Cardinals are going to win it in 6 games.
I really like their mix of young guys and veterans. Starting pitching isn’t everything (as we’ve seen), but there are few pitchers I would want to make 2 starts in a series other than Adam Wainwright. He’s a boss. As for the Series MVP, I’ll go with Matt Carpenter. He started heating up as the NLCS wore on. He’s been an important part of the Cardinals offense all year.