Wednesday, October 23, 2013
World Series Preview
For all of you Bostonians who are unaware of the Red Sox’s recent success, I’m here to let you know that they are, in fact, in the World Series for the third time since 2004. And for the Sox fans out there who just started watching the Sox (i.e., most of you), stop being fair-weather fans. If you didn’t watch the Red Sox during the regular season, then don’t act like you’ve been a fan forever. Admit it: you just jumped on the bandwagon and started cheering. But anyway, I won’t judge if you want to jump on. I’ll just fill you in.
For the first time since winning the World Series in 2007, the Boston Red Sox are back. This time around they will be taking on the St. Louis Cardinals, who defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The Series starts tonight with the Cardinals travelling to Fenway for Game 1, which will start at 8:05 p.m. For the Sox Jon Lester (15-8 regular season) will take on Adam Wainwright (19-9 regular season). Lester has a 2-1 record in his last three games with an ERA of 2.33 while holding opponents to a .229 batting average. However, Wainwright is also 2-1 in his last three games with an ERA of 1.57 while holding batters to a .231 batting average. When the Sox were facing elimination against the Tigers, Lester was quoted as saying, “We have options, give up or fight.” The Sox later came back and won the series.
Even though everyone in and around Boston seems to think that the Red Sox will take the Series, many forget that the Cardinals have had an amazing season as well. The Cardinals held the Dodgers’ star rookie Yasiel Puig to just 5 hits in 22 at bats on their way to winning the NLCS in six games, shutting out the Dodgers 9-0 in game six. The Cardinals’ pitcher for Game 1, Adam Wainwright, is a star pitcher who was voted to the 2010 All- Star Game, where he pitched one inning and struck out two of the American League’s best hitters. Wainwright is on a roll as of late; during the 2013 postseason alone he has struck out 20 batters while allowing just one walk, one home run and just four earned runs. While the Cardinals’ batters left a little to be desired during the NLCS, the pitchers have picked up the slack, holding opposing batters to a batting average of .211 while allowing four homeruns.
The Red Sox, though, have been on a tear as of late both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Boston's base runners are doing a good job this postseason, stealing eleven bases during the ALDS and ALCS combined. Although the Sox hit a meager .204 during the ALCS, they’ve hit a little better during the postseason as a whole with an average of .234. Even with those numbers, though, the Red Sox players always seem to come up with a big hit and the perfect time. Shane Victorino propelled the Sox to the World Series with a walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning of Game 6. And before that, Jarod Saltalamacchia hit a walk-off single to tie the ALCS at one game to one.
If you’re a bandwagon fan and haven’t seen him pitch before, Koji Uehara is turning into the Red Sox’ star closer. The Red Sox acquired him this past offseason as a free agent. In 2011, he was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Texas Rangers. Uehara won the ALCS MVP award for his masterful pitching performances against the Detroit Tigers, and he will look to keep it rolling in the ALCS against the Cardinals. Uehara’s story is amazing, and to go from being traded from team to team to being able to win the ALCS MVP award is incredible. I have a feeling that he will be a centerpiece for the Red Sox organization for a long time to come.
Whether you’re a long-time Red Sox supporter or just getting into things, most would agree that the Sox will take the World Series. A lot of people keep bringing up the fact that the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series but that is irrelevant. These are two completely different teams with different managers than were in place at the 2004 World Series. Having said that, I believe that no matter how the Cardinals try to compete with the Red Sox, Boston will bring the title back to Boston in five games.