2013 World Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals vs Boston Red Sox

Who's got the edge in the World Series?

10/23/13 in MLB   |   jakeryanbrown   |   28 respect

 2013 World Series Preview
St. Louis Cardinals vs Boston Red Sox

Whose got the edge? 

Oct 22, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Members of the Boston Red Sox gather on the field during practice the day before game one of the 2013 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports              
 
CATCHER:

Yadier Molina vs Jarrod Saltalamacchia
 
Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a very solid backstop and came up with the clutch walkoff single in Game 2 of the ALCS.  He hit .273 with 40 doubles and 14 homers in the regular season.  However, Yadier Molina, is the best catcher in baseball.  Not only did he light it up at the plate once again this season, but also nobody runs on him.  He was a legit MVP candidate this season.  The Cardinals have a huge edge at catcher.
 
EDGE:
CARDINALS
 
FIRST BASE:
Matt Adams vs Mike Napoli
 
Matt Adams and Mike Napoli are both pretty good power hitters.  Adams is a strong young hitter, but is still inexperienced in October.  Napoli hit a couple of big home runs in the ALCS and has playoff experience and also gets the edge in the field.  Adams is not the defensive first baseman that Napoli is and come World Series time, you have to take the veteran.  Keep in mind though that games three, four, and five, we should see David Ortiz play first base when there is no DH in St. Louis.  The combination of Napoli and Ortiz give the Red Sox the edge at first base.
 
EDGE:
RED SOX

Oct 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (bottom) looks up after turning a double play over Detroit Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson in game six of the American League Championship Series playoff baseball game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports               Oct 18, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter (13) reacts after scoring a run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third inning in game six of the National League Championship Series baseball game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
 
SECOND BASE:

Matt Carpenter vs Dustin Pedroia
 
Second base is nearly a toss up.  Matt Carptenter was terrific in his All Star season, driving in 78 runs and scoring 126 to go along with a .318 average and an astounding 55 doubles.  Dustin Pedroia’s numbers weren’t as good as Carpenter, but his defense and veteran leadership give him the slight edge.  You can call this almost even, but due to his reputation and his glove, the edge goes to the Red Sox.
 
EDGE:
RED SOX
 
THIRD BASE:
David Freese vs Will Middlebrooks/Xander Bogaerts
 
I hate to call any of these matchups even, so I give the Cardinals the edge at third base because David Freese has been there before.  Will Middlebrooks has struggled so far in the postseason and Xander Bogaerts is expected to take over for a majority of the series.  Freese didn’t do much this season and has not done much so far in this postseason, but you can’t forget his 2011 heroic World Series performance.  For that reason, I give the Cardinals the edge at third base.
 
EDGE:
CARDINALS
 
SHORTSTOP:
Pete Kozma vs Stephen Drew
 
Shortstop is probably the weakest position for both teams.  Pete Kozma is a terrible hitter, but a good fielder.  Stephen Drew is a solid fielder and has some pop for a shortstop.  Kozma is definitely the weak spot in the Cardinals lineup so the Red Sox get a big edge at shortstop. 
 
EDGE:
RED SOX

October 15, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (7) rounds the bases after he hits a two run home run during the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game four of the National League Championship Series baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports                           Oct 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes (5) gets ready for an interview after defeating the Detroit Tigers in game six of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
 
LEFT FIELD:

Matt Holliday vs Daniel Nava/Jonny Gomes
 
Matt Holliday is a very good hitter and gets the huge edge on Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes.  Gomes has been getting the starts most of the time lately and Holliday is a much better hitter.  Both Gomes and Holliday are sub-par in left field.  Off the field, the Red Sox would get the edge, but on the field the Cardinals get the edge in left field.
 
EDGE:
CARDINALS
 
CENTER FIELD:
Jon Jay vs Jacoby Ellsbury
 
Center field is not even close.  Jon Jay has been awful at the plate and in the field and has had Shane Robinson play for him at times.  Jacoby Ellsbury has been hot at the plate and had a terrific 2013 season as he enters free agency in the offseason.  Ellsbury is a huge threat on the base paths as well as he swiped 52 bags this season.  The Red Sox get a significant edge in center field.
 
 
EDGE:
RED SOX

Oct 18, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran hits a double against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in game six of the National League Championship Series baseball game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports             Oct 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino (left) reacts after hitting a grand slam off of Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Veras (31) during the seventh inning in game six of the American League Championship Series playoff baseball game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
 
RIGHT FIELD:
Carlos Beltran vs Shane Victorino
 
This matchup is closer than many would think, but Carlos Beltran has turned into one of the greatest postseason hitters of all time and arguably the greatest.  Now, he finally gets his chance at his first World Series title.  Of course, Shane Victorino came up with the grand slam that sent the Sox to the Fall Classic.  Victorino gets the edge on the bases and in the field.  The edge goes to the Cardinals because of Beltran’s ability to get the clutch hit. 
 
EDGE:
CARDINALS
 
DESIGNATED HITTER:
Allen Craig vs David Ortiz
 
Allen Craig will likely be making his return to the lineup for the Cardinals and it comes as a perfect time.  He probably won’t be at 100 percent, but he’s going to give it a go and give the Cardinals a much-needed bat.  Craig had terrific numbers this season as he hit .315, but his power numbers were nowhere near David Ortiz.  Big Papi has done it time and time again in October and now he goes after his third World Series title with the Red Sox.  Ortiz and the Red Sox get the edge if Craig plays and they get a significant edge if he doesn’t and the likes of Shane Robinson and Daniel Descalso play. 
 
EDGE:
RED SOX
 
BENCH:
 
Both teams don’t have too much depth on the bench, but they may need it late in games in St. Louis.  The Red Sox have a huge edge off the bench with Mike Carp or whoever doesn’t get the start between Gomes and Nava and the same for Middlebrooks and Bogaerts.  Napoli would likely come off the bench as well if John Farrell starts Ortiz at first base in games three through five.  The Cardinals bench of Robinson, Descalso, and Adron Chambers is nothing to write home about. 
 
EDGE:
RED SOX

October 14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) pitches the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game three of the National League Championship Series baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports          Oct 17, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) throws against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning in game five of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
 
STARTING PITCHING:
Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn vs Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy
 
This was one of the toughest picks for me.  The Red Sox have the veterans who have been there before, but Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz have each had a rough start so far in the playoffs.  The Cardinals had the second-best rotation ERA in MLB during the regular season and that was without Michael Wacha.  Wacha has proven to be an absolute stud, absolutely dominating so far in October.  Having Wacha and Adam Wainwright at the top of the rotation makes the Cardinals tough to beat.  John Lackey gets the slight edge over Joe Kelly and Jake Peavy and Lance Lynn are almost equal.  The Cardinals get the edge in the starting rotation.
 
 
EDGE:
CARDINALS
 
BULLPEN:
Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness, Carlos Martinez, Kevin Siegrist vs Koji Uehera, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, Ryan Dempster
 
This entire series will likely come down to the battle of the bullpens.  The Cardinals young fireballers have definitely impressed and have become very effective led by closer Trevor Rosenthal.  There’s one name that gives the major edge to the Red Sox.  Koji Uehera.  The Red Sox closer has been a revelation this season and has been unhittable all year long since taking over as closer in June.  The trio of Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, and Uehera have become nearly automatic to end games.  The Red Sox get the bullpen, which could turn into the most important category. 
 
EDGE:
RED SOX

                                          Oct 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Members of the Boston Red Sox celebrate on the field after defeating the Detroit Tigers in game six of the American League Championship Series playoff baseball game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
 
PREDICTION:
 
Destiny is on the Red Sox side right now.  The ways they won in the ALCS were reminiscent of the ways they have been winning all year long.  This team never gives up and plays all 27 outs.  When you get to the late innings with a lead, the game is over.  Uehera has been unhittable and has not let October faze him.  The Cardinals have a ton of young talent, but on the big stage in front of a rowdy crowd in Boston, it’s hard to see them top the veteran leaders in the Red Sox clubhouse.  This series will be a lot closer than the 2004 matchup when the Red Sox swept the Cardinals.  Expect this series to come down to the final inning of game seven, but in the end, Farrell leads the Red Sox to their third World Series title in the last decade.
 
RED SOX IN 7 
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10/23/13   |   ML31   |   3616 respect

My take...  Cards in 7.

Mainly because until Uehara the Cards pen is just a little better.