Big League Stew

Cardinals vs. Red Sox position by position — Who has the World Series edge?

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(Graphic by Yahoo Sports Photo Editor Amber Matsumoto)

A few of us from Yahoo Sports — David Brown, Kevin Kaduk, Mike Oz, Jeff Passan and Mark Townsend — got together to break down which team has the position-by-position edge between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals for the upcoming World Series. We also took a look at the respective managers, ballparks, fan bases and cuisine of each city to give fans a better idea of whom to favor in the 109th Fall Classic.

Catcher


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Molina hit .319/.359/.477 with 12 homers, 44 doubles and 80 RBIs. On defense, he caught 20 of 26 stolen base attempts.

“The Cardinals formed like Voltron and Yadier Molina happened to be the head” — Mike Oz

“With Yadier Molina's neck tattoo and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's hair and beard, this is the position I'd like to most see an ‘If They Mated’ photo mashup. Yadier Saltalamacchia!” — Kevin Kaduk

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First Base

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Napoli batted .259/.360/.482 with 23 home runs, 38 doubles and 92 RBIs. Adams stepped in for Allen Craig and did well, but he just doesn't match what the Red Sox offer here.

“With Mike Napoli at home and David Ortiz likely on the road, the bats are simply better than Matt Adams” — Jeff Passan

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Second Base

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Pedroia bated .301/.372/.415 with 9 homers, 42 doubles, 91 runs scored and 17 stolen bases. Carpenter led the league in hits and doubles with 55, and would win most other positional match-ups throughout the league.

“Matt Carpenter may be just as important to the Cardinals lineup, but Dustin Pedroia’s experience and track record win out” — Mark Townsend

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Shortstop

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Drew batted .253/.333/.443 with 13 homers and 50 extra-base hits. On defense, he rated a 6.7 UZR/150, slightly below Kozma.

“Two mediocre shortstops. One is just less bad” — Jeff Passan

Pete Kozma is going to do something to win a game for the Cardinals at some point. Because they're the St. Louis Cardinals and players like Pete Kozma occasionally do such things” — Kevin Kaduk

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Third Base

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The postseason MVP when the Cards won the World Series in 2011, Freese batted .262/.340/.381 with nine homers during the most recent regular season. In 11 postseason plate appearances, Bogaerts has batted .500/.727/.1000.

“Freese: Hometown hero hits two home runs a year, always at the biggest moment possible” — Kevin Kaduk

“Bogaerts might be a rookie but he’s destined for great things, starting now” — David Brown

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Left Field

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Holliday batted .300/.389/.490 with 22 homers, 31 doubles and 94 RBIs.

“Enormous pressure on Matt Holliday, especially figuring out the Green Monster” — Jeff Passan

“Holliday’s Power >>> facial hair of Jonny Gomes” — Mike Oz

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Center Field

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Ellsbury batted .298/.355/.426 with 48 extra-base hits and a league-leading 52 stolen bases. Robinson was a key bench player for St. Louis until Jon Jay faltered in the playoffs.

Jacoby Ellsbury is playing for a nine-figure deal, and another great playoff series can't hurt that pursuit” — Jeff Passan

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Right Field

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In his postseason career, Beltran has batted .337/.449/.724 with 16 homers in 198 plate appearances. Only Babe Ruth has been as good.

“No slight on Shane Victorino, but Carlos Beltran has a bit of a reputation” — Mark Townsend

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Designated Hitter (not at Busch Stadium in Games 3, 4 and 5 — if necessary)

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Ortiz batted .309/.395/.564 with 30 homers, 38 doubles and 103 RBIs. He also hit a key grand slam in the ALCS against the Tigers. Craig was freakishly good with runners in scoring position before his foot injury.

“David Ortiz is the greatest DH in history, even if he has struggled post-Game 2 granny. Allen Craig hasn't faced live pitching in seven weeks” — Jeff Passan

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Starting Pitching

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Wainwright made 34 starts (in which the Cardinals had a 23-11 record), posting a 2.94 ERA, 219 strikeouts and 35 walks. Rookie Michael Wacha has an 0.43 ERA in in three postseason starts, allowing eight hits and four walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. The Red Sox don't have bad starting pitching by any means, but with the mediocre postseason of Clay Buchholz, they don't enjoy a clear advantage here until Game 4.

“I had a dream about Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha throwing shutouts in Games 1 and 2” — Mike Oz

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Relief Pitching

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Uehara sported a 1.09 ERA, 101 strikeouts, 7 unintentional walks and 33 hits allowed in 74 1/3 innings. It's about as well as anyone has pitched in relief — ever.

“Trevor Rosenthal can't throw hard enough. Koji Uehara can't throw soft enough. That both of them can succeed like they do shows how varied the path to baseball success can be” — Jeff Passan

“Koji Uehara for Mayor of Boston. Craig Breslow for City Manager” — Mike Oz

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Bench

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Boston’s Daniel Nava batted .303/.385/.445 with 41 extra-base hits, but has been relegated to a reserve role with the emergence of Jonny Gomes as a starter. There's a good chance Descalso will see significant playing time at some point — for Kozma or Freese or both.

“Depth clearly favors Boston, though return of Allen Craig helps the Cardinals a lot” — Mark Townsend

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Manager

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“They both have the chance to be really, really good ones. The next Terry Francona” — Jeff Passan

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Ballpark

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Boston’s Fenway Park, built in 1912 and the oldest major league park still standing, features the iconic Green Monster — a 37-foot fence in left field.

“It never gets old watching important games from the classic venue in the American League” — Mark Townsend

“Despite the pink hats and crowded concourses, Fenway Park is one of the great monuments in all of sports, an easy winner over the faux-brick, middle-of-the-pack ballpark that is Busch Stadium” — Jeff Passan

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Fans

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“There’s a certain harmony about Red Sox Nation and 'Baseball's Best Fans' of St. Louis converging to knock each other out, doing the work of Yankees fans and Cubs fans” — David Brown

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City Cuisine

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“Boston has old seafood traditions — most notably clam CHOWDAH! And St. Louis, despite its unconscionable dalliance with something called “provel” cheese, offers great Italian food in a neighborhood called The Hill, along with up-and-coming barbecue joints that rank with anything Kansas City, Texas, Memphis or North Carolina have to offer” — David Brown

“Any city that considers deep-fried ravioli a delicacy and provel a cheese cannot win any food contest” — Jeff Passan

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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