The 2013 World Series kicks off Wednesday, Oct. 23 at Fenway Park between two of the most prestigious baseball clubs in history, the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. While many analysts around the baseball world have given the Cardinals the slight edge over Boston, the following five reasons clearly explain why St. Louis is no match for the Red Sox in this year's fall classic.
1. The strength of Jon Lester
Boston has elected to start pitcher Jon Lester in Game 1, making it possible for Lester to start in three different games if the series ends up going the distance. This is incredibly important for the Red Sox, because Lester's career ERA of 3.38 in September and October is by far his best average in the regular season and his career 2.49 ERA in postseason makes him a difficult matchup for any team, including the big-hitting Cardinals.
While it's true that St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright is also one of baseball's best pitchers, his 3.41 ERA in September and October is a downgrade from earlier months in the seasons, and his career ERA of 3.59 on the road is a significant drop-off from his career ERA of 2.70 at home, an important statistic given that Wainwright would have to start at least two games in Boston if the series goes seven games.
2. The curse of the "Big Papi"
David Ortiz is undoubtedly one of baseball's greatest postseason threats, putting up a .321 batting average in his career in the World Series along with 1 home run, 8 RBIs, 4 doubles and 9 hits in 8 games. To top it all off, Ortiz has a career batting average of .406 with 7 RBIs in 8 games started against St. Louis.
As the rotation currently stands, Boston Starter John Lackey is expected to pitch in both Game 2 of the series and at least one other time. For St. Louis, beating Lackey, who is clearly the most inferior pitcher out of the top pitchers in the Red Sox' rotation, is a key component to success in October.
Beating Lackey is going to be especially difficult for the Cardinals though unless St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran can perform better against Lackey. In Beltran's career, he has only managed to reach base twice against Lackey, both on walks, in 12 plate appearances.
4. Road woes
Cardinals rookie starter Michael Wacha has undoubtedly captured the imagination of fans across the country, but his struggles on the road this season could make his first trip to Fenway Park an incredibly difficult one. In 5 games pitched away from St. Louis in 2013, Wacha has an ERA of 4.34, giving up 3 home runs in 18.2 innings.
5. Home sweet home
Baseball fans may not like it, but a victory for the American League All-Star team in July means that Boston has home field advantage in the World Series, a huge factor for the Red Sox given that the team went a very strong 53-28 at home in 2013. Add in the fact that the Red Sox were 14-6 in interleague play and all signs point to another championship for the Boston Red Sox.
Don't agree with me? Tell me why I am wrong on Twitter @THATCelticsGuy.
Justin Haskins is a New England native and a freelance journalist. He has been obsessively following Boston professional sports for 10 years and has been published in numerous online publications and websites.
- Sports & Recreation
- Boston Red Sox
- John Lackey
- Jon Lester