Sox and Cards to Wage War
Ladies and Gentlemen: your National League Championship Series winners are the St Louis Cardinals and the American League Championship series winner the Boston Red Sox.
This will be a rematch of the 2004 World Series where the Red Sox won 4-0 and broke the “Curse of the Bambino”. Before we delve into some deeper stuff, here are some fun facts about this upcoming World Series:
- The Cards and Sox have faced each other three times in the World Series in 1946, 1967 and of course 2004
- David Ortiz is one of the last players from that 2004 Red Sox team
- Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny was the starting catcher in the 2004 World Series for the Cardinals
- Yadier Molina was the back up that year
- Both teams have won two World Series in the last decade – The Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, the Cards in 2006 and 2011
It’s history like that, which makes baseball and this championship an exciting one.
Much to the chagrin of the Toronto Blue Jays and their fans, the Red Sox made it to the finals with John Farrell as their manager in their first year. To that end, there are certainly few Jays fans who will be cheering on the Red Sox. However, Pittsburgh Pirates, and LA Dodgers fans might be support the Sox, after they saw their teams fall to the Cards.
This is exactly what Major League Baseball is looking for: two top market historical teams facing each other a rematch from 2004. Baseball could not have scripted it any better. The question is, who will win it between the two clubs?
The Boston Red Sox, who “magically” became a top club after a horrible season last year, make a good case on why they should win. They are tight group with clutch hitting and pitching that has been very solid. Koji Uehara has been very dangerous in the bullpen for the Sox, while players like John Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, Big Papi, Mike Napoli, John Lackey, Shane Victorino and company have done everything right when the game was on the line. The thing is, this is a team with a humongous payroll who are built to win. I’m blown away by the fact that many seem so surprised on how they have come this far. Yes, last year was a horrid season, but that’s because the manager, Bobby Valentine, lost the locker room and the players didn’t give a hoot, but this year is different. Add in some people through free agency and a manager who has righted the ship and you have an even more stacked team.
As for the Cards, although this may sound weird to some, I feel as though the St Louis Cardinals are one of the most underrated teams this season. I mean yes, they took the division away from the Pittsburgh Pirates late in the season and beat the Bucks 3 games to 2 in the NLDS, and they knocked out the LA Dodgers 4 games to 2 in the NLCS. Most people were figuring that it was going to be the Pirates, or the Dodgers who were going to go all the way to the World Series. It was almost like it was destiny, but the St. Louis Cardinals proved this season that you never count out the Cardinals. Ever.
They have been one of the best teams since 2004 when they lost to the Boston Red Sox. They have been so good that even when Albert Pujols left for the LA Angels and Tony La Russa retired the team stayed strong and are looking to win their twelth World Series title. This isn’t a tremendously stacked team by any stretch, but with good pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, they are excellent almost every game. And even though the Cards offensive stats don’t look the same as the Red Sox, they are amongst the highest scoring teams in the National League. The only difference between the two offenses has been the fact the Red Sox get to use a DH nearly every game while the Cardinals didn’t. That advantage goes away in the World Series, and with Alan Craig likely filling the DH role when the games are played at Fenway Park, the Cards will not be at a disadvantage. Let’s also not forget that the Cards have a much more stable bullpen then the Detroit Tigers, which could be an issue for the Red Sox.
Both teams have been good this year and neither are a shock to represent their respective league on baseball’s biggest stage, but of course only one of them will come on top. Unlike 2004 where the Red Sox flattened the Cardinals in four games, I see this series going all the way to six, or even seven games. I think a lot of people will pick the Red Sox over the Cardinals, which had been the case for the Cardinals in every playoff series this year, but because of the way they have played in key situations, I really think they could be the team to take it all.
Game One of the World Series is Wednesday in Boston. This is what the season has been building up to all summer long – the Fall Classic – and it has the potential of being truly a classic. I can’t wait for the first pitch.
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