Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Red Sox Regain Control Of The World Series, Head Home to Fenway With 2 Chances At Baseball Immortality


      ??   OR   ??

  After another gem from Jon Lester and another postseason hitting clinic from Big Papi, the Boston Red Sox head back to Fenway Park with a 3-2 series lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. This series has been about as close as it can get, with the Red Sox having outscored the Cardinals 13-12 in the four games (Sox won 8-1 in Game 1). So far this series has been about great pitching and timely hitting, with the Red Sox having a little bit better of both in recent nights. Jon Lester has found his cutter at a great time and dominated the Cardinals in his two starts. David Ortiz is more likely to get a hit than not reach base, which simply isn’t how the game of baseball is supposed to work. Both bullpens have been spectacular for the most part, and both teams have looked sloppy in the field and on the bases. So, heading in to Game 6, and possibly 7, what is going to be the key to victory, and who has the horses to get it done? Well, I’ll tell you.

Allen Craig tripping over 3B Will Middlebrooks, he
was called out at home but safe on the obstruction
call, giving the Cardinals the win.
            As I have said from the beginning, playoff baseball is all about pitching and hitting with runners in scoring position. Now, one might think that the Boston Red Sox are looking like a lock to hoist the World Series trophy in front of their home town fans, 41 of 66 teams with a 3-2 lead have won the series, however, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Starting pitching is going to be critical for both sides, and I simply do not see the Red Sox having an edge in either game. Game six starters Michael Wacha and John Lackey have been great this postseason, but I would put my faith in Wacha’s stuff over Lackey’s any day of the week. If Wacha can quiet the Red Sox bats, then game seven would be Joe Kelly versus Jake Peavy; yet another mismatch for Boston. Kelly isn’t a frontline starter by any means, but he has the ability to give the Cardinals six quality innings. The more important thing is Jake Peavy, who has struggled mightily for the Red Sox as of late, and appears to struggle controlling his tempo and emotions in big situations, which I think it’s safe to say game seven of the World Series is as big as it gets. Lester did well to give his bullpen some rest in game five, but the off day should give Mike Matheny’s bullpen all the time it needs to prepare for two sudden death games in Boston.

David Ortiz & Carlos Beltran, two of the best postseason
hitters of all time. Who will guide their team to the title?

            In my World Series Preview article I predicted the Cardinals would win in seven, that Allen Craig would be the x-factor, and that starting pitching would be critical. Say what you will, but I’m sticking to my guns and my prediction. Heres a simple math equation to explain my thoughts:

 Wacha > Lackey + Kelly > Peavy = 
              Cardinals > Red Sox. 

       One thing is for sure, with baseball TV ratings having struggled in recent years, this World Series was exactly what commissioner Bud Selig and his league needed to get back into more homes around the world. Enjoy the final games everybody! Follow me on Twitter @SportsGeek02 or @TruSchoolSports and live-chat with me during the games. Stick around this off-season as well as I will be writing baseball business articles highlighting various front office moves, decisions, acquisitions, trades, etc.  

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