3 reasons the Cardinals will win the World Series
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter October 22, 2013 10:32PM
Updated: October 23, 2013 10:20AM
BOSTON — If you cherish baseball history, it’s hard not to treasure this World Series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, franchises with rich histories that met in memorable Fall Classics in 1946, 1967 and 2004.
The previous matchups featured Stan Musial vs. Ted Williams in ’46, Bob Gibson vs. “The Impossible Dream” Red Sox with Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski and Cy Young winner Jim Lonborg in ’67, and most recently, the Red Sox’ triumph over the “The Curse of the Bambino” in ’04.
This World Series has an old-school feel because each team had the best record in its respective league, the way it always used to be before postseasons expanded beyond the Fall Classic in 1969. Both teams have been around forever. Both play in baseball-crazy towns.
Fast forward to 2013. The Red Sox got here, a year after finishing last in the American League East, with power and speed and by grinding out at-bats. The Cardinals have exceptional young pitching, and, despite their youth, they keep mistakes to a minimum. Their scouting and player development departments are the envy of the industry.
“By the time we get them, we’re fortunate we have kids that show up ready to go,’’ manager Mike Matheny said.
The Red Sox, making much with limited offensive production of late, are looking like a team of destiny.
“There’s a relentless approach to playing the game every night,’’ manager John Farrell said. “That attitude has allowed us to come back from so many deficits.’’
Here are three reasons why the Cardinals will upend the Red Sox in what should be a tight, entertaining series:
The Red Sox’ rotation is nothing to sneeze at, and a case can be made that it’s deeper, but the Cardinals have Adam Wainwright, the best starter in the Series, and whiz kid Michael Wacha, lined up to pitch Games 1, 2, 5 and 6. St. Louis will face a lineup that caught lightning in a bottle during the American League Championship Series with grand slams from David Ortiz and Shane Victorino. But playing without a designated hitter will force Ortiz or Mike Napoli to the bench for the middle three games in St. Louis. The Cardinals’ lineup will get more dangerous as Allen Craig, returns after he injured his left foot on Sept. 4.
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara was named the ALCS MVP, and since July 1, he has a 0.36 ERA with 65 strikeouts and only two walks. The Sox’ setup men were stellar in the ALCS, too. But young Cardinals Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez can throw 100-mph fastballs with movement and haven’t blinked under the postseason lights. Veteran Seth Maness and lefties Kevin Siegrist and Randy Choate are solid, too.
The Cardinals’ catcher should neutralize Jacoby Ellsbury (52 stolen bases) and the Red Sox’ running game.
“He’s a shutdown thrower behind the plate,’’ Farrell said.
Molina, who threw out 19 of 45 base stealers this season, gets help from a pitching staff that holds runners close. His handling of the pitching staff is second to none, and his postseason experience is important. Throw in his offense (.319, 44 doubles 80 RBI), and he is the biggest difference maker on the field and Cardinals’ most valuable player.