Red Sox/Cardinals World Series Preview
In the words of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, “we have reached our moment”. The analysts said their peace and made their predictions. The coaches and players have created their game plans and are preparing to execute. The only thing left to do is win four baseball games. Let’s look at the starting pitchers for this series (so far) and some keys to Red Sox victory.
Game 1: Adam Wainwright vs. Jon Lester
Game 2: Michael Wacha vs. John Lackey
St. Louis has the overall advantage in starting pitching, but it’s tough to complain about the efforts of Lester and Lackey this postseason. Add in the fact that the bats of the Sox are finally coming around after 3 horrible games to start the ALCS, and I like our chances to take the first two games at home.
Keys to a Red Sox victory
Timely Hitting: I know this kind of goes without saying, but no team in recent memory has sustained clutch hitting quite like the 2013 Red Sox. They did it all year, and became the first team in major league history to hit two grand slams in the 7th inning or later in a single ALCS. Sabermetrics and number crunching don’t measure it, but this Red Sox team has a flair for the dramatic, and the final act usually ends with them on top.
Xander Boegarts and Jonny Gomes: Nava and Middlebrooks may become great players in a Boston uniform, but there’s no way in hell I’m putting them in ahead of these two. Boegarts is the calmest 21 year old in the world right now, and he’s been right in the middle of every Sox rally since game 4 in Tampa Bay. He’s patient at the plate, solid in the field and he brings a certain swagger to the team that Middlebrooks is lacking. Jonny Gomes is the ring leader of the bearded circus, and with Napoli most likely relegated to the bench in St. Louis, Gomes provides a dependable bat to back up Ortiz.
KOJI: Raise your hand if you thought season ending injuries to the Red Sox three best relievers would lead to one of the greatest seasons a closer has had in the history of baseball? Me either. Uehara has been incredible this season. Since taking over the closers role in late June, Uehara’s stat line is remarkable: 2 walks, 59 strikeouts, 0.41 ERA. Besides a solo home run to backup Rays catcher Jose Lobaton, Uehara hasn’t given up a run all postseason, including earning one win and three saves in the ALCS, retiring 14 of the 16 batters he faced and winning the ALCS MVP. The rest of bullpen (minus Morales) was also great, but it starts and ends with Koji. If he can continue his dominance, the Red Sox seem poised to hoist their third world series trophy in 10 years.
A rainbow arched over Fenway Park early Tuesday evening, and Sox fans hoped that was a sign of good things to come. While St. Louis is no stranger to arches, staring at the picture of the rainbow over Fenway made me realize how truly special this Red Sox season was. A group of bearded misfits, here to help a city that was torn apart in April after the senseless bombing of the Boston Marathon. When faced with tragedy, we try not to obsess over it, but rather attach ourselves to something that gives us hope and joy. More times than not, it’s sports. Much like the Yankee’s improbable world series run after the 9/11 attacks, the 2013 Boston Red Sox have provided a welcome distraction to the occasional horrors of everyday life. Win or lose, it’s been a fun ride, and I’ll never forget this team, or this season. With that said, Sox in 6. Just another day closer to the parade.
P.S. If you weren’t ready for the world series, watch this masterpiece.