warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

2013 World Series Preview: Cardinals' Pitching Will Silence Lucky Red Sox

Saagar Sarin |
October 21, 2013 | 2:11 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Adam Wainwright heads a lights-out St. Louis staff. (Herkie/Creative Commons)
Adam Wainwright heads a lights-out St. Louis staff. (Herkie/Creative Commons)
In a season headlined by the rise of hard-on-their-luck, small market teams (Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays), the 2013 Fall Classic features two of the most dominant, prolific teams in baseball as the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Boston Red Sox. 

While there were certainly much sexier storylines all season long, at the end of the day the two best teams will be facing in hopes of adding another World Series trophy to their impressive mantles. The two teams finished with identical 97-65 records, good for best in the Majors, but that’s where the similarities seem to end.

The Red Sox have made a remarkable turnaround this season, reaching the World Series just one year after finishing in last place and firing their manager. That magic has continued in the playoffs, as Boston utilized a series of timely hits (including two grand slams) and just enough pitching to beat the powerful Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. 

St. Louis, on the other hand, trotted out virtually the same roster as last year, when they were within a single game of beating the eventual champs, the San Francisco Giants, and making the World Series. Pitching was the name of the game for the Cards in their six-game NLCS victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, as manager Mike Matheny relied heavily on aces Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha to make up for a truly horrendous offensive output. 

SEE MORE: Red Sox-Cardinals World Series Is 'All White'

In a clash of baseball titans, it will be the long ball matched up against pitching. Baseball traditionalists claim that good pitching always beats good hitting, and that should be the case again this year, as the Cardinals' pitching staff and bullpen should be too much for the Red Sox to handle. 

Matheny has Wainwright and Wacha scheduled to start Games 1, 2, 5, and 6. Now the Red Sox certainly have some pretty good pitching themselves, most notably John Lackey, so those are not four guaranteed wins for the Cardinals. Still, they’ll certainly be in prime position to win every one of those games. 

Mike Napoli may not be in the lineup at Busch Stadium where there is no DH. (Trader X/Creative Commons)
Mike Napoli may not be in the lineup at Busch Stadium where there is no DH. (Trader X/Creative Commons)
The Red Sox were able to capitalize on Detroit’s lack of anything resembling a legitimate major-league bullpen in the ALCS. Deficits of two or more runs were not even close to insurmountable against the likes of Al Albuquerque and Phil Coke, and Boston utilized a series of big, timely hits in the late innings, most notably a game-tying grand slam by New England sports hero David Ortiz in the 8th inning of Game 2. 

In this series, Boston will not be able to replicate that formula at all. The Cardinals boast a top-notch bullpen full of young, lively arms not afraid of toeing the rubber in the big moments of a playoff game. The Red Sox will not be able to sleep-walk through innings 1-7 against powerhouse pitching with the hopes of beating up on minor-league level relief pitching. St. Louis will have a number of complete group pitching performances in this series, and Boston has showed that it struggles against legitimate arms in the postseason. 

SEE MORE: Big Papi's 6 Greatest Red Sox Moments

Aiding in that effort will be the fact that Boston will be forced to take out one of their big bats when they travel to the Midwest, most likely Mike Napoli, who plays first base under AL rules while Ortiz DH’s. Napoli is coming off an extremely impressive ALCS, in which he had quite a hot bat. However new manager John Farrell might not have much of a choice but to take him out when the Sox are forced to play in an National League ballpark. 

If Boston wants to have a chance in this series, they’ll need some more of their Beantown magic from their future Hall of Famer in Ortiz. Moreover, the backend of St Louis’s rotation could struggle against a powerful Red Sox offense, which would then put the pressure on the NLCS MVP Wacha. As dominant as he has been, he is still a rookie and could be prone to rookie-like mistakes against a lineup that sits and waits for a pitch gone awry. 

Adding hope for the Red Sox are the bats of the Cardinals. Outfielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Yadier Molina have played like the stars that they are, but, after that, there hasn’t been much for St. Louis during these playoffs. Third baseman David Freese is known as the October hero from 2011 (the Cardinals last World Series victory), but he has had a miserable season, and it’s continued during the postseason. 

However, that pitching stuff has been too dominant, and the Red Sox are lucky to have gotten this far. The better team will win this series, and St. Louis will be getting themselves fitted for rings again soon enough. 


Reach Staff Writer Saagar Sarin here



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.