2013 World Series Prediction: BOS vs. STL
With the exception of the New York Yankees, no 2 teams have won more consistently since 2000 than the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox (13 winning seasons apiece). Since 2000, the two teams have combined to make 13 ALCS and NLCS appearances, 7 World Series appearances, and win 4 world championships. It makes sense, then, that the Red Sox and Cardinals meet in the 2013 World Series.
All the pieces are there for a classic series. Two proud franchises. Two historically ardent fan bases. And, fittingly, the two winningest teams during the 2013 MLB season. Each team took a similar route in reaching this stage: both took out a division rival in the Division Series (Boston over Tampa Bay; St. Louis over Pittsburgh) before taming the powerful bats of a team in blue (Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers).
So which team has the edge at each position heading into this World Series? Who will be the difference makers? Will home field advantage matter for Boston, or will the rigors of the NL Central serve to forge an indomitable Cardinals assault?
Let’s take a look at SidelineMOB’s staff breakdown of the 2013 World Series, position-by-position, game-by-game, as we pick the 2013 World Series winner and MVP. Will it be Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and the Red Sox, or Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and the Cardinals?
2013 World Series: Red Sox vs. Cardinals breakdown
Catcher: Is there a catcher you’d rather have calling games in the MLB postseason than Yadier Molina at present? With all due deference to the solid Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Molina is the best game-caller of the last decade and will help guide young pitchers like Michael Wacha through this series. Edge: STL.
1st Base: In one corner, you’ve got the power bat of Mike Napoli, who is now making his 2nd World Series appearance in 3 seasons. In the other, you have Allen Craig, who hit a ridiculous .454 this season with runners in scoring position (83 RBIs). By a nose… Edge: STL.
2nd Base: Matt Carpenter had a remarkable season for the Cardinals in 2013, working his way from fighting for an everyday spot to NL MVP contender. But it’s possible that no one player in MLB personifies his team more than Dustin Pedroia, a former AL MVP and the soul of the Red Sox. Pedroia’s defense has been remarkable during these playoffs. Edge: BOS.
Shortstop: Both the Red Sox and Cardinals have enjoyed stronger-than-expected performances from their shortstops this postseason, with Pete Kozma and Stephen Drew delivering stout defense. The platoon of Kozma and Daniel Descalso has done virtually nothing at the plate, which is actually more than Drew has delivered. This is a defense-only pick… Edge: BOS.
3rd Base: This would, based on name recognition, seem like a no-brainer in favor of St. Louis and David Freese. But Freese has been on the decline as of late, while Boston seems to have found a young sparkplug in Xander Bogaerts. But on a grand stage like the World Series, we’ll take a proven player who’s been there before over a potentially wide-eyed newcomer. Edge: STL.
Left Field: Matt Holliday quietly puts up 25 home runs and nearly 100 RBIs every season for the Cardinals. Red Sox manager John Farrell will have some decisions to make regarding whether to start Jonny Gomes or Daniel Nava in each game of the World Series. Either way… Edge: STL.
Center Field: Jon Jay provides a solid lefty bat but may cede playing time in late-game situations to the more reliable defense of Shane Robinson. In either event, that platoon is at a significant positional disadvantage – at the plate, in the field and especially on the base paths – to the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox. Edge: BOS.
Right Field: Shane Victorino would win this argument – especially in the postseason – against most right fielders. His grand slam propelled the Sox to the World Series, and his postseason experience with the Phillies is invaluable. But sharing his position is Carlos Beltran, perhaps the greatest postseason hitter of the last 20 years (and that’s saying something). Edge: STL.
Bench: The Cardinals appear to have a few more movable parts than Boston, which is no surprise given they play in the National League. Matt Adams may start for Allen Craig in Boston, moving Craig to the DH. But in terms of pinch hitters and the DH position in general, the Red Sox have far more options, starting of course with David Ortiz. David Ross’ defense at catcher may be a quiet factor. Edge: BOS.
Starters: This may be the toughest conclusion to draw. The Cardinals rotation is so strong right now that dynamo rookie Shelby Miller has yet to see a postseason start (and likely won’t). Adam Wainwright is the best starting pitcher in this series, and Michael Wacha has exploded onto the scene for the Cardinals. But the 1-3 starters for Boston (Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz) can hold their own against the 1-3 starters of St. Louis. The series may turn on the Game 4 starters; Lance Lynn of St. Louis has looked far steadier than his Boston counterpart, Jake Peavy. Edge: STL.
Bullpen: This matchup has seemingly gone the way of the Cardinals in the opinion of most analysts; however, bullpens are often a streaky animal, and we were impressed by the 7-8-9 pitchers for Boston this postseason, especially in the ALCS vs. Detroit. Trevor Rosenthal is a flamethrowing closer for St. Louis, but we like the combination of Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara just a tad more. Edge: BOS.
2013 World Series: series overview
Game 1 in Boston should be electric, with Adam Wainwright and Jon Lester squaring off in a battle of aces. We expect Boston to find a way to win Game 1 by scraping out a run off the Cardinals middle relief, with the score around 4-3. Game 2 should lead to a Cardinals split with Michael Wacha outdueling John Lackey.
The middle 3 games in St. Louis should go 2-1 in the Cardinals’ favor, with the most likely win being Game 4 over a struggling Jake Peavy. We don’t see either team going up 2 games at any point in this World Series, so we’re taking Clay Buchholz and the Boston bullpen in Game 3, meaning the series will be tied 2-2 after 4 games.
In a pivotal Game 5, Adam Wainwright and Jon Lester should take the hill again for their respective clubs. In a masterful home performance called by Yadier Molina, Wainwright will avenge his Game 1 no decision and pick up a 3-2 victory of his own after 7 strong innings of work.
A must-win Game 6 at home for Boston will pit John Lackey against Michael Wacha once again. Wacha has been brilliant more often than not lately, but asking the young gun to win the World Series on the road is a bit too much to ask. In a relatively high-scoring affair (call it 6-4), Boston will take Game 6 and force a pivotal Game 7.
So it comes down to Game 7 at Boston, with the likely starters being Clay Buchholz for the Red Sox and Joe Kelly for the Cardinals. We project the high drama of the moment will chase both starters by the 6th inning, leaving 4 innings of work for each bullpen to scrape together. We think each team will hit a late-inning home run – we wouldn’t be surprised if each team’s right fielder (Beltran and Victorino) was responsible – and the game will be tied headed into the 8th inning. So who comes up with the game-winning hit? Perhaps it’s not so much about the hit, as the man calling the pitches behind home plate.
2013 World Series, our prediction
St. Louis Cardinals, 4 games to 3
Series MVP: Yadier Molina
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