October Baseball: World Series Breakdown

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This is a longer one…We’re Not Sorry

Finally, the World Series has arrived. I could not ask for a better, more exciting, and more evenly matched World Series. This should be the best series that we have seen in the playoffs thus far and one of the better World Series in recent memory. It is full of great starting pitching, dominant bullpens, and deep, timely offense. Here is my breakdown of the most important factors:

  • Starting PitchingRed Sox

    • The depth of the Red Sox is better than the Cardinals. Wainwright and Wacha as a 1-2 punch may be slightly better than what the Sox have in Lester and Lackey/Buchholz. But, the fact that I have to group Lackey and Buchholz together at 2 and 3 is very telling about the Sox pitching. Very simply, the combination of Wainwright and Wacha is not significantly better than Lester and Lackey. Whereas the difference between Buchholz and Peavy is significantly better than that of Lynn and Kelly. But, that being said, I still do not expect many runs to be allowed by either side except in the Peavy – Kelly matchup (assuming that matchup does happen).

      • Based on better depth – Red Sox

  • Middle Relief/Bridge to the 9th – Cardinals

    • I am not discounting the incredible work and effort that the Sox relievers have put forth thus far, especially against the Tigers in the ALCS. This is another incredibly close category as the Red Sox and Cardinals both have excellent bullpens. But, power bullpen arms win in the playoffs. Very simple, the Cards have the hardest throwing, most power arm bullpen I have seen in the playoffs. This should be a concern for the Sox because the Cards can continue to roll out 98 mph throughout the latter innings of the game. It is tough to hit upper 90s in regular situations, let alone high pressure, late innings of the playoffs. I’m not saying the Sox style with more low to mid 90s arms cannot succeed in the playoffs, power arms simply tend to have more success and can always reach back and find that clutch strikeout to regain or maintain momentum.

      • Based on the incredible power in the 6th, 7th, and 8th – Cardinals

  • Closer – Push

    • Both closers have proved to be downright dominant this season, especially in the playoffs. Koji continues to baffle hitters inning after inning with his strike pounding mentality and unhittable splitter. Rosenthal is the most dominant arm remaining the playoffs. He comes in the game in the 9th, throws nothing but fastballs, and no one touches him. I think if either team gets to their closer with the lead, the game is over.

      • Based on equal dominance – Push

  • Offense – Red Sox

    • This is yet another incredibly close category as the Red Sox led the league in scoring, but the Cardinals finished in 3rd without use of a DH all year. The numbers for these two offenses are very similar, I would give the slight edge to Boston. I like the Sox combination of speed and power against the Cards general ability to get hits. It all starts at the top with an ideal table setter like Jacoby Ellsbury vs. a different kind of leadoff hitter, Matt Carpenter. Carpenter is not at the top for his speed, simply to get hits and get on base. Ellsbury can change the game with his speed on the bases and I think his production vs Carpenter’s will be a huge indication as to who wins this series. Otherwise, I think that the starters for both teams are very evenly matched and will have key, clutch hits with Runners in Scoring Position to win games. Interesting that RISP machine Allen Craig will be back for the Cardinals. Unfortunately for them both he and Matt Adams cannot both be in the lineup in St. Louis. Aside from the equal starting options, the Sox have a better fleet of pinch hitters/runners, which they have proved can win games throughout this year. Look for the top of the lineup and bench production to be major factors.

      • Based on Ellsbury factor and bench – Red Sox

  • Defense – Red Sox

    • This is the only category where one team has a significant advantage over the other. The Red Sox are a very good team defensively and the Cardinals are not. The Cards have more holes across their defense with less range than the Sox, hence the Sox win this one. Defense is one of the tenants this team was built on, it has helped carry them to the World Series and could win them the Title. The Cardinals may not necessarily give the Red Sox runs (they very well could), but they won’t save runs like the Sox defense.

      • Based on range/athletes – Red Sox

  • Manager – Cardinals

    • Many would argue that the Manager of the Year John Farrell should have the upper hand, but very simply Mike Matheny has more experience. Matheny has more time as a manager in high pressure games, has managed in the playoffs both years of his tenure and played in the playoffs consistently under all-time great manager Tony LaRussa. Matheny goes about his business the right way and will have his team prepared for this Series. Not that Farrell will not and that Farrell is not deserving of this title/category. Farrell was the pitching coach of the Red Sox World Series team in 2007. I love Farrell as a manger and think he is much deserving of Manager of the Year. I do not think the managers will have too significant an impact on this series as both teams will continue to play their own style and make their bullpen/pinch hitter moves the way they always do, but I like Matheny as a manager more in this series.

      • Based on time and experience – Cardinals

  • Home Field Advantage – Red Sox

    • These two teams have virtually identical records at their famed home fields, but the Red Sox potentially have an extra game at home in the series.

      • Based on numbers (4 home games vs 3) – Red Sox

So there you have it, broken down by category, the Red Sox win 4 categories and the Cardinals win 2 categories, with one push category. Based on how close the individual categories are, I see this series taking 7 games. These teams are the most evenly matched and most evenly structured that will pit strength against strength, the way the World Series should be. I see plenty of low scoring, high intensity games that will come down to who can execute better in a clutch situation. If you’re looking for a comparison, look to the ALCS with the Red Sox scratching past the Tigers in 6 games. I do think that this series will take an extra game.

Breaking down who will win each game:

  1. Game One – St. Louis @ Boston

    1. Adam Wainwright vs. Jon Lester

      1. Red Sox win 3-2 (BOS 1-0)

  2. Game Two – St. Louis @ Boston

    1. Michael Wacha vs. John Lackey

      1. Cardinals win 5-3 (TIE 1-1)

  3. Game Three – Boston @ St. Louis

    1. Projected Starters: Clay Buchholz vs. Lance Lynn

      1. Red Sox win 4-1 (BOS 2-1)

  4. Game Four – Boston @ St. Louis

    1. Projected Starters: Jake Peavy vs. Joe Kelly

      1. Cardinals win 8-6 (TIE 2-2)

  5. Game Five – Boston @ St. Louis

    1. Projected Starters: Jon Lester vs. Adam Wainwright

      1. Red Sox win 2-0 (BOS 3-2)

  6. Game Six – St. Louis @ Boston

    1. Projected Starters: Michael Wacha vs. John Lackey

      1. Cardinals win 6-2 (TIE 3-3)

  7. Game Seven – St. Louis @ Boston

    1. Projected Starters: Joe Kelly vs. Clay Buchholz

      1. Red Sox win 1-0 (BOS 4-3)

Keep in Mind: The rotation for both teams is wrong in my predictions, but it seems that that pitching match ups are correct, so base my predictions off the match ups, not the game number.

World Series MVP – Jon Lester

World Series “Goat” – Carlos Beltran

-Will

@willalden18

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