Two years after saying goodbye to their legendary managers, the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are right back in the World Series.
Former Boston skipper is Terry Francona is now managing the Indians, and former Cardinals Tony La Russa is retired, but John Farrell and Mike Matheny have done an admirable job at guiding their respective teams back to the fall Classic.
Both teams won 97 games and had the best records in their respective leagues, so it’s only fitting that they do battle for the big prize.
Carlos Beltran is one key to the World Series. He has racked up 16 postseason home runs in his career, making him a modern-day Mr. October. Yet somehow, this is the first time he has made it all the way to the World Series.
St. Louis is also led by the 1-2 pitching punch of Adam Wainwright and rookie Michael Wacha.
Wainwright, who will start Wednesday night’s opener against Jon Lester, won 19 games in the regular season. Wacha, the MVP of the NL Championship Series, is already 3-0 in the postseason.
The MVP of the ALCS was Red Sox closer Koji Uehara, who has been nearly unhittable for the last three months. Boston’s opponents have only eight innings to do their damage, because the ninth belongs to Uehara.
One key to the series will be the designated hitter rule, which should benefit the Cardinals no matter where the game is played. In Boston, Allen Craig can return from his injury to be the DH.
However, in St. Louis, Boston DH David Ortiz may have to play first base, which would relegate Mike Napoli to the bench.
Despite the fact that Lester, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey have bounced back to give Boston a solid rotation, St. Louis has the stronger starting pitching, which is always the most important factor in postseason baseball.
Prediction: Cardinals in six.
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