Monday, October 21, 2013
Meet Me in St. Louis
The Fall Classic is upon us. Two of the best franchises in all of Major League Baseball are left.
St. Louis Cardinals versus Boston Red Sox
The Cardinals arriving after taking care of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Boston Red Sox's road took them through the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers.
Both teams were the cream of the crop in their respective leagues. They were division champions with quality pitching, timely hitting, and that extra sense of team chemistry that separates winners from losers.
The Cardinals will travel to Fenway Park for the first two games and in the process will face Jon Lester and John Lackey. The Cardinals will counter with Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha. Wainwright, the veteran right hander, has been in this situation before. He has the experience to call back on and use to get him through those rough patches that will most certainly occur in the World Series.
Wacha, the rookie right hander, isn't as seasoned as his teammate. He is a raw talent with electric stuff. He has been as dominate a pitcher in October as I can remember. His numbers in October are as follows: 21 innings, 8 hits, 1 earned run, 4 walks, and 22 strikeouts. The most amazing aspect of this is he hasn't hit his prime yet.
The Cardinals seem to mass produce these corn fed mammoth right handed pitchers in a factory. Maybe the supervisor of that factory is Yadier Molina. The coach on the field calls a masterful game and assists the pitchers with his knowledge and understanding of the game and its situations. They must go on the road to start the series but if they can continue to pitch the way October has gone it will be a very happy Busch Stadium come games 3, 4, and 5.
Beltron has the eye of the tiger when the calendar hits October.
The Cardinals can't be mentioned without stating the obvious. Carlos Beltran is the new Mr. October. He is as scary a clutch a player when the weather goes cold and Halloween is on the horizon. It doesn't matter the amount of hits Carlos gets, it is the time in which he does it. Whe the team needs a hit he gets it. It is a wonder why teams even pitch to the guy. Oh wait, it is because having Matt Holiday backing him up helps him get pitches to see. Beltran still must swing the bat and make contact and in this regard Mr. Beltran is achieving great success.
The Red Sox will need to keep Matt Carpenter off the bases which isn't an easy task. The top of the order is the table setter for those mentioned above. They take pitches to work the count and tire out the opposing pitcher. When you go deep into counts it pays dividends later in the game. The Cardinals are wonderful at this aspect and pounce on bullpen pitchers when the starter is pulled.
The same can be said about this years Red Sox. They aren't a bunch of witness protection looking fugitives, they with their playoff beards, they are talented and together in every aspect.
They have the luck of playing potentially 4 games in their friendly ballpark with the very important designated hitter rule. David Ortiz, or Big Papi, getting to DH and not be forced to play first base will help the Red Sox immensely. Keeping with as much normalcy as possible, even though this group is anything but normal, can keep momentum going in their favor.
The series against the Tigers could have gone much different and horribly wrong if not for two mistakes by Tigers pitchers that resulted in 2 grand slams and ultimately the Red Sox claiming the American League Pennant. They have shown to have some luck on their side but have struggled against high quality pitching. We saw this before in this past series. Their team batting average was unusually low and they were almost victims of being no hit on a couple of occasions. They can be all or nothing at times and this is what I feel separates the Cardinals from the Red Sox.
The Cardinals seem to find hits and put them together to make crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
These two teams squared off in the World Series before with Boston sweeping the Cardinals using momentum and exercising some demons in the process. This is not the case now.
The Cardinals, in a way, exercised some demons on their own by eliminating the Dodgers in 6 games. Last seasons end to the San Fran Giants after having a 3-1 lead was troublesome for St. Louis fans to stomach. They were able to finish the job and reach their ultimate goal. The World Series.
The game is simple. Throw the ball. Hit the ball. Catch the Ball. It is grown men playing a child's game.
That is what makes it so great. As much as it pains me to write this I feel the roll the Cardinals are on right now is not going to be denied.
I like the St. Louis Cardinals to add their twelfth championship banner to Busch Stadium and beat the Boston Red Sox in 5 games.
Please God I hope, at least this time, I am wrong!
Posted by WGCY Newsroom at 8:08 PM