This is going to be a fantastic series between two very well matched-up baseball teams.
But who has the edge, the Red Sox or the Cardinals?
Of course, as a New York Yankees fan, I want scream “the Cardinals in four” from the rafters.
But wait…. this is not about me, or the Yankees (darn it!) so let’s breakdown the line-ups, starting rotations, bullpens and bench players to see which team has the advantage in each.
Both teams have struggled at the plate this postseason. The Cardinals are hovering at the Mendoza Line with a batting average of .210, but the Red Sox are not far behind posting a .236 BA so far in October.
Looking at the postseason stats is actually quite frightening:
(All stats courtesy of MLB.com)
2013 Postseason Batting Stats: Red Sox vs. Cardinals
Boston Red Sox AL 10 326 45 77 20 2 6 40 38 106 11 2 0.236 0.325 0.365 0.690
St. Louis Cardinals NL 11 357 42 75 13 2 8 38 35 81 3 0 0.210 0.285 0.325 0.610
Shockingly, these were two of the best hitting teams in baseball during the regular season. The Red Sox topped the league in slugging with .446, but the Cardinals had the best RISP (batting average with runners in scoring position) at .330.
2013 Regular Season Batting Stats: Red Sox vs. Cardinals
Boston Red Sox AL 162 5651 853 1566 363 29 178 819 581 1308 123 19 0.277 0.349 0.446 0.795 0.278
St. Louis Cardinals NL 162 5557 783 1494 322 20 125 745 481 1110 45 22 0.269 0.332 0.401 0.733 0.330
Overall, the regular season gives the Red Sox the edge and that is who I am thinking has the better bats heading into the World Series.
The fact that the Cardinals only hit one homer during the entire NLCS did factor in for me. The old theory that the AL tends to be have more dominant bats still stands, but no doubt the margin is now paper-thin.
ADVANTAGE: Red Sox
In 11 postseason starts, the Cardinals rotation is posting a 2.34 ERA, and opponents are averaging .207 against them.
Wacha has gone 3-0 in his three postseason starts. The 22-year old righty has allowed eight hits, one earned run, one homer, and four walks. In 21 innings pitched, Wacha has fanned 22 hitters and he is the Cardinals number two starter.
As for Wainwright, he has been a household name in baseball for a few years now as one of the best pitchers in the game today. Wainwright has an array of pitches in his arsenal, but is best known for his nasty curveball.
If Wainwright and Wacha continue dealing like they have this far, the Red Sox won’t be hitting much that is for sure.
The Red Sox are going to need their big two, Jon Lester and Clay Buccholtz to pitch lights out in Games one and two to keep pace with St. Louis.
Resting any World Series hopes on the arms of Jon Lackey and Jake Peavy is a risk that Boston doesn’t want to be forced to take.
The bottom line is the Cardinals arms of Wainwright and Wacha are the ones to watch in this series, as these two are game changers.
Next up….comparing the bullpens and benches.