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World Series preview: IT’S HAPPENING

AAAAAAAAAAA

Okay. Deep breath.

Suffice it to say that I did not predict this coming into the season. I thought that the Red Sox were better than last year, certainly, but that they had gone after the exact wrong kind of free agents if they wanted to really get back into contention.

In my defense, I was totally right about Ryan Dempster. Speaking of him, he remains on the roster (because we need a “long guy” who only throws an inning at a time), along with Felix Doubront (because we need two “long guys” who only throw an inning at a time) and Franklin Morales (because the opposition needs comic relief). Matt Thornton and Drake Britton must be wondering what they did in a past life to deserve this. Well, Thornton is. Britton’s wondering if he can drive his car up the Gateway Arch after a six-pack.

For the Cardinals, the big addition is Allen Craig. Although he was a key part of their offense this season, he’s missed the last six weeks with a Lisfranc injury. He says he’s ready to go, and the Cardinals will be happy to have him–without him, their DH lineup probably would have had Shane Robinson in it–but you have to wonder just how effective he’s going to be.

Even with the addition of Craig, and the fact that John Farrell will continue to play Jonny Gomes instead of Daniel Nava, I think the Red Sox have the offensive advantage. Unless you think that Stephen Drew’s massive postseason struggles represent a sudden drop in his true talent, there simply isn’t a hole in the Boston lineup, at least not as big as the one Pete Kozma or Daniel Descalso leave in the Cardinals’ attack.

Although Adam Wainwright is the best pitcher in the series, and Michael Wacha may well be the second-best, I think the Cards’ back-end starters are shaky or unsustainable enough that the rotations are even, maybe with Boston having the slightest edge simply based on depth. Lackey, Peavy and Buchholz have all looked shaky at one point or another this postseason, but I’d take any of them over Lance Lynn or Joe Kelly.

One key advantage the Cardinals have is in the bullpen, especially with their pair of lefthanded relievers. Gomes’ presence in the starting lineup means that he won’t be available off the bench, and the continued absence of Ryan Lavarnway means that John Farrell will refuse to hit for his catcher anyway; I expect there to be at least one point in this series where Kevin Siegrist or Randy Choate is facing Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a big spot. If there is, it won’t end well for the Red Sox.

Of course, the Red Sox don’t have the monopoly on tactical inefficiencies in this series. After all, Mike Matheny has relegated Shelby Miller to the Ryan Dempster role for no apparent reason, and there’s nothing saying that he won’t do something stupid like have Carlos Beltran bunt or pitch around Drew to get to Xander Bogaerts. I’ve picked the Red Sox in every series thus far, and I haven’t been wrong yet, so let’s go Red Sox in 6. We’ve made it this far; we might as well win the damn thing.

Sportspun: Goog covered the big points here – I’m dismayed that John Farrell still hasn’t learned his lesson about the compared uselessness of extra long men versus extra bench options, and frustrated that Jonny Gomes is still starting on the basis of “they win when he starts” with no actual regard to how he plays in those games. Fortunately, I think the misuse of Shelby Miller is enough to offset Boston’s mistakes.

On the other hand, I’ve picked the Red Sox to lose every series thus far, and I haven’t been right yet, so let’s go Cardinals in 5. Yadier Molina will negate a lot of the speed advantage, Allen Craig will come back strong, and… well, again, I haven’t been right yet, so I’m counting on that to continue.

Robbie: Oh man, check out them fawkin’ beards! Man, Sully! Hey! Ya gotta love these freakin’ beards doncha! Yeah. Them Sawx this year they got it all man. Victorino he’s like friggin’ lightning out there I tell ya! Why do they keep hitting him with pitches? It’s cause there jealous, that’s why. Sully, hey SULLY! Over here! Yeah like I was saying at work Lackey man, it’s great he got his head in the game this year it’s really great. No more fuckin’ whinin’ about his wife and or whatever. Lester, he beat cancer man! How can you say he can’t beat St. Louis! Pedroia! Ya gotta love him. He’s the captain! Isn’t he? I dunno. I love that guy.

Hey, I pick the Sox in four! Maaaaaaaybe the Cardinals can pull one out but I doubt it. HEY SULLY! Yeah. I think St. Louis has a good team and all but you can’t beat the Sox! Yeah, man, cool. Sox in four.

 

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