2013 World Series Preview

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In sports the only thing that is truly predictable is the unexpected as great stories all come from teams or players who were written off before they had a chance to prove themselves. They are the underdogs who come out of nowhere to make great stories and grab the headlines. The underdogs are the teams that make fans out of everyone as they fight against all odds to get to the top of the league and to a championship. It is one of the best parts of sports as it is entertaining to see the teams that were never supposed to be good achieve something special. The underdogs are fun to watch and something that make every sports fan pay even more attention to a postseason run. Then again there is something to be said for the favorites during a playoff race and a run towards the championship. In 2013 the MLB has seen exactly that as the two best teams in the regular season would make their way to the World Series. Although the postseason would include some underdog stories it was the top teams that came out on top. There were no big surprises this year as some of the underdog teams would make their presence known but in the end it was the favorite teams who would come out on top. In the National League the St. Louis Cardinals would be able to win one of the toughest division battles in the regular season to come out as the top team in the league. The NL Central was a close race with the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates breathing down the necks of the Cardinals. The fight would go to the very end of the season with the Cardinals coming out on top of the National league with a 97-65 record. The American League would be a little different though as the Boston red Sox would not be involved in much a division battle. They would sit behind the New York Yankees for the start of the season but they would take the top spot in a short time and would never look back. The Red Sox were the class of the American League this year as they would take the top spot and remain in the top spot. They would remain the top team in the American League this year and would be tied with the Cardinals for the best team in the MLB. The Cardinals and the Red Sox have been the best teams in the MLB all year and now they face off in the World Series. It is not every often that the teams who have the best regular seasons get to face off in the finals but the 2013 World Series will see exactly that. The Cards and BoSox have a shot to solve the question of the regular season as they find out who the best team is once and for all.

 

St. Louis Cardinals

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The Cardinals had a great regular season winning the NL Central and finishing with 97 wins and tying the Boston Red Sox for the best record in baseball. Their season would continue in the postseason when they would open the trip to the World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS. The Cards and Pirates had battle all season and they would go at it once again in this five game series. Like the regular season it would take them the entire series to get past the Pirates as they would win the series in five games. They would take on the Dodgers next and would once again find themselves in a tough series against a young up and coming team. The Dodgers would force the Cards to six games in the NLCS where the Cards would convincingly win their fourth game 9-0. The Cards would overcome plenty of adversity this postseason beating some very good young teams. Overall they would prove that their experience and steady play would come out on top as they would get through their challenges and make it to the World Series. The biggest part of the Cardinals’ run at the World Series has clearly been their pitching staff that has been able to shut down some good offences. Led by veteran Adam Wainwright the Cardinals starting pitching has been great that goes along with their bullpen that have been one of the best in the postseason. With a postseason leading 2.34 ERA the Cardinals are the best pitching staff in the postseason. They will look to use this against the Red Sox who have a great offence as the Cards hope to shut down the output of the Red Sox. When it comes to the other side of the ball the Cardinals have relied heavily on the long ball this postseason. They have the second most HRs in the postseason, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, and other than that they have been in trouble at the plate. The Cards are near the bottom of most other major categories for the postseason as they struggle to get much else going. It is clear that the Cardinals will be relying heavily on their defence and pitching in this series as they hope to shut down the Red Sox and win another World Series. If they can get the offence they need while relying on pitching they can win this series but if the series turns into a slugfest they may just be out of luck this year.

 

Storyline:
One of Two
– The Cardinals are back in the World Series for the second time in three years and they have the opportunity to be one of only two teams to win a World Series in the last four years putting them with the San Francisco Giants as the two top teams of the decade so far and leading to talk of a dynasty

Player to Watch:
Michael Wacha, RHP
– The rookie pitcher has been one of the best starters for the Cardinals as he has a 3-0 record with a 0.43 ERA so far this postseason while pitching 21 innings for the NL champions and he will be truly tested against the Red Sox when the pressure is put on for the young pitcher in his first World Series

How do they Win:
Keep them Within Reach
– The Cardinals have the better pitching staff and if they can keep the Red Sox within reach they will likely break through for a big hit when they need it but the key is to make sure that the Red Sox do not get out too far ahead of them to the point where the Cardinals offence will not be able to catch up

 

Boston Red Sox

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The Boston Red Sox had a great regular season after an offseason where most people thought that they would be the worst team in the division. The Red Sox would lead the division for the most of the season and they would take this dominance into the postseason. They would begin their run against the Tampa Bay Rays and would prove that they were one of the best teams in the league. They would beat the Rays in four games and move on to the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. This series would be much more of a challenge for the Red Sox as the Tigers offence and pitching would prove to be tough to handle. The ALCS would go to 6 games with Detroit hanging on as long as they could until the Red Sox won their fourth game. Now the Red Sox are heading into the World Series in a season where nobody expected them to make it as they go against another top team for the championship. The Red Sox seemed to take this season personal and every game and every postseason series has been proof that they are not as messed up as many thought they were. They would achieve this by bringing back their offence that would win them a World Series in 2007. Led of course by their designated hitter David Ortiz the Red Sox have relied on their ability to score runs through multiple ways in order to beat teams. They do not rank among the top teams in most postseason offensive categories but they are not at the bottom either. They have scored the most runs out of anyone in the postseason and they have done so the old Boston way. They frustrate pitchers and wear them down to the point where they make mistakes. To get a strikeout against any of the Red Sox batters is a tough process as they will work pitchers into high pitch counts. Eventually this will lead to walks, another category the Red Sox lead in, and opportunities for their big batters to bring in runs. The pitching staff of the Red Sox is not too bad either as they rank 4th in postseason ERA. The pitching staff is good along with the bullpen as they will be able to keep a weaker Cardinals offence. The Red Sox are looking to get out ahead of the Cards and use their offence to win the series and achieve what they had set out to do and prove everyone wrong.

 

Storyline:
The Comeback
– After the 2011 season reports would surface about the Red Sox drinking and eating fried chicken in the locker room during games and that would lead to a mess in the 2012 season that saw the Red Sox at the bottom of the division but just as everyone began to count them out the Red Sox would fight back and prove that they were stronger than most people thought

Player to Watch:
Koji Uehara, RHP
– He has been the breakout star for the Red Sox in the postseason as the Red Sox closer has been lights out in the ninth inning and will be someone who the Red Sox will rely on in this series as at least one game, if not more, will be in his hands for this series and possibly for the most important game in the series

How do they Win:
Get Ahead Earlier
– The Red Sox are not the best pitching staff in this series but their offence knows how to produce runs and if they can get ahead early they can rely on the fact that their pitching staff and bullpen can shut down the weaker Cardinals offence that will not be able to make up ground if they get behind too far

 

Prediction:

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Boston Red Sox in 7
– The Red Sox have a better all around team as they have a good rotation and a good bullpen to go alongside a very good and annoying offence for pitchers to face and that balance will help the Red Sox to another championship as they will be able to get ahead in the four games they need for the win although it will still be a tough go as it will take 7 games to win

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