For the first time since 2007 the World Series returns to Fenway Park in Boston for this year's Game 1. The Red Sox have the home field advantage because the American League beat the National League in the All-Star Game earlier this year.
It’s definitely not the first time the two teams collide in the World Series. The Cardinals have won two of the three previous matchups. The first one, in 1946, was between the teams of superstars Ted Williams and Stan Musial. While everyone mainly paid attention to those to on forehand, neither one played particularly well in this tight series. It became the World Series of Enos Slaughter, who, with his so-called Mad Dash, scored the winning run from first base on a double, while he should have been thrown out.
In 1967 the Fall Classic went to Game 7 again. Boston newspapers headlined ‘Lonborg and Champagne’ as they believed Red Sox ace Lonborg would help the Sox beat the Cards in the important Game 7. They must have forgotten how good Bob Gibson was, who went 3-0 in the series with a 1.00 ERA and three complete games. He struck out 15 Red Sox batters and won Game 7 and the World Series MVP Award.
The most memorable clash, especially for the younger baseball fans, was the one in 2004. It saw the Red Sox win their first World Series title in over eighty years. Let’s hope for another historic matchup this season!
The best teams in the league
These two teams are currently the best ones in the league and deserve to be in the World Series. Let’s have a look at which team should have the best chances of winning this one. Even though they were held quiet in the first few games, the Red Sox probably have the slight edge in the lineup. They combine speed and the ability to get on base with tremendous power. Most of the power came from David Ortiz and Mike Napoli so far and it seems like manager John Farrell will have to leave one of these two on the bench when the show moves on to St. Louis and they will drop the DH for three games straight.
Playing David Ortiz on first would definitely hurt the Sox on defense, meanwhile the return of Allen Craig to the lineup should help the Cardinals both on offense and defense. The Sox however still have the better defense of the two teams.
Normally you’d take a rotation of veterans like Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy over a rotation with two inexperienced rookies in it. But Michael Wacha and Joe Kelly have been so good this postseason that I have to give the Cardinals the edge in this one. Especially since they have postseason hero Adam Wainwright starting at least two and maybe even three games if this series goes to a game seven.
Both teams haven’t met before this season, so we can’t look at how they played each other before.
Game 1 pitching matchup
Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA)
Both teams are sending their ace to the mound tonight. Wainwright clearly has the better numbers this season and, quite frankly, is the better pitcher of the two. Lester, however, is a true gamer – something that has made him immensely popular with Red Sox fans – and has especially been good in Fenway Park.
Wainwright is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in the World Series as a reliever with only three innings. He missed the last World Series the Cardinals played in due to an elbow injury for which he underwent Tommy John surgery. Jon Lester is also 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in World Series history. He went 5.1 shutout innings for the win in a victory over the Colorado Rockies in 2007.
The Boston Red Sox are the favorites to win World Series according to the bookies (-129) and who could have foreseen this before the season? That goes to show you that the underdog St. Louis Cardinals still have a good chance at +119.
If the Cardinals want to win another title, they will have to beat the Sox at Fenway at least once and why not tonight with Adam Wainwright on the mound. The Cardinals are considered underdogs (+108) so you might make a little money if you bet on them and they end up winning. The Red Sox are favorites at home though (-118).