Was it the Fenway Park atmoshpere? The jitters? Or just plain and simple: a terrible game? The Cardinals looked nothing like the team that had little trouble putting away the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS.
In the first two innings multiple missplays led to a big lead for the Red Sox. With runners on first and second David Ortiz hit a text book double play ground ball, but shortstop Pete Kozma could not hold on to the throw from his second base man. Instead of a runner on third with two outs, the bases were loaded for Mike Napoli, who has been clutch on multiple occasions this postseason. He doubled in three runs and the Sox never looked back.
After a dropped popup and another error by Kozma the Sox were up by five in the second inning. Adam Wainwright ended up giving up three earned runs in five innings. Ironically, the one great play the Cardinals made ended up possibly losing one of their best players for one or more games. Carlos Beltran robbed David Ortiz of a grand slam, but injured himself when he ran into the Fenway Park outfield wall. Matt Holliday accounted for the only Cardinals run in this one with a solo home run. The Sox won easily 8-1.
Both teams have some very interesting rookies on their World Series roster. Aruban born Dutchman Xander Bogaerts was on the National team that won the World Championship in 2011 and on the team that reached the semi final of the World Baseball Classic earlier this year. He has looked really good recently at third base and drove in a run with a sac fly in yesterday's game.
The Cardinals on the other hand have a pair of thrilling rookie starting pitchers. Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha have played huge parts in their team reaching the World Series. The right handers have won multiple games this postseason and have shown not to be afraid to pitch in high pressure situations. Wacha gets his first ever World Series tonight, while Kelly is likely to start Game 3 on Saturday.
Game 2 pitching matchup
John Lackey (10-13, 3.52 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA)
This is the classic example of the crafty veteran versus the unexperienced rookie. 35-year old John Lackey has been decent this season, although he has been much better at home (2.47 ERA) than on the road (4.48 ERA). His last road start, however, was a great game though. He went head-to-head against Justin Verlander and ended up beating him with 6.2 shutout innings against the very potent Detroit lineup. Lackey has pitched in the World Series before.
As a rookie he pitched in three games in the 2002 Fall Classic, beating the Giants in Game 7 to win the title.Neither pitcher has ever faced the opposing team before. That's understandble, seeing as how Lackey has never pitched in the National League and Wacha is a rookie. Wacha has been absolutely lights out in his short postseason experience. He is 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in his three starts, his only run allowed came in a game in which he nearly pitched a no-hitter against the Pirates in the NLDS.
The Cardinals need to step up in Game 2 and I believe that if they play well on defense, Wacha will give them a chance to win. He doesn't seem like the type that would be fazed by a loud crowd at Fenway. Lackey too, is not a pitcher that is afraid to pitch big games. This should be a tight game in which the Red Sox are favorites to take a 2-0 series lead (-116), but the Cardinals are close at (+106).
I believe, right now, it is hard to bet against the Red Sox. Especially in a home game, however: the Cardinals have been historically great in series they were trailing in. Enjoy the game!