October 20, 2013

Red Sox Advance to Face Cardinals in World Series: The Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, the two teams with the best regular-season records in their leagues, will be meeting in the World Series. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports writes of the Fall Classic that begins Wednesday at Fenway Park, "We're getting the two best teams. ... Both teams are a joy to watch. Both teams play the game the way it should be played. For once, the Series will be a meeting of the most deserving postseason qualifiers rather than the culmination of a crapshoot."

posted by rcade to baseball at 12:25 PM - 12 comments

These were the two teams I did NOT want to see play in the World Series, but if I have to cheer for one it's definitely the Cardinals.


Because screw you, John Farrell!

posted by grum@work at 12:52 PM on October 20

There is some history working on Boston's side. Let's look at it sport by sport:

NBA: Boston Celtics have defeated St. Louis in 3 of 4 meetings. Boston's only loss coming in the 1957-1958 finals when Bill Russell was sidelined with a leg injury.

NHL: Boston Bruins defeated St. Louis Blues in their only Stanley Cup finals meeting, 1970.

NFL: New England Patriots defeated St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI, 2001.

MLB: I'll list these by year. 1946, St. Louis defeated Red Sox. Why did Pesky hold the ball? 1967, St. Louis defeated Red Sox. The Impossible Dream was ended by Bob Gibson. 2004, Red Sox sweep, and who would have believed it?

Looking at the above, it appears that no team from St. Louis has defeated a team from Boston (or New England) since 1967. Not that it really means anything, but it is odd on the face of it. Red Sox will have more difficulty against the Cardinals than they did with either Detroit or Tampa Bay. Cardinals are a much better balanced team than either the Tigers or the Rays. Whichever team manages to take the series, it will be much like the Boston series vs Detroit, grinding, nail biting, heart stopping, and just plain tough.

posted by Howard_T at 01:37 PM on October 20

Boston is going to have to show they can generate some offense versus quality starters if they want to beat St. Louis. They shouldn't count on the Cardinals' bullpen being as horrible as Detroit's was.

I'm going with the Cards. Big surprise.

posted by dyams at 02:33 PM on October 20

I was at Games 3 and 4 of the 2004 World Series, which was both a bummer (as a Cards fan) and pretty cool (from a baseball history perspective). Am thinking it will be a bit more competitive this time around. Have not seen anything written on this, but off the top of my head I think the only player on either team still around from that series is Ortiz. Chris Carpenter was on the Cardinals that year but was not on the playoff roster due to some nerve impingement or something (not surprising) that flared up towards the end of the 2004 season and he sat out this year injured.

Looks like I will get to go to Game 3 or 4 this year and take my 5 year-old son and 7 year-old son (together with my wife and her parents). Hope they will appreciate just what a special thing this is (although likely not for a couple of years). It actually will be the second World Series game for my oldest, who slept through Game 3 of the 2006 World Series (Tigers at Cardinals) as a 9 month-old. I married into some pretty sweet season tickets; single guys (or gals), add it to your "marriage material" checklist.

posted by holden at 02:59 PM on October 20

Boston Globe in February: "To fans, John Lackey is the most unpopular player on the Red Sox. There is no second place; that's how much of a landslide it is."

Boston Globe this week: "What's not to love about John Lackey now?"

posted by rcade at 03:25 PM on October 20

Wow, how luck that you get to go, holden! Take lots of pictures and post 'em/link 'em here, okay? I'm pretty jealous- back in 2004, I even considered buying plane tickets and tickets to game 4 on the spur of the moment, and wish I'd pulled the trigger back then.

Have not seen anything written on this, but off the top of my head I think the only player on either team still around from that series is Ortiz
You're mostly right- even most the staff/managers have changed over for both teams- but rookie Yadier Molina was also on the 2004 squad/playoff roster and even started Game 4.

Me, I obviously think the Sox are going to win- as I think Howard_T said in the huddle thread yesterday, Boston is a very well-balanced team, through the lineup, through the starters, and through the bullpen. But honestly I think like most Sox fans we've already won, and this is just gravy: we thought we were in for a few years of rebuilding/farm development, and yet one season after the accursed Bobby the Fifth (may he never don a MLB uniform for the rest of his days) we're in the World Series with the best record in baseball!

Boston is going to have to show they can generate some offense versus quality starters if they want to beat St. Louis. They shouldn't count on the Cardinals' bullpen being as horrible as Detroit's was.

dyams, I think Boston's offense will be fine- if anything, it's their pitching I'm worried about. The starting pitching and bullpen won them that series, to be sure, which has me worried about a regression to the mean. Uehara has been basically a guarantee in that 8th/9th inning, but will St. Louis finally solve the equation that is Ue (chemical symbol for "Unhittium")?

On the flip side, though, Boston's offense is starting to wake up, and since they got through Detroit without much in the way of offense, they could finally explode at the perfect time. Guys like Victorino and Ortiz had terrible series, despite those two clutch grand slams- but the real story is how, after an initial slow start, the offense was getting productive in those last few games in that Boston way: grind, grind, grind. Guys who were 0-for were still drawing walks, and when that offense starts clicking, that lineup will be a beast. I don't think Ortiz is going to have another shit series, for example!

As the series progressed, more and more you'd have men getting on base via hits, or walks, or HBP; running up the count (and I can't say enough about those tremendous at-bats from Xander Bogaerts in game 6), men stealing, taking extra bases, hit-and-running, so that every game they were setting themselves up for scoring opportunities. Heck, even in that 1-0 game 1, they had men in scoring position- including a bases loaded situation- in four separate innings but never converted. And that's the secret to their success: if they keep getting on base, keep working the count, they're going to eventually start scoring runs and also dig into the opposing team's bullpen earlier and earlier.

Whoever wins, I don't think the World Series is going to be the pitcher's duel the ALCS was, and I expect results like 7-5, 6-4, etc in most of the games.

posted by hincandenza at 03:43 PM on October 20

Kudos to rcade, who had to endure the insufferable Globe paywall to obtain those Lackeylicious quotes.


Got a call from my buddy Fran, a crusty retired Navy man and son of the sod who believes in self-reliance, ingenuity, and avoiding women, and lives in a warehouse office down in Florida. He's got new hearing aids courtesy of the VA, doesn't have a TV or read the papers, but he's a sports fan, and gets all his information from the radio in his pickup truck.

When the Sox won last night, he rings me up and says: "Hey what about this kid O'Hara? He can really close out a ballgame. Where'd they find him? Working on Mahoney's salt piles in Chelsea?"

posted by beaverboard at 08:20 PM on October 20

That's a great story, beaverboard.

How about this kid John Icci, who handles the 8th inning? He from the North End?

posted by holden at 09:23 PM on October 20

I make no prediction of the series winner. My only prediction is as above: It will be a long, grinding ordeal. I just hope it doesn't turn on a bad call or a freak occurrence.

Holden, great fortune in getting to games 3 & 4, especially with your kids who are at the age when they might not appreciate the whole thing, but I'll bet they'll never forget it. Make a SpoFi sign and get your mug on TV so we can see you.

Beaverboard, if your buddy Fran knows about the salt piles in Chelsea, he must be from the Boston area, I'd bet from Charlestown or Everett, or else he was stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard. If he's from Winthrop, I probably know him. You know as well as I that nobody goes to Chelsea just to see the sights. Great story.

posted by Howard_T at 10:40 PM on October 20

This all reminds me of the (hopefully now former) Republic of Ireland coach Trap O'Toni. Or, further back, Flann O'Brien's WWII columns of the Irish brains at the heart of the Russian military, General Tim O'Shenko.

posted by yerfatma at 09:04 AM on October 21

Oh, that Myles na gCopaleen. Brother Barnabas warned us about him.

posted by Hugh Janus at 10:32 AM on October 21

I thought it was classy that no one on the tigers really made a big deal of the missed strike to Bogaerts, especially Scherzer basically saying you never get that call.

I thought Farrell made several bad decisions against the Tigers. As Seth Mnookin said, just because it ends up working out doesn't mean it was the correct decision. Bringing in Franklin Morales was a terrible decision. Walking the first hitter, and then leaving him in to face Martinez to make him bat right handed. He fell behind and then gave up a hit. It doesn't work if the pitcher sucks. Morales failing was predictable. That decision has been glossed over since the Red Sox won.

Red Sox will have more difficulty against the Cardinals than they did with either Detroit

I agree that the Red Sox will have to play better. They were almost beaten simply because of the Tigers starting pitchers, and the Cardinals are a more balanced team. I don't see how the Red Sox can win if they continue to hit so poorly.

However, the Red Sox could have easily lost to Detroit. If Ortiz hits the ball a foot shorter, or if Coke had been brought in to face him, the Sox probably lose that game. And if the double play is turned, or the 3rd strike against bogaerts is called, the Red Sox probably lose game 6 as well.

I think the best team won, but barely, and it could have easily gone the other way.

posted by justgary at 06:21 PM on October 23

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