The World Series is about ready to begin with the Cardinals facing off against the Red Sox. I’ll give my prediction below, and I’ll also toss out a bushel of exciting/interesting/odd facts that have transpired over the course of the playoffs. It’s been one heck of a postseason filled with oodles of pitching.
Carlos Beltran is doing it again. In 11 games this postseason he’s hitting just .256 but that doesn’t remotely tell the story. Beltran has two homers, 12 RBIS, five runs scored, a .383 OBP an a .538 SLG. That’s more indicative of his efforts. Dude is pretty clutch, no? Yeah, you can probably say that given that his 45 game playoff effort is simply astounding: .337-16-37-44-11 with a 1.173 OPS. That’s a 150 game pace of .337-53-123-147-37. Speechless.
Clay Buchholz, shocker, failed to come through when it mattered most. CB has allowed 10 runs and 19 hits through 16.2 innings leading to a 5.40 ERA and 1.44 WHIP over his three postseason starts.
Matt Carpenter hit .318 with 126 runs scored an a .392 OBP this season. It’s been a different story in the second season as he’s been really blah (highly scientific term). Carpenter has only scored five times in 11 games but even worse he’s hitting .167 with a .250 OBP. He’s gotta pick it up.
Allen Craig will return from his foot issue as he’s been named to the Cardinals World Series roster. The plan calls for him to DH in Boston and be available to pinch hit in St. Louis. He’s been out for well over a month, so it remains to be seen where his bat, and body are, and how much he will be able to help the Cards.
Jacoby Ellsbury has six thefts in 10 post season games. He’s also batting .400 with 10 runs scored.
Prince Fielder has become the anti-Beltran, a player who just can’t seem to get it done when it matters most. To be fair to Fielder, an any other guy who gets labeled as a choke artist, baseball is a game that needs an ample sample size to truly understand/label a player. Forty at-bats, 11 innings pitched… those kind of numbers simply aren’t enough to label a guy a choker, or for that matters Mr. Clutch. Even saying that, it’s shocking that Fielder has been so bad. In the ALCS Fielder went 4-for-22 without an RBI. Over the postseason he hit .225 with a .561 OPS and no RBIs over 11 games. That effort drops his career numbers in 39 playoff games to .194/.287/.333 with 11 RBIs. There’s no way you can minimize that effort. It’s been brutal in the postseason for this proud slugger.
The Red Sox won the ALCS despite the fact that they hit .202 in the series. Among the nine guys who have had at least 20 at-bats this postseason only one Red Sox player is hitting over .260 (Ellsbury). The Cardinals aren’t any better. They’re worse. The Cards don’t have a single guy with 20 at-bats hitting .270 as their leader is Matt Adams at .268. Woof.
Koji Uehara won the ALCS MVP thanks to six scoreless innings that included no runs allowed and only four hits on his way to three saves. For the postseason he has a 1.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 13 Ks and five saves over nine innings.
Justin Verlander went 1-1 in the postseason. In 23 innings he allowed one earned run. One. And he went 1-1. In the three starts he made he held batters to a .127 batting average while racking up a 0.39 ERA and 0.57 WHIP. Shame on you Tigers’ batters.
Michael Wacha looks as dominant as any man to take the ball this season. He became the first rookie to record two scoreless starts in a single postseason Series. He was named the LCS MVP for his efforts, the third time a rookie has won the award (Livan Hernandez in 1997 and Mike Boddicker in 1983). Wacha was also the 3rd rookie to win two games in an NLCS (Tim Wakefield in ’92 and Tim Belcher in ’98). All told Wacha has made three starts, won three games, posted a 0.43 ERA with a 0.57 WHIP as he’s allowed a total of eight hits through 21 games. Historically good.
Adam Wainwright is no Michael Wacha (tongue firmly planted in cheek), but boy is he a heck of a hurler. Through his three starts he’s gone 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA and 0.78 WHIP.
The Cardinals and Red Sox have met three times before in the Series. The first two contests went seven games with the Cards emerging with the victory (1946 and 1967) while the Cards were swept in 2004 by the Red Sox who won their first championship since 1918,.
PREDICTION: Cardinals in six games.
By Ray Flowers