(Disclaimer: I’m not a SABR expert, but I don’t fear the advanced stats. They’re a part of me seeing the game more clearly.)
WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE
Game 1, 23 October, Boston
Photo Credit: fathead.com
Game 2, 24 October, Boston
Game 3, 26 October, St. Louis
Game 4, 27 October, St. Louis
Game 5 (if needed), 28 October, St. Louis
Game 6 (if needed), 30 October, Boston
Game 7 (if needed), 31 October, Boston
After six-and-a-half months of pre-game stretching, taking BP, bullpen sessions, bubble gum and backstops, we are down to two teams. St. Louis and Boston have every right to be well-pleased in their respective teams this year. Both have rich histories, so old-timers like me can regale one another with tales of Curt Flood or Fred Lynn. Both are successful now, so sabermetricians can point to advanced stats to glean subtle details on which team is better. Whatever your disposition, there is something in this matchup for fans of every age.
Photo Credit: sportslogos.net
Prediction – Cardinals in seven (7) games. “Why”, you may ask? Let’s look at some numbers:
In the regular season, Boston scored 853 runs. St. Louis scored 783. Boston’s OPS was .795, compared to St Louis’ .733. Boston had 570 extra base hits, compared to 467 by St. Louis. Boston had a 1.06 ground out/fly out ratio, versus a 1.24 GO/AO for St. Louis. Boston stole 123 bases, while St. Louis stole 45
St. Louis had only one balk called against their pitchers (5 called against Boston pitchers). St. Louis gave up 39 stolen bases, while Boston gave up 133. For OPS against. St. Louis achieved .680, while Boston notched a .710.
In the field, Boston’s Defensive Efficiency Ratio (DER) was .696, versus .692 for St. Louis (both were middle-of-the-pack for MLB). St. Louis’ fielding percentage was .988, Boston’s was .987. St. Louis caught 26 of 65 runners attempting to steal (40% caught), while Boston caught 43 of 176 (28.7% caught).
With these and other numbers, it looks like a classic matchup of pitching & defense (St. Louis) versus strong hitting (Boston). Some quick guesses:
a) Jacoby Ellsbury (52 SB in the regular season) gets caught stealing in Game 1, and Boston cuts back on its’ running game for the rest of the Series.
b) Allen Craig and/or David Freese will hit a late-inning home run in either Game 1 or Game 2 over the Green Monster to eke out a win for St. Louis. The Cards and Sox will split the first two games.
c) In one of the three games at St. Louis, Dustin Pedroia will rip multiple extra base hits to allow Boston to take back home field advantage.
d) One of St. Louis’ rookie pitchers will dominate in a start at “New Busch”. I guess Wacha will start, go seven-plus strong innings – 4 hits allowed, 1 earned run, 1 base-on-balls, 5 strikeouts and lots of attention in the sports world.
On paper, it would seem to suggest Boston would bludgeon St. Louis. So often, though, we’ve seen good pitching slow down good hitting enough to allow the better-pitching team to overcome the opponent. I’m guessing this year good pitching will make the difference. At the end of seven games, Boston will have representative offensive numbers, but St. Louis will get key outs with Boston runners in scoring position. It will be an enjoyable seven-game series, with memorable performances from both teams.
Photo Credit: wwlp.com
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