Well, it’s time for the Series, and it’s Red Sox versus the Red Birds. Here are some pre-series thoughts, along with my prediction.
- Defense: the clear advantage goes to the Cardinals. Manny may be able to swat the ball, but he’s no great shakes in the outfield. The Sox are going to play Ortiz at first when they go back to St. Louis, which may make sense for the offense, but I’m not sure that now is the time for him to try to shake the rust off.
- Catching: Both Matheny and Varitek are terrific defensive catchers, but you’d have to give the edge to Varitek for his ability to crush the ball.
- First Base: Nobody is better than Pujols. Advantage Cardinals.
- Designated Hitter: Doesn’t get much better or hotter than Ortiz: advantage Sox.
- Pitching: The Cardinals may lack the star power of the Red Sox, but can Schilling really come out and pitch another game? Can Wakefield? I’ll still give the Red Sox the advantage in starting pitching, but this is probably what will decide the series.
- Bullpen: If the starting pitcher tonight can go fairly deep, the Boston relievers should be rested enough to carry the rest of the series. I think the advantage will likely go the Sox.
- Manager: It doesn’t get much better than La Russa. Advantage to the Birds.
- Intangibles: I don’t believe in ghosts, and neither should the Sox. If they fail here after their historic 0-3 comeback, they will be hanging their heads forever. They aren’t going to hold anything back, and neither will their fans. Advantage Sox.
What’s all this mean? I really can’t pick between the teams, so I’ll just go with what I would like to see happen: Sox in 7.
Enjoy the series.