October 22, 2004

Seven Games to Rule Them All...

Fourteen games for ages -- baseball fans have been blessed with LCS history for two straight years now, and after the Red Sox and Cubs teased us last year with the chance of an apocolyptic Cubs-Red Sox World Series, we're finally getting to see Boston in a World Series, and in as dramatic fashion as any team has made it before. The Cards come off a come-from-behind series as well, needing an Edmonds walk-off to force a Game 7 that they'd win 5-2. Welcome to the World Series, boys, first time for the Cards since they won in '87, and first time since '86 that the Sox have hung the bunting this late in October.

Who has the edge? This is a very, very tight series in most aspects of the game. Both lineups are loaded, both pitching staffs have a lot of wins, and both teams have some of the most passionate fans in the country. The last time both LCS went to seven games, the WS went the distance, and this one has all the makings of an epic.

I like St. Louis' lineup better than Boston's. I think the Cards have shown throughout the postseason that they can win playing longball and playing smallball. They're faster than the Red Sox, and no pitcher wants to face Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Renteria, ohmygoodness get the bullpen warmed up, I wanna go home. Boston has a LOT of power, even Damon woke up towards the end (giving last week's pick a sliver of credibility), and they're going to be hard to stop, but if you've got the same pitchers pitching to both lineups, I'll take the Cards.

Here's the thing -- you're not using the same pitching staff. I think that Boston's staff has a HUGE edge over the Cards'. St. Louis has more wins, but throughout the season, Boston won more close games, and you look for that in the postseason. They also have a lot more playoff experience than the Cards do, which is gonna show up huge in this series. Bullpen strength is another huge edge for the Sox, with Foulke on a fiery-hot stretch and Isringhausen looking shakier than Byung-yung Kim in '01.

Managers? LaRussa has the experience, but Francona has the edge. WHAT?? Ive GOT to be kidding you! LaRussa's won the whole freakin' thing with the A's!! That's true, but he's also been swept by a far inferior Reds team in '90. He's made a few questionable changes in past two series -- more, actually, than Francona did against the Yankees. Here's the other thing -- first-year managers with a team are on a hot streak. Arizona's Bob Brenly beat the Yankees in '01; Anaheim's Mike Scioscia beat the Yankees on the way to beating the Giants in '02; Florida's Jack McKeon beat the Yankees in '03. This is Francona's first year with the Red Sox, he's already gotten the Yankees out of the way, and he's in line to keep the streak alive.

Homefield advantage, hmmmm. The two best fanbases in baseball meet in the World Series -- Boston's fans are the most dedicated in baseball, while Cards fans are the most knowledgable and have the most class. As far as homefield advantages go, they're both strong. The Cards are 6-0 at home, having blown out their opponent in the first four of those games, then took late innings to sweep the Stros out of town. Boston is 3-1, with every victory in extra innings. You give the edge to Busch here -- no matter how good the fans are in Boston, you just can't beat perfection.

So, who do I pick? The Cards have won the past two World Series between the two, and have the second most world titles in basball. The Sox are coming of the most improbable series win in baseball history, and are not overlooking the NL champs. It's tough, tough, tough, but I've got to go with pitching. I think the Sox have the better starters and definitely have the better closer, and I think this is the year the curse gets broken. I think that if Boston leads 3-2, you're gonna see more of the Buckner play than you'd ever hope to see, and if this thing goes to Game 7, it'll be on Halloween night, at Fewnway. I think Boston exorcises it's demons in the last possible moment, and Red Sox Nation gets what's it's wanted for so, so long. Boston in seven to lift The Curse.

You can't script October, but Someone is certainly trying.

Red Sox. Redbirds. World Series. Here we go.


Post a Comment

<< Home