With Halloween just around the corner, the Major League Baseball World Series teams have finally been decided. The early Las Vegas odds on World Series 2013 participants Boston and St. Louis are definitely reflecting the fact that the two teams look on paper to be eerily similar. And many scary matchups simply look like a wash with no clear winner. This is the fourth time that the Red Sox and Cardinals have teed it up in the Fall Classic, and the previous three meetings gave us incredible, Hall of Fame matchups.
In 1946 it was Stan Musial versus Ted Williams, in 1967 Carl Yastrzemski pit his Triple Crown against Bob Gibson, and Pedro Martinez had to face Albert Pujols in 2004. Of course, we remember Curt Schilling and his bloody socks from that 2004 matchup which Boston fans will always recall as the Killing of the Curse. But no two teams in recent World Series play appear to be as evenly matched as these two league champions. The Cardinals make their fourth trip to the World Series in the last ten years, with a bearded Boston team visiting the MLB championship contest for the third time in the last decade. Both teams are patient and deep, which has led to several important similarities.
Both teams are in the 2013 World Series thanks to identical 4 – 2 victories over their division championship opponents. Boston bested Detroit, with the Cardinals ending the Dodgers’ hopes. And this year’s Las Vegas odds on World Series participants St. Louis and Boston also show that both teams finished the regular season with MLB-best records of 97 – 65. If you think the similarities are beginning to pile up like the Lincoln – Kennedy assassination comparison, you are right. Both managers are first timers in the World Series, the first time since 2008 that this has happened. However, while Boston’s John Farrell leads a bearded and bushy team, St. Louis’ Mike Matheny is piloting a clean-cut crew.
More similarities? The Cardinals ranked number three in runs scored and number three in on-base percentage during the regular season this year. The Red Sox ranked number one in runs scored and number one in on-base percentage. The Sox finished number two in batting average, while the Cardinals ended the season number four in batting average. So we have two teams which are evenly matched at the plate. And those are just the similarities on the offensive side of the game. Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright will go head to head in a pitching battle game one, so let’s check them out.
Lester sits at the top of Boston’s pitching rotation, and he owns a career postseason ERA of 2.49. Boston’s John Lackey carries a postseason ERA of 3.10 in 16 appearances into the 109th World Series, and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright has a 2.10 ERA in 16 playoff games. Both teams have exceptional catchers, known more for their presence behind the plate than with a bat in their hands. The Cardinals have Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina, and Boston answers with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who gave a lights-out performance against the Dodgers. With identical won loss records, rookie managers going head-to-head, great starting pitching and offensive support on both sides, the 2013 World Series may just be one of the most evenly matched of all time.