The Red Sox stared down a formidable Tigers team as they entered the ALCS; the competitiveness of this series showed itself right out of the gate, as the Tigers took Game 1 with a score of 1-0, with Detroit starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez striking out twelve in six innings, and the pitching staff coming within two outs of a combined no-hitter. In the second game, the Red Sox faced the possibility of falling into a 0-2 series hole as they were losing 5-1 through seven innings; however, Big Papi and Co. was not destined to lose on that day. David Ortiz hit a grand slam to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. Saltalamacchia won the game with a walk-off single. With the series then tied, the Red Sox won Game 3 by the score of 1-0 to take the series lead, and eventually went on to win the series in six games.
On the National League side of the championship series, the St. Louis Cardinals took care of business as they downed the Yaisel Puig-led Dodgers in six games as well. The young Cardinals team, studded with young stars such as 22 year-old NLCS MVP Michael Wacha, rookie closer Trevor Rosenthal, and rookie slugger Matt Adams, defeated the $221 million Dodgers with seventeen homegrown players, demonstrating the strength of their player development system against even the toughest assembly of the sports’ superstars.
The stage is now set, and the World Series is set to begin on Wednesday, October 23 in Boston. The Red Sox will trot out ace John Lester, a left-hander; the Cardinals have struggled against left-handed pitchers this season, batting .232 against them this season, as compared to their league-leading .273 batting average overall. St. Louis countered with Adam Wainwright, who is the presumptive runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award this year. The expected winner, Clayton Kershaw, was outpitched twice by rookie Michael Wacha, who started Game 2 of the World Series for the Cardinals.
The Experts’ Take
The Red Sox and Cardinals played no games against each other this season, and their last postseason encounter dates back to 2004, when Boston broke its 74 year-long curse by sweeping the Cardinals in four games to win the World Series. Before this most recent postseason encounter, the two teams have had a lot of history, meeting in both the 1946 and 1967 World Series, both of which were won by the Cardinals in a full seven games. This upcoming World Series is evenly matched, as it will feature the two best records in each league for the first time since 1999, as well as the two best run producers. But the Red Sox’s colorful cast of bearded superstars seem to have the magic this season to win it all. The postseason is about who’s hot, and there is no hotter team in baseball than the Boston Red Sox.
After splitting the first two games, the Red Sox win their third Championship in 9 years, after 7 hard-fought games.