The 2013 World Series is imminent, with the American and National League championship series providing plenty of twists and turns in the meantime to give MLB fans their fix of high-quality postseason action.
But of course, the ultimate goal for every club is to get to the Fall Classic and bring home the Commissioner's Trophy.
While the TV listings and schedule of upcoming games are set for the 109th rendering of the World Series, there is still some baseball to be played to decide the participants.
Following an overview of the slate beginning Oct. 24 will be predictions of which teams will make it to the sport's ultimate stage.
|2013 World Series TV Listings|
|1||Wed., Oct. 23||NL Champion @ AL Champion||TBD||FOX|
|2||Thurs., Oct 24||NL Champion @ AL Champion||TBD||FOX|
|3||Sat., Oct. 26||AL Champion @ NL Champion||TBD||FOX|
|4||Sun., Oct. 27||AL Champion @ NL Champion||TBD||FOX|
|5||Mon., Oct. 28||AL Champion @ NL Champion||TBD||FOX|
|6||Wed., Oct. 30||NL Champion @ AL Champion||TBD||FOX|
|7||Thurs., Oct. 31||NL Champion @ AL Champion||TBD||FOX|
Predicted World Series Matchup: Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals
As horribly as the Red Sox offense has struggled in the playoffs thus far, it did enough to take the wind out of the Detroit Tigers' sails through three games in the ALCS.
After being no-hit until the ninth inning of Game 1, Boston's David Ortiz socked a grand slam in Game 2 that turned the tide in his team's favor.
That was the turning point and helped avoid a 0-2 hole at Fenway Park. Manager John Farrell's club then took the third game at Comerica Park despite Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander giving up just one run.
Funny enough, it was Mike Napoli's solo home run in the seventh inning that proved to be the difference—he didn't have a hit in the series before then.
Game 4 of the ALCS was a different story, but it was also the Tigers' best punch. It was a must-win for Detroit, and a five-run explosion in the second inning was all it took to jump out in front and hold on.
The Tigers do have the advantage of having a pivotal Game 5 at home, but the Red Sox are due to break out offensively. Their bullpen is also superior, as it proved when it gave up zero runs in five scoreless innings Wednesday.
All the pressure is on Detroit to get a victory in the fifth game before two more possible contests at Fenway Park. Look for Boston to nab a second win at Comerica Park on Thursday and close it out in six.
Then there's St. Louis. The team bounced back from a Game 3 defeat to grab a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 4-2 victory Tuesday, keyed by 4.2 scoreless innings from the Cardinals bullpen.
Even with a loss in Wednesday's potential close-out game, the series goes back to the friendly confines of Busch Stadium. The Cardinals showed resilience in rallying for two runs in the ninth, but it was a bit too little, too late.
Winning one of two games at home may prove to be more difficult than usual, since the Dodgers will send ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound in Game 6. Adrian Gonzalez, who blasted two home runs in a 6-4 win Wednesday, felt compelled to call Kershaw the best pitcher in the MLB:
Kershaw allowed just two hits and one unearned run in six innings of work in Game 2 but got the losing decision, as LA was shut out.
Even if Kershaw dominates again, the Cardinals will not drop a second straight NLCS Game 7 and will instead punch a ticket to the World Series for the second time in three years.