World Series 2013: Predictions for Each Possible Fall Classic Matchup
With just a little over two weeks before the Fall Classic, the playoff picture continues to be extremely muddy.
The ALCS is tied 2-2, and the Los Angeles Dodgers won Game 5 to stay alive against the St. Louis Cardinals. Just when one team is able to get an advantage in the series, the other team snatches the momentum away.
Even now, it's difficult to see exactly who will make it to the next round.
With that in mind, here are predictions for each of the four possible matchups we could see in the World Series.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox
In a series between a disappointing offense and one that doesn't have a lot of depth, go with the better pure lineup.
As expected, the Dodgers have been spotty offensively in the NLCS. They've done well in Games 3 and 5 but pretty bad in the rest of the series. They've gotten a fair number of hits, but, more often than not, they run themselves out of innings or can't string together enough multi-hit innings to put enough runs on the board.
While Boston hasn't been much better, it has the overall pieces that make you think things could turn around in the World Series. The Red Sox had one of the best offenses during the regular season, and one of their best players isn't hobbled by an injury, as Hanley Ramirez is for the Dodgers.
Los Angeles doesn't have the weapons offensively to go deep against Boston. And with the American League having home-field advantage in the World Series, the Red Sox wouldn't have to worry about losing David Ortiz or Mike Napoli for four games.
Prediction: Red Sox win 4-1
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Detroit Tigers
This would be a great series to watch, if only for the chance to see Justin Verlander take the mound against Clayton Kershaw. They're two of the best pitchers in the game, and it's the kind of matchup you live for. Maybe we could just have them pitch all seven games?
Jim Leyland may have caught onto something when he tweaked his lineup for Game 4 against the Red Sox on Wednesday night. He had Miguel Cabrera batting No. 2 and Austin Jackson down at No. 8. It was an experiment that worked out extremely well, and going forward, Leyland may have found out how he can get the best out of his offense.
It would be scary for a Dodgers team that is dealing with a hobbled Ramirez. He's one of the best hitters in the lineup, and without him at his best, it could be hard to counter the trio of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez in the top of the Tigers' lineup.
While this would be a competitive series, Detroit gets the slight offensive advantage.
Prediction: Tigers win 4-3
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Boston Red Sox
The problem with the Red Sox is that they have yet to find much offensive consistency, especially against the starting pitching of Detroit. The Tigers bullpen might be the thing that's most helped out the Red Sox in the ALCS. First it was the Ortiz grand slam, and then Detroit's relievers gave up two more runs on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals have the pitching from top to bottom necessary to silence the Red Sox offense. They've got Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha all contributing, and then at the back end of games, Trevor Rosenthal has been lights out.
You can't expect Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday to continue performing as badly as they have. They're three of the best hitters the Cardinals have and they're all hitting .200 or below in the NLCS.
If they can get going, St. Louis will have everything it needs to make it three World Series titles in eight years.
Prediction: Cardinals win 4-2
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Detroit Tigers
After Wednesday night, the Tigers are looking like a much more competitive team in the postseason. Leyland isn't afraid to tinker with the lineup if he thinks it will help the team. It's a big risk considering he's in the middle of the ALCS.
However, it's going to be hard for even the Tigers lineup to break through this Cardinals pitching staff over seven games.
The differences between the respective bullpens have been noted above. Detroit has already had sterling performances from its starters erased by relievers failing to hold a lead. Once St. Louis gets past the sixth inning with the score close, the Tigers would be in major trouble. That's when the Cardinals would be able to make their move.
Prediction: Cardinals win 4-2
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