After plenty of drama in both leagues, the 2013 World Series is finally set, and there are some familiar faces on both sides.
The Boston Red Sox got some timely hitting in the ALCS to defeat the Detroit Tigers in six games. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals were led by their young pitching to shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS.
These two teams have combined to win four of the last nine World Series, including the 2004 matchup when the Red Sox defeated the Cardinals 4-0. This year's version is certain to be much more dramatic.
With plenty of veteran and young talent on each side, this series has a good chance to go the distance and be entertaining every step of the way. To make sure you are prepared for each game, follow along with this complete guide to the 2013 World Series.
|1||Oct. 23||8:07 p.m.||Boston||Fox|
|2||Oct. 24||8:07 p.m.||Boston||Fox|
|3||Oct. 26||8:07 p.m.||St. Louis||Fox|
|4||Oct. 27||8:15 p.m.||St. Louis||Fox|
|5||Oct. 28||8:07 p.m.||St. Louis||Fox|
|6||Oct. 30||8:07 p.m.||Boston||Fox|
|7||Oct. 31||8:07 p.m.||Boston||Fox|
Can the Cardinals Continue to Provide Lights-Out Pitching?
Throughout the season, the Cardinals had one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. They ranked second in the majors in starter ERA and were fifth overall with a 3.42 mark.
While you can assume the top players will continue to excel in the postseason, the team ERA of 2.34 in the postseason is simply ridiculous.
Michael Wacha has used these playoffs as his coming-out party, allowing only one run in 21 innings so far. Adam Wainwright has been almost as good, with three starts of at least seven innings and two runs or fewer allowed. Even Joe Kelly had some solid starts to give his team a chance.
Meanwhile, Trevor Rosenthal has anchored the bullpen, with three saves and zero runs allowed in seven innings.
The problem is that Wainwright is one of the few pitchers on the staff with more than a year of experience. St. Louis must hope the pressure does not get to the young players against the elite Boston lineup.
Are the Red Sox Capable of Hitting Before the Seventh Inning?
The American League Championship Series showcased Boston's ability to produce late in games. David Ortiz had a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning of Game 2, while Shane Victorino had a go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning of Game 6.
Overall, the club had 19 runs in the series, 12 of which came in the seventh inning or later.
While this shows the team's impressive resolve, it is still much easier to win when you get runs early. This did not happen against the Tigers, as only once did the Red Sox enter the seventh inning with more than one run.
The fact that the team hit only .202 in the series played a big role in that.
Boston will have to do a better job of hitting in the World Series, especially early in games. The team might not have too many more late chances based on the way the Cardinals have pitched thus far.
Will Carlos Beltran Keep Producing in the World Series?
Although Carlos Beltran has not made many trips to the playoffs in his career, he has proven to be one of the best hitters of all time in October.
Beginning with his eight home runs with the Houston Astros in 2004, Beltran has a total of 16 home runs, 35 RBI and a 1.160 OPS in 44 playoff games in his career. He also seems to come through at the biggest times at the plate and in the field, as ESPN proudly notes:
There's another way to spell Carlos Beltran. It's C-L-U-T-C-H.— ESPN (@espn) October 19, 2013
However, he has never played a single inning in the World Series.
The Cardinals have a lot of quality hitters in the lineup, but Beltran has been the veteran presence that has carried the offense throughout the postseason. They need him to be at his best to make sure this run does not stop.
Still, he must first prove that his excellent play from the first two rounds can continue when he gets into an unfamiliar spot.
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