The best-of-seven Fall Classic between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox for the Commissioner's Trophy is here.
St. Louis has made the postseason four of the past five years, while Boston is making its return after a three-year absence. Both franchises have a shot at their third World Series victory in a decade.
As MLB on Twitter points out, 2013 marks the fourth time the Cardinals and Red Sox have met in the historic series:
Of course, the last time the two teams met in 2004, Boston swept St. Louis (after becoming the first team in MLB history to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series) while also breaking the 86-year curse in which the team had not won a championship since 1918.
Here is a complete viewer's guide for the historic showdown.
|Game||Date||Matchup||Time (EDT)||Channel||Pitching Probables|
|1||Wed., Oct. 23||St. Louis Cardinals @ Boston Red Sox||7:30 p.m.||FOX||Adam Wainwright (STL) vs. Jon Lester (BOS)|
|2||Thurs., Oct 24||St. Louis Cardinals @ Boston Red Sox||7:30 p.m.||FOX||Michael Wacha (STL) vs. Clay Buchholz (BOS)|
|3||Sat., Oct. 26||Boston Red Sox @ St. Louis Cardinals||7:30 p.m.||FOX||John Lackey (BOS) vs. Joe Kelly (STL)|
|4||Sun., Oct. 27||Boston Red Sox @ St. Louis Cardinals||8 p.m.||FOX||TBD|
|5*||Mon., Oct. 28||Boston Red Sox @ St. Louis Cardinals||7:30 p.m.||FOX||TBD|
|6*||Wed., Oct. 30||St. Louis Cardinals @ Boston Red Sox||7:30 p.m.||FOX||TBD|
|7*||Thurs., Oct. 31||St. Louis Cardinals @ Boston Red Sox||7:30 p.m.||FOX||TBD|
Schedule via MLB.com. Starting pitcher matchups are courtesy ESPN.com. *If necessary.
Which Starting Rotation Will Own the Series?
While this series could easily divulge into an offensive slug-fest, it's safer to think it will be a defensive battle when looking at the star power along both starting lineups.
The quartet of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn for St. Louis has been nothing short of stellar this postseason.
Together, the Cardinals outstanding group has combined for a 2.57 ERA in an average of 6.36 innings so far.
Wainwright is of course an ace, but so is the youngster Wacha, who took home NLCS MVP honors after over 13 scoreless innings. Kelly and Lynn have been great through aggressive pitching as well, but are clearly the weak point in the attack.
St. Louis was able to remain fairly aggressive in their first two rounds while keeping pitch counts down, but Boston will by far be the best offense the talented quartet has encountered.
Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Jake Peavy lead the way for Boston, but outside of Lester, the group is simply not as talented as the one St. Louis brings to the mound.
Which starting rotation will play better?
Buchholz has struggled when it comes to giving up the long ball, and Peavy has been a flop as he has battled issues when it comes to fanning batters. The good news is the group has home-field advantage to work with after the American League was able to win the 2013 All-Star Game.
Both teams tout impressive bullpens, but it will be up to the very talented starting staffs to set things up properly.
Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain in this fateful fourth matchup between the two sides—runs will be extremely difficult to come by throughout.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling