The Boston Red Sox gained a huge edge in the 2013 World Series by winning Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The final two games of the series are set for Fenway Park, giving the Red Sox two cracks at finishing off the series at home, with their first chance coming Wednesday night at 8:07 ET.
The Cards have the deck stacked against them, but St. Louis has already won one game at Fenway in this series.
Let's take a look at when and where to watch the remaining games of the series and which players are key to each team's success.
|Date and Time||Teams||Channel|
|Game 6: Wed., Oct. 30 at 8:07 p.m. ET||St. Louis at Boston||FOX|
|Game 7: Thurs., Oct. 31 at 8:07 p.m. ET||St. Louis at Boston||FOX|
Michael Wacha, Starting Pitcher: St. Louis Cardinals
Wacha has been nothing short of sensational in these playoffs for the Cards. The 22-year-old is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts over 27 innings.
St. Louis will need yet another great performance from its rookie starter to save the Cardinals season when he takes the mound in Game 6.
In his last outing against Boston, Wacha pitched well after allowing two runs on three hits over six innings to win Game 2. Wacha has proven time and time again in these playoffs that he doesn't need much run support, which is important in such a big game that may see both teams' lineups play tight.
If the youngster can answer the bell again for St. Louis in Game 6, the Cardinals and Red Sox will likely go to a deciding Game 7 where anything can happen.
Allen Craig, First Base: St. Louis Cardinals
Craig had a big double in Game 4 against off Koji Uehara of the Red Sox that ultimately led to his scoring the game-winning run due to an obstruction call on Will Middlebrooks at third base.
Other than that, Craig has been mostly quiet in this series. Despite having a hit in each of the first four games, Craig only performed in a pinch-hit role in two of those games and has yet to drive in a run.
As one of the big run producers for St. Louis, the Cards need a contribution from Craig in that department. Guys like Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina have all done their part, but it's time for Craig to follow suit.
With the designated hitter spot back in the mix at Fenway Park, Craig will no doubt would start both games and have ample opportunity to make some noise with his bat.
Mike Napoli, First Base: Boston Red Sox
Because of David Ortiz's hot hand in the playoffs, the Sox were forced to keep Napoli on the bench for all three games in St. Louis. That had to be a tough pill for Napoli to swallow given his postseason heroics this month, but it ended up paying off for Boston, as Ortiz went 7-for-9 with three walks, one RBI and two runs scored in those games.
Napoli will get the nod Wednesday night, and Thursday night if necessary, now that the designated hitter role is back. The 31-year-old made his mark with a three-run double in Game 1 that proved to be all Boston needed to win.
Napoli has two homers and six RBI overall this postseason and while his .220 average doesn't say much, he also has six walks and four doubles.
Having a clutch hitter like Napoli is huge in the latter stages of a big series such as the World Series. His ability to get the big hit and, to a lesser extent, get on base, makes Napoli a key cog in the offensive wheel of the Red Sox—behind Ortiz, of course.
Koji Uehara, Closer: Boston Red Sox
It goes without saying that Uehara is important to Boston's hopes of closing out this World Series, but it may be necessary for the 38-year-old to pitch more than one inning in order to do so.
Uehara has pitched more than an inning four times this postseason and has been successful each time out. He hasn't allowed a run yet to the Cardinals. In fact, Uehara hasn't allowed a run in any game since Oct. 7 in the divisional series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Uehara has been lights out all season, but he's never had to pitch in a huge spot like he may have to in Game 6 and/or Game 7.
With great pitching on both sides, the score will likely be tight in any game Uehara enters. If the Red Sox pitchers falter at all late in games, Uehara will undoubtedly be asked to pitch more than an inning. His success once again in that role will make all the difference in the Red Sox either winning or losing this World Series.