WORLD SERIES REMATCH – RED SOX HEAVEN

23Oct13

As you know by now, I’ve been a Red Sox fan my entire life.  Okay, since I was about seven years old.  Prior to that, I was corrupted because I lived 45 minutes from the Bronx and everyone in my small home town cheered for the pinstripes.

But after I was able to witness Yaz bring home the triple crown (no one would achieve this feat again for another 45 years), I was hooked.  The fact that I was a left handed hitter myself only made him, and his team, that much more appealing to me.

And so my suffering began!

Year after year, the season would begin with high hopes, only to see the team eventually crumble.  Sometimes they would fall apart by the all-star game, other times they would tease us and get close to making the playoffs, only to come up short.

There were a couple of near-misses along the way.  1967 (the year I became hooked), saw them go down in flames to Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals.  In 1975, they took the Reds to game 7 before losing in the ninth.  Eleven years later, they had the Mets put away in game 6, leading the game in the bottom of the tenth with two strikes on Gary Carter.  We all know how that turned out.  Three hits, a wild pitch and a ground ball through the legs of Bill Buckner, and the Mets forced a game seven, which they eventually won, leaving the Curse of the Bambino alive and kicking.

This type of heartbreak for the Red Sox faithful would continue for another 18 years.  But in 2004, they were finally able to break the 86 year old curse, get the monkey off their backs or whatever cliché you’d like to use.  The Red Sox finally won a World Series by sweeping their National League opponent.

And who was that opponent?  None other than the heavily favored St. Louis Cardinals.

So who will they be facing this in this year’s World Series?  The heavily favored St. Louis Cardinals.

Granted, I would have loved to have seen the Sox beat the LAFRS (see Baseball Season Approaching the One Third Mark – Time to Make Some Predictions – 5/21/13), but as a D-Backs fan, I couldn’t bring myself to root for them to beat the Cardinals.

So I’ll settle for a rematch with the team that helped us break the curse.  The fact that the top seed in both leagues finally made it to the Series just adds to the excitement.

And who am I picking to win the whole thing?  Well, that should be obvious by now.  The Red Sox will win their third World Series title in the past ten seasons.

I’m not just being a homer and going with my team, regardless of their roster, their stats or their recent play.  I think they match up very well against the Cards.

Not that I expect any game to be a blowout.  Both teams have very good pitching, good defense and some great situational hitters.  There will certainly be some 2-1 or 3-2 ball games over the next five to nine days.  But don’t be surprised if there are a couple of 12-8 games, too.

Not sure what I mean?  Let’s look at the Boston-Detroit series.  In each of the first three games, the Tigers pitchers had no-hitters going into the 5th or 6th inning.  Yet the Sox ended winning two out of those three games.  That could be attributed to the Tigers bullpen, which simply fell apart in the series.  Or it could be that the Sox know they are always one swing away from being in any game.

Boston struck out more than 12 times a game during the series, yet won it in six games, due to some timely home runs, including grand slams by Ortiz in game 2 and Victorino in the deciding game six.

On two occasions, the winning team only had one run, as compared to six and seven runs in games 2 and 4.

The Cardinals scored just as many runs as the Sox did during their series with the LAFRS, but their bullpen was able to shut the door when needed.

The reality is these two teams are very evenly matched.  They both finished the regular season with 97 wins and the #1 seed.  They both have very good starting pitching and solid bullpens.  They both can go stretches with very little offense and then explode for a bunch of runs at any given moment.

But in the end, I’m thinking the Sox have a little more depth in the batter’s box, which may be the most important thing to possess when a pinch hitter is needed in the 8th or 9th inning.

I know this will be a close series, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Cardinals actually win the whole thing, but I’m picking the Red Sox in six.

Okay Yankee fans, let me have it!

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