After last nights win, the Redsox went up 3-2 and look to clinch the series tomorrow night in Boston. The series so far has been very close, with only one game where the margin of victory was greater than two runs. The games have been battles. The pitching has been solid during the series. Both teams have only been able to score runs after battling the pitchers to get a base runner early in the inning, and then getting a clutch hit to score. The runs have rarely come in bunches.
As the first five games have suggested, the series will likely come down to the pitching. All of the Cardinals starters have been dominant (their ace wainwright actually looks the most shaky), but Boston’s hitters have done a better job at making the pitcher work deep in counts and make a rare mistake. Although they have not scored in bunches, they have been able to consistently chip away at the pitchers to eventually score runs. A big reason for this is David Ortiz. David is hitting .733 (11-15) in the series while generating most of the teams’ runs. Everybody else is hitting just .144. If the Sox win the series, Ortiz is the sure MVP.
The Boston starters have held there own, but everybody outside of Lester and Lackey have not looked great. The Cardinal hitters have not been able to touch Lester—they only scored one run in two games against him—but he is likely done for the series (unless Farrell feels he can pitch in game 7 on 3 days rest). The bullpen has been sensational for the Sox. Uehara continues his dominance, while everybody else has been solid in short inning relief roles (including a big inning by Lackey in game 4). The Cardinals have averaged just 2.6 runs a game against this staff. They have done a very good job of bending and not breaking—giving up some hits, but making sure those base runners do not score. A lot of that has to do with the resiliency of Lester and Lackey, and the great work done by John Farrell in managing the bullpen.
The Sox look like they have turned it around after winning two out of three in St. Louis, but they have some tough matchups to face in Game 6. The last time this pitching matchup took place, the Redsox lost, as Michael Wacha has been the most dominant starting pitcher in the 2013 playoffs.
Game 6 Preview:
Game six will most likely feature John Lackey vs. Michael Wacha. Both pitchers are playing tremendous baseball. When they faced in game two, it was an extremely close battle. Wacha eventually ended up getting the win, but Lackey went six innings before giving up a run. Wacha has not lost a game he has pitched in the postseason, which will make it very difficult on the Redsox. He was the NLCS MVP, and has baffled hitters with his strong fastball and deceiving off-speed pitches. Lackey has played some of the best baseball in his career this season. He came to camp in great shape, rejuvenated his fastball and has posted great numbers ever since. He has an ERA of 3.26 this post-season and looks to improve on that Tuesday night.
Before the series began, I predicted the Redsox would win in six games. I am going to stay with this prediction. St. Louis will be playing in an elimination game and will expect a lot out of 22-year old rookie Michael Wacha. After the Redsox bats have been quiet in St. Louis, I expect them to collect a few more hits going back to Fenway where they will have Victorino and Napoli back in the line-up to give their offense a much needed spark against Wacha. I also expect Lackey to pitch well at home behind the Fenway Faithful where he has pitch so well this year. The Cardinals hitters have struggled to score runs this series, and with Lackey on top of his game, they will likely continue to in Boston.
Game 6 Prediction:
Redsox will win 6-3 to win the World Series.