Sunday, October 20, 2013

Familiarity breeds a World Series rerun

You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.---The Rolling Stones

What a lot of people may have wanted to see in this year's World Series, which begins Wednesday, was a fresh matchup. Neither Boston nor Detroit had faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic, and either team vs. the Dodgers would've made for compelling television. LA's storybook rebirth would've reached its pentultimate chapter, attempting to win its first title since 1988.

Unfortunately, the St. Louis Cardinals had something to say about that. The Redbirds eliminated the Dodgers on Friday, ensuring that we would instead have a rematch of a recent Series. With Boston eliminating Detroit last night, that rematch is 9 years in the making.

In 2004, Boston broke the infamous "Curse of the Bambino", ending years of frustration. St. Louis is making its 3rd Series appearance since, and has won the last two times out (2006, 2011). This time, it's about revenge, redeeming themselves for losing in '04.

The pitching is even. Since Boston has three days to prepare, they can come right back to Jon Lester to start Game 1, and last night's starter, Clay Buchholz, would wheel back in Game 2 on Thursday. St. Louis can start with their ace, Adam Wainwright. What befuddles me is how the Cardinals didn't use 15-game winner Shelby Miller, who was such a phenom in the early part of the year, opting for another rookie, Michael Wacha. All Wacha did, of course, was hold the Dodgers scoreless in 2 appearances. I'd sub out Joe Kelly in favor of Miller, and give Miller some shine time. Game 7 is scheduled for Halloween, which means a bad moon rising, with apologies to Creedence Clearwater Revival, for one of these teams.

Offensively, both teams need consistency. Boston got a spark from speedster Shane Victorino last night with, of all things, a grand slam, to put Boston back in front to stay. Victorino is a table setter, not a power hitter. Aside from Carlos Beltran, who finally reaches the Series after being a bridesmaid 3 previous times (2004 w/Houston, 2011 w/San Francisco, and 2012 w/St. Louis), the Cardinals offense has been working in spurts, same as Boston. As we saw in the ALCS, the last thing the fans need is to be put to sleep again for as many as 7 more games.

In 2004, Boston, shockingly, swept St. Louis. 9 years later, the Cardinals will get their revenge. They can pick up the tempo and get the games completed in under 3 hours, as we saw in the NLCS. Let's go old school. This is the 3rd meeting between these two in the World Series. St. Louis, of course, thwarted the Impossible Dream in 1967. I've picked against St. Louis twice and gotten burned. Not this time. Cardinals in 6.

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