They are two of Major League Baseball's best teams of the 21st Century, and the winner of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals can rightfully take the mantle of being the best in the game.
Sorry, Yankee fans, but the Red Sox and Cardinals are two of the three teams that have won multiple World Series titles in this century.
We know that somebody will make history by next Thursday at the latest. On paper, it could be another seven-game series, much like the one St. Louis won in 2011 when the Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers 4 games to 3.
If the Cardinals are going to win the World Series, they'll have to stop the one player I consider to be Boston's most indispensable offensive force -- David Ortiz.
It is fair to say that Ortiz's postseason has not exactly been scintillating. He comes into the World Series batting .200, and seems as cold as the predicted Wednesday night temperatures. Ortiz has had 35 at-bats and only seven hits.
That's the good news for Mike Matheny's pitching staff. The bad news is that out of the seven hits, three of them have been home runs -- including the grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS that electrified this city. Ortiz also leads Boston with seven runs batted in.
The man Red Sox fans call Big Papi has broad shoulders and if he breaks out of this cold streak, it could be a short series.
On the other side, if Boston doesn't take care of Carlos Beltran, the Cardinals will win the title. Beltran is only hitting .256, but he has two home runs and 12 RBI.
Of every Cardinal player I spoke with during Tuesday's Media Day sessions, each one of them set a goal of getting Beltran his first ring in a now 15-season career.
There are a lot of really good players on both teams. Ortiz and Beltran are the team leaders, both on and off the field. They will be key.
Since both teams have had shutdown bullpens in the postseason, the starting pitching will be key. Whichever team can hand over a lead to its bullpen should win a game.
Your opening-night starters are Jon Lester for Boston and Adam Wainwright for St. Louis. John Lackey will oppose rookie Michael Wacha in Game 2. Neither manager would commit to a rotation beyond Thursday, but Red Sox manager did say Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy would be his other starters. The order has not yet been determined.
With Lester and Wainwright, we know what we're getting. It will be a low-scoring game and the first pitcher to make a mistake will cost his team. Game 2 should be the swing game because Wacha is a rookie who made 15 starts this year. Lackey made 13 starts in Boston.
Lackey's home and road splits are astounding. He's 6-3 with a 2.47 earned run average at home and he's 4-10 with a 4.48 ERA on the road. If he keeps that rolling, Boston will be at worst 1-1 going to the Midwest.
The wild card belongs to the Cardinals -- catcher Yadier Molina.
Both teams readily admit that Molina is the best throwing catcher in this series. The Red Sox are 11 of 13 in stolen bases in the postseason with Jacoby Ellsbury 6 for 7. If the St. Louis pitchers and Molina are on the same page, that running game will look like the Patriots'.
These teams appear to be so evenly matched that the series might just turn on a break or two -- or on home field advantage. So in that case, thank the Yankees, Orioles and Tigers who played in the All-Star Game and gave the Red Sox the home-field advantage.
The "B Strong" is still mowed into the Fenway outfield grass. When the World Series is over, it'll be the Red Sox standing strong with the title.
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