Well, we’re at the end. It just seems like yesterday when the Tigers took Roy Halladay to task, beating the Blue Jays to win the season opener. It’s been almost seven months since then, and for one more week, we have baseball.
The improbable Red Sox square off against the St. Louis Cardinals. Will the Red Sox be the third straight wild card team to win the World Series, and in the process, end an 86 year old curse? Or will it be the Cardinals, a franchise with nine World Championships?
In 1946 and 1967, these teams squared off in the World Series, and both times the Cardinals won in seven games. Can the Red Sox break the curse, or will history repeat itself?
Hitting – I give the edge to the Cardinals. Albert Pujols might be the best hitter in baseball that doesn’t have the last name Bonds, and he has a very solid supporting cast. Combine this with the fact that they hammered the ball while playing in a park that slightly favors pitchers, and there’s your edge.
Not that the Red Sox slap the ball around though. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are a potent combination, and I think Manny is going to make an appearance after a quiet ALCS.
Pitching – The Red Sox have two of the best starting pitchers in all baseball. Curt Schilling is the wild card though. If he’s able to pitch effectively in two games during this season, it increases the chances of the Red Sox taking home a championship considerably. Pedro will be Pedro, and if the Red Sox were to win it, I think he’d be your series MVP.
I do think the Cardinals have more depth. Once you get past Schilling and Pedro, the Cards have the edge. They can send three solid pitchers to the mound in Jeff Suppan, Woody Williams, and Matt Morris, but I think quality beats quantity. I give the edge to the Red Sox.
Bench and Bullpen – Also close, but Dave Roberts and Doug Mientkiewicz are two guys who are goog to have sitting on your bench. I’d also take Keith Foulke over Jason Isringhausen any day. I give the edge to the Sox, but I’m not as knowledgable on the St. Louis’ bench players.
Coaching – Tony LaRussa has been here before, and he’s won more games then all but five managers. Terry Francona has done a decent job, but I give the edge to the veteran here.
Overall – As much as I’d like to see Boston win, I just don’t see it happening. St. Louis proved they can beat a big game pitcher when they bested Roger Clemens in game seven of the NLCS . The Cards have no superstars in their rotation, but they were good enough to rack up 105 wins and make it to the World Series.
I think the Cardinals are going to win in six, and Albert Pujols will be the MVP.