Before getting to our preview of the 2013 Major League Baseball World Series, it’s important to note how wrong both Joe and I were in our predictions of the American League and National League Championship Series’. Both of us picked one series to end in 6 games and the other in 7, so in that regard we both got one series correct and one incorrect. However, we both picked the Dodgers and Tigers to win their respective series’.
What Went Wrong
- It’s important to note that playoff series’ are relatively short which means SSS (Small Sample Sizes). As such, each player and each teams’ performances are put under a microscope. That said, statistics are statistics and if six games are all you’re given, then six games’ worth of stats are what you have to work with. FanGraphs tells us that an .800 OPS is considered “Above Average”, further categorizing a .600 as “Poor” and a .500 OPS as “Awful”. This is where I tell you that Prince Fielder had a .507 OPS in 24 plate appearances, and Torii Hunter had a .567 OPS in 28 plate appearances. Victor Martinez was the only Tiger with an OPS above .757, coming in at .871 and only two extra base hits (no homeruns). This is where I feel comfortable concluding “What Went Wrong” for the Tigers, as frankly their pitching staff was just fine (2.77 ERA, 73 K/18 BB over 6 games)
- It was a fairly similar story for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles, though the disparity in their players’ OPS was much wider. Adrian Gonzalez (1.091 OPS) and A.J. Ellis (1.034 OPS) most certainly did their part, combining for four doubles, three homeruns, four walks and five RBI in 39 at bats. That said, Puig, Mark Ellis, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier and Juan Uribe (See: the rest of the Dodgers) hit horribly. None of the aforementioned players had an OPS over .600, Puig struck out 10 times, and Ethier and Uribe both had all three elements of their slash line below .250. Again, the Dodgers pitching staff did fairly well. Not quite as well as the Tigers pitching staff, but a 3.25 ERA with 50 K’s/18 BB certainly isn’t too awful.
And so, here is your schedule for the 2013 World Series, with projected starters:
Game 1, St. Louis at Boston, Wednesday on Fox/ESPN Radio, 8 PM ET/5 PM PT
Adam Wainwright vs. Jon Lester
Game 2, St. Louis at Boston, Thursday on Fox/ESPN Radio, 8 PM ET/5 PM PT
Michael Wacha vs. Clay Buchholz
Game 3, Boston at St. Louis, Saturday on Fox/ESPN Radio, 8 PM ET/5 PM PT
John Lackey vs. Joe Kelly
Game 4, Boston at St. Louis, Sunday on Fox/ESPN Radio, 8 PM ET/5 PM PT
Jake Peavy vs. Lance Lynn
Game 5 (if necessary), Boston at St. Louis, October 28 on Fox/ESPN Radio, 8 PM/5 PM PT
Game 6 (if necessary), St. Louis at Boston, October 30 on Fox/ESPN Radio, 8 PM ET/5 PM PT
Game 7 (if necessary), St. Louis at Boston, October 31 on Fox/ESPN Radio, 8 PM ET/5 PM PT
Joe Buck will serve as the play by play voice, while this World Series will be Tim McCarver’s last as analyst for Fox (thank goodness). Erin Andrews and Ken Rosenthal will fill the “sideline reporter” role.
Here are our storylines for the World Series:
- Michael Wacha has been nothing short of incredible in the postseason. Three games played so far and an average of 7.0 innings each time, Wacha has allowed only the one earned run (a solo home run), and zero runs allowed in the NLCS, and a sum total of 22 K’s/3 UBB (Unintentional Bases on Balls) through the three games. Did we mention he’s only 22? Wacha was rewarded with the NLCS MVP award, and will look to continue his success in the World Series.
- Carlos Beltran brought the power so far this postseason, complemented in the offensive attack by big boy Matt Adams, Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday. Beltran though has a .921 OPS with six extra base hits including two HR and 12 RBI, and this will be his first time in the World Series.
- Jacoby Ellsbury is in a contract year, and as such he needs to step up to see that big pay day come the offseason. He’s done his part so far in the playoffs, batting .400/.467/.525 with five RBI and six stolen bases.
- The Boston “power punch” so-to-speak of David Ortiz and Mike Napoli certainly haven’t hit for a great average so far, batting .200 and .242 respectively. Five homeruns, 10 RBI and 13 walks, though, have made for quite the contribution and have helped the Red Sox to get to where they are so far.
- Red Sox relievers have been spectacular so far in the playoffs, led by 38-year old Koji Uehara who as allowed only one earned run over nine postseason innings. Uehara – who signed with the Red Sox on a 2-year, $9 million deal in December – stepped up during the regular season when called upon, after not being the team’s expected closer. Five strong outings in which no runs were allowed during the ALCS saw Uehara awarded the ALCS MVP, and Sox fans will feel confident when Uehara is handed the ball in the World Series.
- What impact can All-Star Allen Craig – who batted .315/.373/.457 with 13 HR and 97 RBI in the regular season – contribute in the world series after returning from a foot injury?
- Can Clay Buchholz shake off his struggles from these first two series? Buchholz has posted a 5.40 ERA, a team worst 1.44 WHIP and three home runs allowed, and those kind of performances will be detrimental to any effort by the Red Sox to win the series.
We’d also be remiss to not take a chance to share some perspective from our other writers.
First, from Barney Carleton:
Most will find it hard to pick against the Boston Red Sox, a team led by Dustin Pedroia and David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz. The heroics of Shane Victorino still fresh in the minds of many, the Red Sox appear to be the team with momentum coming in to the series. The Sox will be up against a Cardinals team with a stronger bullpen, than they faced from the Tigers. In Games 3, 4, and 5, there will be no DH, forcing the Red Sox to bench one of their best bats, either Michael Napoli or David Ortiz.
- The Cardinals strong starting pitching will be supported with timely hits from the offense, namely Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina. Beltran is arguably the best postseason hitter to never have a plate appearance in the Fall Classic, while Molina was a key member of the 2011 World Series champions. Wacha will win two games, including Game 6 to clinch the series on his way to being named the World Series MVP for the Cardinals.
And, from Billy Lee:
- I’ll say Boston in 6. I wanna say the MVP goes to Napoli because I think he’s going to have a huge series, but I worry he won’t be able to get enough AB’s when they lose the DH in St. Louis and Papi has to play first base. So my final prediction is Boston in 6 and MVP to Koji Uehara.
- Dylan: Cardinals in 6.
- Barney: Cardinals in 6.
- Billy: Red Sox in 6.
- Joe: Cardinals in 7