Staff World Series predictions
Alex Leichenger, Senior Sports Editor
CARDINALS in 6
The combination of the Green Monster and Yasiel Puig and Hanley…oh wait, my Los Angeles Dodgers lost their third straight National League Championship Series. None of you care for my woe, so I’ll unexcitedly trudge along to this prediction business. The devastating punch of Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha in Games 1 and 2 could quickly turn this series to the Cardinals’ advantage. But the Cardinals’ offense limped to a .672 on-base plus slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers this season (although they pummeled Clayton Kershaw), which bodes well for Jon Lester. Boston will win one of two at home, and the key will become whether St. Louis defends its three-game set at Busch Stadium. Count on the Redbirds to do just that, claiming two of three before clinching in Beantown behind another virtuoso performance from Wacha. Meanwhile, I will pretend that Wacha is Kershaw.
Nick Kauzlarich, Sports Editor
CARDINALS IN 7
This World Series features the two best teams in baseball of the past decade, and it’ll turn out to be one for the ages. The Red Sox edge out the Cardinals in hitting with the likes of Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury, but the Cards make up for it with an outstanding rotation consisting of Wainwright, Wacha and Kelly, who have a combined 1.94 ERA this postseason. While the Cardinals may be the more experienced team, the starting rotation’s youth gives me doubts. But I’m not going to bet against Wacha. Expect low-scoring games with clutch hitting from both teams, with Wainwright proving to be the difference in Game 7 on short rest. The Cards will end up winning their third World Series in eight years.
Sahil Patel, Editor-in-Chief
CARDINALS IN 6
These are two remarkably similar teams, with inexperienced managers, unhittable bullpens and passionate fan bases. Where I see the Cardinals coming out on top, though, is in the starting pitching. Wainwright closed out the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series championship and had an ERA of 2.94 while winning 19 games this season. Wacha (Wacha Flocka Flame, as I have taken to calling him) has allowed just nine hits in his last 30 innings and has an ERA of 0.43 in the postseason. Joe Kelly had an ERA of 2.69 in the regular season, and Lance Lynn has won 33 games in his first two seasons as a starter. Throw in a batting lineup that just scored seven runs off of likely National League Cy Young winner Kershaw, and you have a recipe for St. Louis’s 12th World Series title.
Derek Shyr, Managing Editor
CARDINALS IN 6
The Cardinals have a good mix of veteran leadership and All-Stars who know what it takes to win a championship. While the Red Sox do have players like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia who have won it all, Boston has had major changes to the roster since its championship in 2007. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have managed to keep its core group of 2011 champions together. Players like David Freese have pulled through for St. Louis in the playoffs, and let’s not forget what happened in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. St. Louis has a knack to fight until the very end, and I don’t think Boston can handle that. Boston swept St. Louis in the 2004 World Series, and the Cardinals will be seeking revenge this time around. With a chip on their shoulder, the Cardinals should have even more motivation to keep Boston from winning another title.
Zach Kram, Staff Reporter
RED SOX IN 6
Runs have been scarce in these playoffs, making the ability to score via homer more valuable. Boston (sixth in the majors in home runs this season) has power hitters throughout the lineup whereas St. Louis (27th in homers) relies more on station-to-station offense and timely hitting to generate runs, which may not be as potent a strategy in the low-scoring environment of October. While Wainwright and Wacha may be the two best pitchers in the series, the Red Sox feast on right-handed pitching (leading the league in both on-base and slugging percentages against righties) and should batter the Cardinals’ back end of the rotation. It pains the Yankees fan in me to make this prediction, but the combination of a deep lineup, a large dose of Koji Uehara out of the bullpen, and a little sprinkle of Fenway magic will give the Red Sox their third title of the last decade.
Tyler Friedman, Cont. Reporter
RED SOX IN 7
The last four winners of the World Series have had home field advantage, so the Red Sox might want to thank All-Star Game MVP and rival New York Yankee Mariano Rivera sometime soon. First-year manager John Farrell will cap off his team’s resurgence with a championship. National League Championship Series MVP Wacha has been brilliant dating back to his last start of the regular season, giving up just one run in his past 30 innings, and former Cy Young winner Wainwright will also play a pivotal role for the Cards. The Sox must find a way to get to the Cardinals’ bullpen. The clutch hitting by rejuvenated All-Stars Ortiz and Shane Victorino in the American League Championship Series was against Detroit’s relievers, and the Sox’ lineup must work the count. For the Cardinals, the return of Allen Craig will provide a road-game designated hitter, and he could make a big impact. Nevertheless, the Sox will beat the Cardinals again in this 2004 World Series rematch by winning games 6 and 7 on their home field.