Why the Boston Red Sox Will Win the World Series

10/23/2004

By Chuck Dieringer

The Boston Red Sox will win the World Series because they have been on a year-long mission to end all the silly curse talk that has gone on for far too long. After giving up a demoralizing 19 runs in Game 3 of the ALCS, they had their back against the wall and fought back for four straight victories against their repeated nemesis, the New York Yankees. Last year, all the talk was to “Cowboy Up.” This year they kept quiet and Cowboyed Up with their play when times were most desperate.

The best hitter in the Red Sox lineup, Manny Ramirez, was given plenty of support by David Ortiz who was the better hitter in the ALCS with three homeruns and 11 rbi. Led by the Latin version of Frisch’s Big Boy, Ortiz and the other boys continued to come through in the clutch by winning twice in extra-innings.

All this was after the Red Sox smothered the Anaheim Angles for 25 runs in a three-game sweep. The Angels were the hottest team in the American League when the playoffs began. By the time Boston was done with them they looked like they didn’t belong.

Boston continued to score nearly 6 runs a game against the Yankees and will continue to score runs in the World Series. Especially against the Cardinals pitching staff with no stopper in the rotation. St. Louis’ starting rotation is full of mediocrity with no ace. The other Cardinal starter with true ace abilities is Matt Morris who has had by far the worst year of his career.

The criticism of the Red Sox lineup had been the top of the order. Then Johnny Damon broke lose in Game 7 with two homeruns and six runs batted in. With the top of the order going, Ramirez will actually have runners on base and won’t have to continue to try to start two-out rallies with no one on base. Sure, the Cardinals lineup should provide a few rallies, but with Ramirez followed up by Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon, the Red Sox will score plenty of runs of their own.

For St. Louis to be successful, they need the table setters in their lineup to be productive so that guys like Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen have anybody to hit in. But with Tony Womack’s back spasms, the Cardinals will find it more difficult to get runners on base before the heart of their order arrives.

The biggest need of the Red Sox will be a healthy Curt Schilling. After finding the proper treatment for his ankle, he proved in ALCS Game 6 that he will be fine until off-season surgery. He won’t be needed until Game 2 of the World Series, when he will be fully rested. And Pedro Martinez won’t be needed until Game 3 when also fully rested.

Tim Wakefield will be the Game 1 starter and if there’s any way to cause troubles for the hot bats of the Cardinals, it’s to face the knuckleball. Knucklers have often sent good hitters into a spiral for weeks. And having to face Schilling and Martinez after getting their swings messed up by Wakefield won’t be pretty. And then the Game 4 starter is Derek Lowe who was the stud on the mound for 6 innings of ALCS Game 7 allowing only one hit on three days of rest.

Each starter will have full rest and therefore may not need the bullpen much before going to Alan Embree and Mike Timlin who set up for Keith Foulke.

After the Game 3 debacle against New York, the Red Sox pitching staff beared down and showed off their stuff by allowing only 13 runs in the final 44 innings (just 2.66 runs per 9 innings) to the powerful Yankee lineup consisting of A-Rod, Gary Sheffield, Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada. After getting past that lineup, should Boston really be any more fearful of St. Louis?

The Cardinals are 6-0 at home in the playoffs. But they’ve won only one of five road games, which is a problem for them because the Red Sox get the extra home game where they are 3-1. Boston has proven themselves better on the road than the Cardinals with a 4-2 record. It all adds up to a Red Sox championship. After all, they’re due.

If there’s any team that has overcome adversity and stuck together, it is this Boston team. The Red Sox will continue to cruise on its way to a World Series championship for the first time in 86 long years.

Finally, no more having to hear about some supposed, silly curse.