Why St. Louis Will Win the World Series.

10/23/2004

by Phil Zuccarell

The St. Louis Cardinals take on the Boston Red Sox in only the second World Series since 1998, not to include the Yankees.  Boston over came a 0-3 deficit against their bitter rivals hoping to break the “Curse” against the Cardinals.  When you compare Boston and St. Louis, there are many obvious reasons why the Red Sox will fall to the Cardinals and the “Curse” will live on yet another year.

Maybe the biggest reason St. Louis will win is it has a better bullpen.  Isringhausen is a respectable closer and setup men King, Kline and Tavarez will be able to hold leads and keep their club in the game.  Where outside of Foulke, Boston’s pen is shaky at best. 

If the pen is the biggest reason the Cardinals will win, then the defense is a close second.  The Cardinals’ defense can boast a current or former gold glove winner in right, center, third, short, and catcher.   Combine that with the fact that St. Louis has committed only one error this post season and you get a Boston team that will get no extra chances a probably have a number of sure hits taken away.

The St. Louis offense also grades out better than the Boston offense.  Sure Boston has Manny, the best hitter in the AL, and Ortiz, Mr. Clutch this postseason, but they have little else producing for them.  The Cardinals on the other hand have Pujols, the best hitter in the Majors not named Bonds.  They also have MVP caliber players in Rolen, Edmonds, and Walker hitting behind the table setter Womack. 

It might be said that Boston has the better starters because St. Louis has no ace and Boston has Schilling and Martinez.  But Schilling is hurt and Martinez is not the pitcher he once was.  St. Louis meanwhile has a solid starter to run out there every day giving them a chance to win. 

It might also be said that Boston’s home field advantage will be magnified by the lack of success that St. Louis has had on the road in the playoffs.  True, losing three on the road to the Astros could be an ominous sign.  But, with so few games played, the most accurate forecast is obtained by looking at the regular season home and road splits.  St. Louis was exceptional on the road during the regular season, leading the majors with a 52-29 road record.

St. Louis had the best record in the Majors for a reason.  They boast terrific offensive talent, superior defensive players, solid pitching, and great character.  Boston, a wild card team, has many holes and is worn down by having fight all season just to make the playoffs and then beat the Yankees.  Throw in the “Curse” and it is just too much for Boston to handle, leading to the inevitable: a series loss to the Cardinals.  Don’t bet against the “Curse”.