Game six of the 2013 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals returns to Fenway Park Wednesday with the Red Sox up 3-2 in the best of seven series and poised to claim the championship.
Home field advantage will play heavily in this contest as I expect the Red Sox to clinch the title here, marking the first time they’ve done so at home since 1918. Quite simply, Boston has momentum (they’ve won two straight games) and they have been so strong at Fenway Park.
During the regular season, the club went 53-28 at home, which comes to a .654 winning percentage. That’s nearly two wins for every one home loss. With the two teams having split in their first two games at Fenway in this series, seeing the Red Sox make it two-out-of-three would be in line with how they’ve succeeded at home all year.
Admittedly, the Cardinals are throwing their most reliable pitcher in this post-season. Michael Wacha is 4-0 in the playoffs with a minuscule 1.00 ERA in 27 innings. That said, this is Boston’s second time seeing him in the series and, unlike the Los Angeles Dodgers who looked terrible against the rookie in two appearances in the National League Division Series, the Red Sox have a group of more discipline hitters.
Even looking at Wacha’s game two performance in the World Series may give some pause. It was his worst of the playoffs as he allowed two runs in six innings of work. Despite toting a .205 batting average as a team, the Red Sox have shown a tremendous knack for getting key hits throughout the series.
In contrast, the Cardinals hitters, who own an only slightly better .218 batting average, have consistently left runners on base and have revealed a complete inability to cash in base runners. It could shift here, but Red Sox pitcher John Lackey comes to this game with a World Series-clinching pedigree.
In a deciding game seven of the 2002 World Series, Lackey threw a gutty five innings of one-run baseball to lead the Anaheim Angels to a championship. While many years ago, that experience should prepare him mentally for this clash.
Best bet: Look for Boston to take the trophy at 1.80.