Momentum is a strong force during a World Series and after the Boston Red Sox’s 8-1 drubbing of the St. Louis Cardinals in game one of the event, expect more Red Sox success in game two on Thursday night.
While both teams threw an ace pitcher in the series opener (Jon Lester for Boston and Adam Wainwright for the Cardinals), this game was decided by one club’s offense and defence – Boston – that came ready to play, and the other squad’s – St. Louis – looking wholly sloppy. The Cardinals made errors and had too many weak at bats against Lester. The Red Sox capitalized on those blunders and produced far more fine hitting appearances.
The game was reminiscent of the Red Sox’s last post-season experience. In 2007, with currently stars Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Jon Lester all on the team, Boston won game one of the World Series against the Colorado Rockies 13-1. From there, the club cruised to a four-game sweep to earn the championship.
While it may not happen so cleanly again, Boston just looks a lot like that dominating team. Further working in their favor is an injury to the Cardinals’ most reliable post-season performer, Carlos Beltran. Beltran hurt his ribs robbing a home run from David Ortiz. He’s listed as day-to-day, which means he might appear in this game. But, even if he does, he will unlikely be a 100 percent.
As for starting pitching, the Cardinals do send a budding star to the pitcher’s mound. Michael Wacha dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates in his one National League Division Series start and the Los Angeles Dodgers in his two National League Championship appearances. In fact, he was the most valuable player in the NLCS.
Still, a lot of his success came from a free swinging Dodgers lineup that offered poor attempts at Wacha’s pitches purposely thrown on the edge of (our outside of) the strike zone. The Red Sox hitters are more discipline and I believe will show more restraint, putting Wacha in a position to register his first less-than-stellar post-season effort.
The Red Sox counter with John Lackey. The veteran right-hander is coming off a sparkling start versus a very strong Detroit Tigers lineup in game three of the American League Championship Series. Lackey threw 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, yielding just four hits and no walks while striking out eight.
Against a scuffling Cardinals lineup that batter just .211 in the NLCS (and had just one batter register more than one hit in game one of this series), he’s well-positioned for another successful outing.
Best bet: Take the Red Sox, on at 1.80, to win.