With the World Series tied at two games apiece, the St. Louis Cardinals will capture game five at home on Monday against the Boston Red Sox.
The key rule difference between the two leagues is the use of the designated hitter in the American League (the National League, of course, lets its pitchers hit). As an extension of this dissimilarity, the World Series plays by two rules – in the AL ballpark, there is a DH; in the NL stadium, the pitcher hits.
In recent World Series history, the NL teams have been at a far greater advantage when playing at home than the AL representative. Since 2008, NL teams have boasted a 12-3 record during the World Series at their ballpark (compared to a 7-8 record for AL teams were at home). The takeaway is that AL teams are more disadvantaged by losing their regular DH when playing on the road in the World Series. As a result, while the Cardinals are 1-1 at home in this series, history suggests they are better positioned to capture a second win at Busch Stadium.
Of course, there’s more to it than that.
Cardinals’ starter Adam Wainwright struggled in the first two innings of game one against the Red Sox (he wasn’t helped by sloppy defence). But after that he settled down nicely and carved up the Boston lineup. Wainwright is a veteran and I suspect he will have learned from both his success (and failure) in that contest.
Boston’s choice to pitch, Jon Lester, was fantastic in that game one Red Sox win. He pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering five hits and one walk, while striking out eight. Still, what was most remembered about his appearance were photos that game out after the game which indicated that Lester used a strange substance on his glove.
He claimed it was rosin to keep his hands dry – though other experts suggest is was a stickier substance to allow him to grip the ball better. Either way, it was material that helped and you can expect it will be something the Cardinals check to make sure isn’t used in this game. Don’t expect Lester to fall to pieces, but in this tightly contested series any lost advantage can be difference making.
Pick the Cardinals to win at 1.78.
Back the St Louis Cardinals to beat the Boston Red Sox at 1.78
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