Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals
For the second night in a row, look for an abundance of run scoring between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals – this time in game four of the World Series on Sunday.
One surprising trend that has developed this year in baseball’s championship event has been sloppy defence that has led to runs. There has been at least one unearned run in each of the first three games and a total of nine errors in that span. There’s no reason to believe that trend shouldn’t continue and, if it does, that will help artificially increase the total scoring in the match.
Beyond the defense, there are also reasons to be concerned about both teams' pitching. Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz has reportedly been carrying an injury. If it’s true, this will surely limit his effectiveness. But, either way, his recent performance does not foretell success. In the American League Championship Series he pitched 10 2/3 innings, giving up 12 hits and seven runs. His 5.91 ERA was far from stellar.
His pitching opponent Lance Lynn pitched well in the National League Championship Series (2-0 with a 2.45 ERA), but he has been erratic in the post-season as evidenced by his 4 1/3 inning drubbing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Division Series. In that start, he gave up seven hits and five runs.
Equally as troubling is just how taxed both teams’ bullpens have been. A cumulative total of ten relief pitchers were called on by the two clubs in game three. Each team used five pitchers and each club required the use of their closer and top set-up reliever. There is a high possibility they will be somewhat fatigued if called upon (and considering the starters, it’s likely they will be called upon).
Tired pitchers typically do one of two things – either leave the ball in the middle of the strike zone too much and get hit hard or lose control all together and yield walks. Under both circumstances, the hitters will have the advantage.
Best Bet: Expect the run total to exceed 8.5 and take it at 2.20.