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Hadley: World Series is in the Cards (Oct.7)

Greg Hadley | Sunday, October 6, 2013

Be prepared. They are coming. They will be around for weeks, possibly months. They will be relentless, loud, and probably very smug. They won’t stop talking about it, no matter how much it annoys you. They just can’t help themselves.
Boston fans are never shy about letting the world know how much they love their Sox, and after the regular season, they deserve to brag a little. When nearly everyone and their grandma picks you to finish dead last in the AL East, and you win 97 games, good for tops in the AL, there’s a certain measure of poetic justice. And the Red Sox haven’t missed a beat in the postseason. They’re on the verge of sweeping the Rays, having taken a 2-0 series lead while pouring it on with lopsided 12-2 and 7-4 wins.
But as good a year as it has been for Boston, I do not see them triumphing in the World Series. They will capture the AL pennant, and Sox fans should be plenty happy with that. They had a great season and are primed to be back as a perennial postseason threat in years to come, with an exciting group of talent.
With all due respect to the Rays, Tigers and Athletics, the Red Sox are the class of the American League. The Rays have the best manager in the league with Joe Maddon, but they’re already on the brink of elimination and don’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Red Sox.
The Tigers certainly have some of the game’s brightest stars in Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, but Verlander and Scherzer can’t pitch every game, and reliever Al Alburquerque and starter Doug Fister aren’t exactly top-notch replacements.
Billy Beane’s Athletics are a surprising bunch of overachievers, as always, but Beane hasn’t changed his approach over the years and they haven’t won a World Series yet, so I don’t feel bad picking against a team that has 40-year-old Barolo Colon as its ace.
The Red Sox have the talent and the momentum to carry them to a pennant, but the NL has the stronger group of teams in the postseason, and whichever team can survive that cage match will be well prepared to take on the streaking Sox.
As for the NL, as much as I want to see the feel-good story of the Pirates have the perfect ending, I don’t see things ending well for them. The Bucs will push the Cardinals to the limit, but the Game Five matchup between the Cards’ Adam Wainwright and Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett doesn’t bode well for the Buccos. Besides, in a toss-up like this, go with the team that’s been there and done it before.
Atlanta and Los Angeles are locked in another riveting series that will probably go all the way to five games. While the Braves are certainly an impressive squad that dominated the NL East all year long, they’re throwing pitchers like Freddy Garcia and Julio Teheran against an offense that features Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez and superhuman Yasiel Puig. Without B.J. Upton’s bat, the Braves can’t compare.
So for the NL pennant, it will come down to the Dodgers and the Cardinals. On paper, the Dodgers have the offense you want and the pitchers you need to succeed. But the Cardinals have spent all year squaring off against the Reds and the Pirates and still emerged with the league’s best record. I believe they have the experience and all the tools they need to squeak by.
The last time the Cardinals and the Red Sox faced each other in the World Series, Boston swept St. Louis to break the Curse of the Bambino. The Curse is ancient history now, and the Cardinals have gone on to win two World Series, most recently in 2011. Boston has had a good year but the Cardinals have proved over the past decade that they are among the premier franchises in the country. Throughout the season, St. Louis won the most games in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. They have the tools and the experience. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals for the 2013 World Champions.

Contact Greg Hadley at [email protected]