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Looking ahead to the World Series

Oct 20, 2013, 12:40 AM EDT

NLCS - Los Angeles Dodgers v St Louis Cardinals Getty Images

The Cardinals and Red Sox will open up the 2013 World Series in Boston on Wednesday night, a rematch of the 2004 World Series ultimately taken by the Sox in four games. The two teams are, both by their regular season records and various statistical measures, the best teams from their respective leagues.

Let’s go through each aspect of the two teams and see how they match up:

Offense

  • Average: BOS ranked 2nd in AL at .277; STL ranked 2nd in NL at .269
  • On-base percentage: BOS ranked 1st in AL at .349; STL ranked 1st in NL at .332
  • Power: BOS ranked 2nd in AL with a .169 isolated power (ISO, which is slugging percentage minus batting average); STL ranked 12th in NL at .133.
  • Speed: BOS ranked 3rd in AL with 123 stolen bases; STL ranked 15th with 45 stolen bases

Hitting platoon splits

  • LH hitters vs. LH pitchers: BOS hitters posted a .641 OPS during the regular season; STL hitters posted a .682 OPS
  • LH hitters vs. RH pitchers: BOS hitters posted an .805 OPS during the regular season; STL hitters posted a .667 OPS
  • RH hitters vs. RH pitchers: BOS hitters posted a .730 OPS during the regular season; STL hitters posted a .723 OPS
  • RH hitters vs. LH pitchers: BOS hitters posted an .833 OPS during the regular season; STL hitters posted a .793 OPS

Defense

  • FanGraphs, utilizing Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), rated the Red Sox as the 5th-best defensive team in the AL at +21.6 runs; the Cardinals ranked 14th at -49.4

Pitching

  • Rotation ERA: BOS ranked 4th in the AL with a 3.84 ERA from the starting rotation; STL ranked 2nd in the NL at 3.42.
  • Rotation K/BB: BOS ranked 4th in the AL with a 20% strikeout rate and tied for 13th with an 8.5% walk rate; STL ranked 7th with a 17.6% strikeout rate and tied for 8th with a 7.4% walk rate
  • Bullpen ERA: BOS ranked 10th in the AL with a 3.70 ERA from the bullpen; STL ranked 8th at 3.45
  • Bullpen K/BB: BOS ranked 6th in the AL with a 23% strikeout rate and 7th with an 8.7% walk rate; STL ranked tied for 4th with a 22.4% strikeout rate and 1st with a 7.4% walk rate

Pitching platoon splits

  • LH pitchers vs. LH hitters: BOS pitchers allowed a .663 OPS during the regular season; STL pitchers allowed a .588 OPS
  • LH pitchers vs. RH hitters: BOS pitchers allowed a .721 OPS during the regular season; STL pitchers allowed a .677 OPS
  • RH pitchers vs. RH hitters: BOS pitchers allowed a .748 OPS during the regular season; STL pitchers allowed a .665 OPS
  • RH pitchers vs. LH hitters: BOS pitchers allowed a .683 OPS during the regular season; STL pitchers allowed a .712 OPS

Neither team has announced their official rotation for the World Series yet, but the Cardinals — with an extra day of rest — will likely open up with Adam Wainwright in Game 1. Given how Michael Wacha has performed, it wouldn’t be shocking if he got the nod in Game 2, followed by Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn. Shelby Miller is also an option, but he hasn’t started a game since the end of the regular season. The Cardinals have instead utilized him as a reliever.

For the Red Sox, they will likely go with Jon Lester in Game 1, followed by John Lackey, then Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy.

  1. perryt200 - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    All those stats and no comment about RISP, of course.

    • Bill Baer - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:51 AM

      Bad stat, don’t follow

      • perryt200 - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:58 AM

        Which is fine, but you follow speed then leave out Molina.

      • jya87 - Oct 20, 2013 at 3:14 AM

        Red Sox fans, get ready to get acquainted with the Cardinals’ bullpen. They also have so many damned phenomenal young arms in there. Mowed down my Dodgers in the late innings.

        Think one of the Dodger players remarked that he hadn’t seen such a consistent parade of quality, high-heat bullpen arms.

      • paperlions - Oct 20, 2013 at 7:29 AM

        Well, if we are going to ignore bad stats, I guess we should ignore most of the above since they are inferior at evaluating performance, predicting the future, and incorporating league and park effects to their alternatives. Funny that horrible (OPS) and horribly incomplete (AVG) stats are used for offense but the current best defensive metric (UZR) is used.

        Each team led their league in wRC+ (which is park and league adjusted), 116 for the RS and 113 for the Cardinals (after removing pitchers).

        The RS were 3rd in the AL in base running (11.3 BsR) while the Cardinals were 8th in the NL (0.0 BSR).

        The Cardinals were 2nd in the NL with a 3.45 FIP, while the RS were 7th in the AL with a 3.96 FIP.

        ….most of which is irrelevant in a short series between teams that will only use 4 starters, some of which were on the MLB team only a short time, and with bullpens that have many different arms in them than they did during much/most of the season.

        How close are these teams? Pretty close. The both won the most games in their leagues (97 each) and they both led their leagues in run differential (+197 and +187).

      • jc4455 - Oct 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        Bill, under Cardinal hitters, 667 and 793 are reversed. Cardinal hitters were consistently good against righties and bad against lefties (except Kershaw 4-0 on the season) WOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  2. cadillacjosh - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    Those are nice stats, but what team has more of The Will To Win?

    • peterjohnjoseph - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:25 AM

      Since I sucked at math growing up, intangible stats are the only kind I keep.

      I’d give Boston a solid 8 YOLO rating, with a St. Louis getting a modest 9.4. Bolstering that number is Carlos Beltran, who realizes that you not only live once, but may only get to a World Series once as well.

      When it comes down to the wire, and the team needs to a hero to save them with a runners in scoring position, two outs, in the bottom of the 9th goes, I think Boston edges out St. Louis with a 9.4% MWCSUACP (Mother With Child Stuck Under A Car Power) to their 7.8%. Boston and St. Louis each earn a respectable 9.5 on the IJACA (Inside Jokes and Clubhouse Awesome) scale, with the Sox’s beards and plethora of t-shirts with bad grammar printed on them matching up well with the Cards putting Wainwright into the Deep Freese, and then dancing it out while his teammates chip away with the Icepick.

      Going to be a great series no matter how you look at it.

    • tfbuckfutter - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:34 AM

      Boston leads in grittiness and beards and St Louis has the edge in playing the right way and fan attitude (although the latter stat is a bit skewed because even though St. Louis fans may be terrible, they still maintain a believably friendly smile and small-town likeability).

      I think it really comes down to who wins the grammar battles….it’s “Your in second” vs “Get a brain morans”.

      • bfunk1978 - Oct 20, 2013 at 9:01 AM

        Get a brain morans was pre-2004, even.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        Grammar police accept you’re, I mean your, tribute.

    • cktai - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:33 AM

      Whichever team wins the World Series of course. In 7 to 12 days I will let you know exactly which team that is.

  3. nandeezy33 - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    All if this means nothing to me. We’ve noticed that most of the offense in the playoffs have been silenced by phenomenal pitching.

    And right now I see it coming down to pitching yet again. Both trams support a great staff filled with veterans and rookies.

    I fully expect this series to go 6 or 7 games without the care of LH vs RH platoons. UZR, SB%, BAwRISP. The post season is a new season. Play it that way.

  4. cabrera24 - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    None of those stats . I don’t give a s***. Tigers were among top run producing teams . Look what happen ? So yeah . I say Red Sox in 7. Ellsbury being your World Series MVP .

  5. Francisco (FC) - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    I like the Red Sox if only because Victorino raises their tWtGH rating astronomically.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:21 AM

      tWtGH = The Will To Get Hit.

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:35 AM

        Did you see the HBP that scored 4 runs?

        It was outstanding.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 20, 2013 at 11:35 PM

        Fantastic, it was Victorino’s bat that got hit by the pitch that time. And it complained. Loudly.

  6. thebestfaninbaseball - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    The most exciting thing about this match-up is that bloggers get two extra weeks to show off how prejudiced they are against Midwesterners. Is there a sabermetric for that?

    • cur68 - Oct 20, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      You do know that the three most prolific bloggers on this site are Craig, Aaron, & Bill and they are either living in the midwest or root for midwestern teams, right?

      • thebestfaninbaseball - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        Look at this, we got a blogger groupie here! Hey, what’s Aaron’s favorite breakfast food? What qualities does Bill find most attractive in a girl? Maybe one of them will hug you when you go see them signing autographs at the mall next week!

      • cur68 - Oct 20, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        Or, perhaps you are so far out to lunch a reasonable answer just drives you into a swivet. Poor thing. Take your lithium. Stay away from sharp objects. Lie down. Seriously; go lie down right now. Life’s too much for you.
        Good luck.

    • unclemosesgreen - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      You bring nothing to the table & add nothing to the conversation. Stupid & obnoxious doesn’t even begin to cover it. Crawl back under your rock.

      • thebestfaninbaseball - Oct 21, 2013 at 2:00 AM

        Does all that red on your tampons mean you two are pulling for the Cardinals or the Red Sox?

      • unclemosesgreen - Oct 21, 2013 at 9:10 AM

        You may be the single dumbest piece of shit on the inter web. You amuse no one & offend many. Congratulations on the bravery it takes to anonymously insult actual baseball fans without getting your head kicked in.

  7. pgjimmy - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    i said this in another post but i feel it needs reiterating…..farrell is a moron for bringing in morales with 2 on 0 out and prince and victor coming up..that was breslow all day…it worked out for him in the end because of shane….but if the sox lost you would be hearing from the talking heads that it was horrible decision..farrell makes some bad decisions every game but somehow he comes out unscathed….lets go sox

    • Glenn - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      After a full season of watching Farrell, I can say that he is a below-average game manager. Am I right, Blue Jay fans? I will say that he openly discusses his decisions and honestly explain them, which is refreshing and another reason to respect him as a manager. He seems to be a well-above average manager in all other aspects of the job.

      • jcmeyer10 - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:44 PM

        I too was impressed by his candidness, even on local sports radio.

  8. roznbob - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    I second that. When I heard Morales was coming into the game, I said, what are youi thinking? Is Breslow hurt or something? I don’t understand why Morales is still on the team. He sucks.

    • jcmeyer10 - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      I literally took a couple shots of tequila.

  9. nandeezy33 - Oct 20, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    Agreed. ^^^^^
    It was clear that Boston couldn’t handle the power arms of Detroit. Then when the finesse bullpen came in, they blasted off.

    Unless adjustments are made immediately, then I can’t see Boston taking an easy series against the Cards. Even Kelly and Lynn both have power pitches, but lack control.

  10. jhaegs - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:36 AM

    Those stats were confusing. I like peterjohnpaul’s stats better. You forgot each team’s BFIB % though…

  11. deborahagriffin - Oct 20, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    as Lisa explained I am alarmed that some people can make $4548 in 4 weeks on the computer. get more ———————-www bay96 com

  12. keltictim - Oct 20, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    I line the star that’s says the Red Sox win with a mighty joe castig “can you believe it”.

  13. epmckenna - Oct 20, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Cardinals won’t be using Shelby Miller as a starter or in relief. They have unofficially shut him down due to innings pitch limit.

    • cohnjusack - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      Meh, I think it has less to do with an innings limit and more about his K rate tumbling in September, to nearly half of what is was the rest of the season.

      K-Rate April – August: 9.6 per 9
      September: 4.6 per 9.

      Something clearly ain’t quite right, and I think that’s the far greater reason than an arbitrarily set innings limit.

      • jcmeyer10 - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

        You know what’s not right? Using stats like “strikeouts” to evaluate a player when we have so many stats based on “grit” and “will to win” to better evaluate the dirt dogs.

  14. 8man - Oct 20, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    St. Louis: Best baseball town in America, home to Anheuser-Busch, friendly people and great steaks!

    Boston: Bastion of American liberty, all around fantastic sports town and a place where they know how pahty wicked hahd!

    That all being said, I’m sure a Detroit – LA tilt would have been equally as compelling.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      Chowdah vs. bbq ribs > Coney and a side of chili cheese fries vs. fruits and nuts.

  15. convincedofthehex - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    The women in St. Louis are far better looking, weigh less and are more likely to be interested in men.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      Couple of shots of whiskey, these Boston fillies start looking good!

    • jcmeyer10 - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      I don’t know man. Those ladies in the midwest have been known to add a notch on their Bible Belt recently.

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 21, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      Ladies and gentlemen: your average 2013 GOP voter.

  16. jjh1982 - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Thank God for football, hope the cardinals get swept to get the this lame world series over with

  17. jerseygirl57 - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Just got a whole week of my life back with this matchup. Be interesting to see what the TV numbers are.

  18. gmensox - Oct 20, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    This series will shape up just like the ALDS. St. Louis’ top two starters will garner all the PR, similar to Detroit’s top two starters. Detroit’s top starters accounted for zero wins, Boston’s starters kept the games within reach, the hitters worked the counts and exploited the Detroit bullpen, like they did throughout the season. Boston will be patient, work counts, foul pitches, increase pitch counts get to the bullpen and win close games. Seen it all year!

    • carguy1955 - Oct 20, 2013 at 11:47 PM

      I am a life long Cardinals fan and you Red Sox faithful have me convinced that the Cardinals do not stand a chance. We have not pitching, can’t hit, can’t field and certainly have a lousy bullpen. My only hope is we don’t embarrass ourselves against a POWERHOUSE team like yours. I am not sure how anyone managed to win a game again them, did then finish 162-0?

      • gmensox - Oct 21, 2013 at 12:14 AM

        Embarrass themselves like say……2004?

      • emykk - Oct 21, 2013 at 2:33 AM

        So far this postseason, the Cards have been predicted to lose to the Pirates, the Dodgers, and now the Red Sox. In all series we had no chance to beat them (despite having the best record, and in the hardest division) and yet, shockingly, we managed it. People like to hate on the Cards. I guess the old addage “don’t hate us ’cause you ain’t us” applies here. Go Cards! 12 in ’13!

  19. walterwhite1976 - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    The St. Louis bullpen hasn’t seen a lineup like this. The Sox will work the starters and Rake the relievers like the Autumn leaves. Red Sox in 6.

  20. fbrookman - Oct 21, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    Let the media BoSox love fest begin.

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