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World Series Game 5 preview: It’s Ace vs. Ace once again

Oct 28, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT

What: Game 5 of the World Series
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
When: 8:07 EDT, Fox

What to expect? Your guess is as good as ours. But let’s try to pretend this game, which will decide who goes up 3-2 as the Series shifts back to Boston on Wedneday, is going to be conventional. Let’s talk about the matchups.

The 2013 postseason has been defined by aces. Clayton Kershaw. Zack Greinke. Max Scherzer. Justin Verlander. And now the two biggest aces left standing — Adam Wainwright and Jon Lester — meet once again.

Of course in Game 1 Wainwright looked like anything but an ace, giving up fice runs on six hits in five innings, putting his Cardinals in a hole out of which it was impossible to climb. He said during his pre-Game 4 press conference that that outing was a matter of poor mechanics, but one wonders if that’s the case. By now he’s been pitching for more than eight months straight and, between the regular season and the postseason, has 269.2 innings on his odometer, which is far more than he’s ever pitched. Will his work with film and practicing his pitching motion in a mirror these past four days cure whatever ailed him last Wednesday, or is Wainwright simply out of gas?  We should know in the early innings tonight.

Boston’s ace stands on far firmer footing. Lester looked dominant in Game 1, shutting out the Cardinals in seven and two-thirds innings. And maybe getting into their head a little bit courtesy of some mysterious goo that appeared on his glove. Or maybe that just got into the media’s heads with all of that, as the Cardinals didn’t complain. They did look lost against him, however. Possibly because they hadn’t seen him before. Perhaps their luck will change the second time around. Perhaps home cooking will help too. While it’s not easy to get to Lester anywhere, he is a bit more vulnerable on the road than he is at Fenway Park, where he sports a 3.09 ERA. In hostile stadiums he’s at 4.21.

Frankly, there is pressure on both offenses. Offenses which, in the regular season, were near the top of their respective leagues in most categories, but which have been mostly quiet during the World Series.

The Red Sox got power from an unexpected source in Jonny Gomes in Game 4 and David Ortiz has been an absolute beast thus far, going 8 for 11 with two homers, four walks and five RBI in the Fall Classic. But beyond that, it’s been an anemic offensive effort for Boston, with only Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Daniel Nava even cracking .200. For the Cardinals it’s been much the same: they sport a .235/.300/.309 line overall. Whoever can bust out will be the first team to truly do so and it could change the complexion of this Series.

But why are we even anticipating games decided on conventional grounds like hitting and pitching? With a Game 3 decided by one of the most unusual plays in World Series history and Game 4 ending in one of the more ignominious ways a World Series can end, perhaps we should expect the unexpected.

  1. drelms - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    If you want to avoid FOX Sports, horrible, and McCarver/Buck combination dreadful just use your laptop and view world series for free. If you want, you can link to TV wirelessly if TV is new enough, or use an hdmi cable for HD viewing.

    If you had done that you would have been able to watch last nights pick-off move live instead of watching it only on replays, because FOX had something better to put their cameras on apparently, at least that’s what I have read, I was streaming saw it live.

  2. cabrera24 - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Woah that’s a first ^^ joe buck is the best in the game buddy . Sorry but no one is watching the World Series on a laptop .

    • asimonetti88 - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      “joe buck is the best in the game buddy”

      Is this real life?

      • rollinghighwayblues - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        Obvious sign of the apocalypse.

        I haven’t felt this bizarre since I witnessed Nick Punto hit a home run 440 feet last June.

      • rollinghighwayblues - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        Think I’m lying?

        http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=21958653&c_id=mlb

        Disclaimer: your head/computer may explode after viewing the link.

      • moogro - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        rolling: you COULD be lying.

  3. cur68 - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    What we can expect?
    -Ortiz will hit like an Olde Testament God.
    -Uhera will pitch ditto.
    -Jonny Gomes will scrub his head with his helmet like he’s trying to shift fungus by sheer abrasion. Then Gomes will do Something. Dog knows what. But it’ll be Something. Then give about a bazillion interviews.
    -Someone will throw a breaking ball out over the plate to Matt Carpenter and he will get on base.
    -Carlos Beltran will get to time breaking pitches by the dozen and will likely kill one of them.
    -Someone will throw Dustin Pedroia a high fastball and he will kill it.
    -Yadier Molina, known as “The Angry Molina” (seriously, does he ever smile?), will probably throw out someone, get a hit, and scowl a lot.
    -All Red Sox Pitchers will be squeaky clean and blameless of shiny goo.
    -All Cardinal bullpen pitchers will throw baseballs that leave vapour trails and the sizzle of Molina’s glove will create a gently smoke haze through which his scowl will be JUST discernible.
    -Umpires will have the sort of strike zones best described as “random”.
    -Baseball rules will be enforced, start to finish (except the ones around effin’ neighbourhood play and they SHOULD be enforced, but what are we gonna do about it now, eh?).
    -Narratives will be formed.
    -McBuck will irritate the shit out of us all.

    I think that’s about all we can count on. The rest will be sheer randomness and crazymaking.

    • stex52 - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Yadi doesn’t scowl. It’s just that he smiles like a saber-toothed tiger. Ignore it at your peril.

      My wife, bless her lukewarm-about-baseball heart, was passing through the room when McCarver was trying to expound on something last night. In her innocence, she asked, “Is that man making a coherent sentence?” The answer, of course, was “NO!”.

      • cur68 - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Your wife is an erudite and discerning lady. The day McCarver makes some effin sense will be the first time in a long time.

      • moogro - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        Same situation here. “What is that guy babbling about? Does that make sense to you?”

      • gerryb323 - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        I think my wife’s exact words were “Did he just speak English?”

        Tim McCarver, making wives sound reasonable since 1941.

  4. Carl Hancock - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    If Wainwright wins tonight and Wacha shuts the door in Boston, Wacha would win the MVP. He’d then have won it in both the NLCS and World Series. That hasn’t been done since… 2011 when the Cardinals won the World Series and Freese one both. What happened to you Freese? Where has all the magic gone? Oddly enough it’s been done 6 times in history by NL players but an AL player has never won the ALCS MVP and the World Series MVP. Has there ever been someone with Wacha’s limited experience pull it off? The only one close I can think of is Livan Hernandez n 1997 but even he had more experience than Wacha. Wacha was playing college ball last year. Here’s what I expect. A poorly played game and a crazy finish. That about sums up this series. Crazy but poorly played by both teams.

  5. tonyz6060chevy - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Joe “The Irritating Shit” Buck,is the 2nd coming of Howard Cossell !

  6. gameover78 - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Wainwright is overrated, he’ll get rocked again tonight.

    • spudchukar - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      Something tells me you are going to wish you hadn’t been so over confident in your analysis.

  7. stlouis1baseball - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Great post Cur. With the exception of point #7. Dude is always smiling. He smiled at Victorino a few times in games #2 and #3. And he smiles at Ortiz (and Ortiz likewise) approximately 157 times a game. I think they may be sweet on each other.

    • stex52 - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Note my comment above, SLB. He smiles a lot. It’s just a dangerous smile.

  8. moogro - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Nobody works with film anymore.

  9. Griffinatemylunch - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Great series so far and now it is a best of three…as a Red Sox fan if it goes seven who is going to pich? I know it’s a big if but are you really thinking Peavy is going to win or even pitch well?

    • lankyhogan - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      If Lester wins tonight, pitch Peavy in Game 6. If he can’t get the job done and it goes to 7, you have Lackey.

      • Griffinatemylunch - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        Hadn’t thought of that…Peavy only threw 65 pitches so going on three days rest could work

      • spudchukar - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        How do you think it will go if Lester loses tonight? My guess is Doubront get the nod, but Lackey could probably go, even though he tossed the inning last night.

      • adowding3 - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        No way. You arent putting yourself up against a wall in a game 7 when absolutely anything can happen by leaving a great arm waiting in the wings. Lackey in 6 against Wacha, then all hands on deck for game 7 (if necessary) with Doubie on the bump to start. This takes advantage of STL difficulties against lefties, and Doubront has proven he isn’t afraid of the big moment.

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