BOSTON – Two of baseball's most historic franchises will meet in the 2013 World Series, which gets underway at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.
The Red Sox and the Cardinals each had the best record in their respective leagues (both 97-65,) marking the first time since 1999 (Yankees-Braves) that the regular season's two best clubs are squaring off for a world championship.
GAME ONE PREVIEW:
Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (Regular season: 19-9, 2.94, 1.068 WHIP; Playoffs: 3GS: 2-1, 1.57, 0.783 WHIP in 23IP)
Only six Red Sox have ever faced Wainwright in a big league game, one of them is Ryan Dempster (4 AB,) another is Mike Carp (3 AB.)
Here's the key information on the four who've seen Wainwright most:
Shane Victorino: 5-22, .227/.261/.409, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K.
Stephen Drew: 2-19, .105/.190/.158, 1 2B, 2 BB, 5 K.
David Ross: 2-11, .182/.250/.545, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K.
Jonny Gomes: 2-10, .200/.273/.600, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K.
The Cardinals will get first baseman Allen Craig (.315/.373/.457, 13 HR, 97 RBI, 29 2B) back from a sprained ankle suffered on September 4. Craig is expected to be the designated hitter in Games One and Two, with the Cardinals holding the option to keep him off the field under American League rules.
Adrian Chambers was taken off St. Louis' playoff roster to make room for Craig.
Red Sox LHP Jon Lester (Regular season: 15-8, 3.75, 1.294 WHIP; Playoffs: 2-1, 2.33, 1.189 WHIP in 19.1IP)
Only three Cardinals have ever faced Lester, none has more than six at-bats and none has an extra base hit.
The Red Sox enter the World Series healthy amongst position players.
Xander Bogaerts (ALCS: 3-6, 3 2B, 3 BB) and Jonny Gomes (2013 Playoffs: 5-25, 2 2B, 2 RBI) are expected to be in the starting lineup, at third base and in left field, respectively.
Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava (Regular Season: .303/.385/.445, 12 HR, 29 2B) will be relegated to bench roles.
GAME ONE PREDICTION:
I believe the Red Sox will win the World Series and I believe they will get off on the right foot on Wednesday night.
Boston wins Game One, 4-3.