BOSTON – It was just one game but it was an ugly one for the St. Louis Cardinals, who will be looking to bounce back from last night's 8-1 defeat to the Red Sox in the World Series opener.
A lot will be asked of Cardinals' rookie starter Michael Wacha, especially with the apparent reemergence of David Ortiz as a potent offensive threat for the Red Sox.
Here's a closer look at tonight's game.
GAME TWO PREVIEW:
Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha (Regular season: 4-1, 2.78, 1.098 WHIP in 64.2IP; Playoffs: 3GS: 3-0, 0.43, 0.571 WHIP in 21IP)
Wacha has never faced the Red Sox or any of Boston's hitters.
The Cardinals will make a decision on Carlos Beltran's availability after he takes part in warm up drills and baseball activities this afternoon.
Beltran badly bruised the right side of his rib cage crashing into the right field wall while he robbed David Ortiz of a second inning grand slam. Beltran finished the inning in the field but did not return in the third.
If Beltran can't play, the Cardinals' offence takes an obvious hit. Even if Beltran is in the lineup, he won't be 100 per cent, which will render St. Louis with two hitters in the heart of its order playing under less than ideal conditions.
Allen Craig, St. Louis' first baseman/designated hitter, went 1-for-4 in Game 1, his first action since spraining his foot on September 4 in Cincinnati. We'll see how Craig performs throughout the series but it's asking a lot of a player to immediately find his timing and be productive batting in the clean up spot.
Red Sox RHP John Lackey (Regular season: 10-13, 3.52, 1.157 WHIP in 189.1IP; Playoffs: 2GS, 2-0, 3.00, 1.167 WHIP in 12IP)
Only two Cardinals have ever faced Lackey (Carlos Beltran, Matt Holiday) and neither have a hit in 16 combined at-bats.
David Ortiz, held to just two hits in the ALCS (granted one, his Game 2 grand slam, was very important) had as many hits in the World Series opener. He could have had one more but he was robbed of a second inning grand slam by Carlos Beltran.
Ortiz singled in the fifth and then hit a two-run home run in the seventh.
Boston's 3-4-5 hitters (Dustin Pedroia-Ortiz-Mike Napoli) went 5-for-12 in the game with five RBI and four runs scored.
If Ortiz is indeed heating up, the Red Sox are in good shape to win this series.
GAME TWO PREDICTION
The Cardinals play much better, this is if they stop kicking around the baseball, but the Red Sox get to Michael Wacha and prevail, 5-3, to take a 2-0 series lead to the Midwest.