The 2013 World Series kicks off Wednesday night between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox. What do SiriusXM MLB Network Radio‘s analysts think about the series? Here are some of their keys to the Fall Classic.
Todd Hollandsworth, a former World Series champion and the co-host of First Pitch, knows a thing or two about what it takes to win late in October. Hollandsworth points to home-field advantage in this series as the deciding factor. As the American League won the 2013 All Star Game, the Red Sox have that advantage.
“There’s really nothing that should tip the scales in one direction or the other as far as an advantage to the Red Sox going up across the Cardinals,” Hollandsworth said. “You can talk about power arms, experience in the bullpen … but it’s a very fine line. The biggest thing that stands out is Game 6 is going to be in Boston, so is Game 7. We factor that in with the dramatic moments at Fenway Park.”
Dramatic moments like Shane Victorino’s Game 6 ALCS grand slam?
MLB Roundtrip’s Mike Stanton owns a career 2.14 postseason ERA, primarily compiled as Mariano Rivera’s set-up man for three World Series championships. Stanton says the key player this series will be the Cardinals’ Allen Craig. Craig has been out since Sept. 4 with a left mid-foot sprain but he announced earlier this week he plans on returning to his cleanup spot for Game 1 of the World Series. Stanton is still concerned about the possible level of production.
The biggest thing with Allen Craig is what is he going to be able to do after all this time off. Is he going to be able to have the timing? That’s what it’s all about…it’s not about the physical swing, it’s about the timing of the pitch, getting your foot down so you can accelerate the bat head. You can’t duplicate game speeds. I’m not going to put it past him, but it’s still a pretty big mountain to climb for him to just come back after all this time in the World Series and be a productive player.
Former manager Kevin Kennedy has experience managing in the playoffs with the 1995 Red Sox. As a former catcher, he focused on the rotations for each team. Michael Wacha emerged as the Cardinals’ strongest pitcher in the NLCS, winning the series’ MVP award. Kennedy says his off-speed pitches will need to overpower Red Sox hitters in order for him to maintain success.
This kid is 6’6, over the top …nhe can hit 97 (mph). It’s the depth of his change-up, it’s a hard change-up. You’re going to see fastball-change-up first time around (the lineup order), and that’s a devastating pitch for him, because the bottom falls out. But the Red Sox are a good team as far as working a good count and seeing those pitches. (Tigers’ pitcher Max) Scherzer had success with his off-speed stuff — there was some chase there — and Wacha’s going to look to do the same.
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