In a matchup between what some are calling the MLB’s two best teams, the Boston Red Sox will face the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 MLB World Series starting Wednesday night. This will be the fourth World Series meeting between the two teams, with the Red Sox having won in four games in 2004 and the Cardinals taking a pair of seven-game series in 1946 and 1967.
Both teams finished with identical 97-65 records, the best in their respective leagues. By virtue of the AL’s 3-0 win in the All-Star game, Boston has home field advantage in the best-of-seven series.
The two teams are among baseball’s most honored and historic, with the Cardinals owning 19 pennants -- second only to the New York Yankees -- and the Red Sox owning 12. The World Series winner will become just the third team to capture three titles in a 10-year span, with the Red Sox winning championships in 2004 and 2007 and the Redbirds getting it done in 2006 and 2011.
Each team’s manager has lengthy ties to their franchise, with Red Sox rookie manager John Farrell serving as Boston’s pitching coach from 2007-2010 and Cardinals second-year manager Mike Matheny having played catcher on St. Louis’ 2004 World Series team that lost to the Red Sox.
Both teams are also notable for having advanced to the Fall Classic despite losing key players. For the Cardinals, that would be future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, who left the team for the Los Angeles Angels after St. Louis' 2011 championship season. Boston’s turnaround is even more remarkable considering they finished last in the AL East last season with a 69-93 record and unloaded virtually all of their high-priced players to the Los Angeles Dodgers near the season’s end.
With a starting rotation of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn, the Cardinals should have an advantage in the pitching matchups. But Boston’s bats have been huge when they counted, having already defeated the best starting rotation in baseball with their ALCS victory over the Detroit Tigers. St. Louis hitters must have similar confidence after getting past ace Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the NLCS.
The Red Sox and the Cardinals are as evenly matched as any two teams in recent World Series history. Baseball fans should expect a taut, highly competitive Fall Classic that could easily go the full seven games.