Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 7:00 AM
It’s shaping up as one of the most exciting World Series in a long, long time. The two best teams in baseball…the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League…and the Boston Red Sox of the American League (both 97 win teams this season) go to battle in a best-of-seven series that begins Wednesday Night.
Both teams have been able to stack their starting pitching rotations in preferred order because it’s been a few days since anyone’s had to play a game! Baseball powers put some air in the TV schedules to allow for possible rainouts. Both the Cards and Sox won their respective LCS in six games in what’s been a dry October. Both will be fresh and ready after what amounted to an All-Star Break before the Fall Classic.
With the pitching matchups set for the first four games…and arguably all seven unless somebody gets desperate, we can do game-by-game comparisons looking at how all the starting pitchers have done so far in the playoffs. Everybody’s been thrown into the pressure cooker at least twice. How have the guys you’ll be watching over the next week performed so far? Let’s look at postseason ONLY stats.
WEDNESDAY’S GAME ONE (in Boston)
Wainwright: 1.57 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 20 K’s, 23 innings in 3 starts
Lester: 2.33 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 14 K’s, 19.1 innings in 3 starts
It’s worth nothing that St. Louis pitchers didn’t have to face a designated hitter when facing Pittsburgh and the LA Dodgers. As we work through the numbers, that’s not going to matter much because aces are going to thrive and strugglers are going to struggle! The extremes are that big so far. Wainwright looks to be the most dangerous arm in the series based on what we know of everyone’s skill sets. There’s a chance he would be brought back early to pitch in Game Four if the Cards are in dire straits. There’s also a chance he would be used in relief of Game Seven if he pitches in G1 and G5 and the series ends up going the distance. Edge to Wainwright, with stats suggesting a pitcher’s duel.
THURSDAY’S GAME TWO (in Boston)
Wacha: 0.43 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 22 K’s, 21 innings in 3 starts
Lackey: 3.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 14 K’s, 12 innings in 2 starts
Well…Wacha is a Wildcard for sure. He’s in such great form right now that you could easily make the case he’s the best starter in the series whether than Wainwright. We’ll go with the career track record of Wainwright for that honor. Obviously Wacha is on an incredible run. If he keeps throwing like this, Vegas oddsmakers probably have the wrong team favored in the series. The fact that Boston is a slight favorite partially reflects a belief that there’s no way he can keep this up. If you believe in the numbers, edge here to the Cardinals.
SATURDAY’S GAME THREE (in St. Louis)
Buchholz: 5.40 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 15 K’s, 16.2 innings in 3 starts
Kelly: 4.41 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 13 K’s, 16.1 innings in 3 starts
Both pitchers have struggled so far…which is what happens when you don’t have your best stuff against playoff caliber offenses. Buchholz is obviously much better than this when he’s on. Can he get “on” as he continues his return from injury? Handicappers should consider the Over unless the game night weather is significantly helping the pitchers. Again, you have to give the edge to St. Louis.
SUNDAY’S GAME FOUR (in St. Louis)
Peavy: 8.31 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 4 K’s, 8.2 innings in 2 starts
Lynn: 5.40 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 12 K’s, 11.2 innings in 2 starts, 1 relief
Well…it’s a clean sweep for the Cards in terms of what their pitchers have done in the playoffs…even after you account for the designated hitter. Lynn has been overmatched to be sure…but not nearly to the degree Peavy was. Would Boston come back with Lester early if the Red Sox are in series trouble? Given those numbers…it’s a very clear possibility.
Why is Boston the series favorite given what we just read?
*They’re perceived to have the better BULLPEN
*They’re perceived to have the better OFFENSE
*They do have HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
*They’re from the SUPERIOR LEAGUE
How you handicap the series will involve how you field about those factors…or about the likelihood of Wacha and Buchholz to regress toward more likely norms.
JIM HURLEY will be finding side or total winners for his clients all through the Fall Classic. You can purchase those right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
Back with you tomorrow to preview Carolina at Tampa Bay in Thursday Night NFL action. Big game football previews will continue through the weekend. If the World Series is still going on a week from now, we’ll pick up with discussions for Games Six and Seven next Wednesday here in the NOTEBOOK
In a matter of days, Major League Baseball will crown its 2013 champion. When championships are on the line, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!