Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Classic In The Making

Coming In

      This year's Fall Classic between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals has fueled high hopes for an enticing series since being determined. 

St. Louis boasted a bit better pitching staff coming in as the 5th best ERA in the regular season, while the Red Sox were a middle of the pack team in that area.  To combat that, Boston finished the regular season leading or near the top in several offensive categories one being OPS (where they were first for both OBP and SLG %).  Each team has one thing that it is better at, but to say that the other facets of both team's game is lacking would be a far cry from the truth.  All year long the Red Sox and Cardinals have entertained with consistently pummeling offenses and stifling pitching staffs.  As a result both teams finished first in their respective leagues.

The Series

        A championship between to two teams with the two best records in each league this year, is a dream come true for the MLB.  Coming with those best records are two very solid baseball markets in Boston and St. Louis.  Leading up to the series a lot of people I asked felt the series was going to be a coin flip with some tight finishes, myself included.  That said, we or the MLB had no way of being able to predict the events that would unfold to help what were already strong ratings.  Through the first three games, there was an average of 13.4 million viewers per game, the most since 2010.   Lets start with Game 1 at Fenway Park though, and what was effectively a Boston Beatdown of the Cardinals.  In route to an 8-1 win David Ortiz hit a two run bomb, just the start of a historic World Series for Big Ppai.  On came Cardinals rookie pitching stud Michael Wacha for Game 2, Wacha's first taste of the Fall Classic as a starter.  That man I mentioned earlier, David Ortiz, tried to steal the show from Wacha by belting a two-run home-run off the rookie.  However, the Cardinals and Wacha had different plans.  The home-run was the only major blemish on the night for the Cardinals pitcher in 6 innings, he struck out six, but perhaps had some gitters also allowing four base on balls.  Behind him the offense would rally for 3 runs against Boston starter John Lackey and took Game 2 by a score of 4-2. 

Game Three and Four

      The scene would then shift from Boston to St. Louis, where things got weird to put it bluntly.  Game's 3 and 4 were not short on drama, both ending with unique plays.  Entering the 8th inning behind 4-2, the Red Sox would rally to tie it up in hopes of putting across one more run before the Cardinals did.  However, in the bottom of the 9th those hopes were dashed by a call baseball fans will never forget, and a call sports fans in the United States would be forced to hear about given the outcome of said call. If you missed this incident, take a moment to catch up.  That's right! Game 3 would end on a walk-off interference call in favor of the Cardinals.  Such a bizarre finish was surely to stir up the media frenzy, and it did.  Articles from all over the place would surface the web and national news about this curious call, in a World Series Game none the less.  While fans and media members talked up a storm about the call, the MLB sat quietly enjoying the publicity their championship series was receiving.  With a 2-1 Cardinals lead in the series, the stage was set to see how the Red Sox would respond in Game 4 after a potentially momentum changing call in Game 3.

Kolten Wong (left) Johnny Gomes (right)
   Our beloved "baseball gods" whoever they may be, followed up Game 3 with an equally bewildering play to end the game.  Thanks to a three-run homer by Jonny Gomes, who started in place of injured Shan Victorino, Boston was in charge most of the game.  What makes that feat by Gomes more impressive is that Victorino was a very late scratch headed into Game 4.  Gomes was called in to start the game just a couple hours before game time. Fast  forward some the Red Sox are up 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th needing just one more out to even the series back up.  With Carlos Beltran (October Baseball Slayer) at the plate, and Kolten Wong pinch running at first for the Cardinals the unthinkable happened.  Red Sox closer, Koji Uuehara, picked off baserunner Kolten Wong to end the game.  A pick-off play has never ended a post-season game before, and in its debut of happening it comes in the World Series, on the heels of Game 3 and its wild finish.  Now things are back at square one, all tied up 2-2.  With anything possible venturing into Game 5, this year's World Series is shaping up to be one of the better Fall Classic's in recent history. 

headshot.jpgCole Miller, from Haddonfield, NJ, is currently a sophomore Sport Management major at Drexel. Over the summer, Cole volunteered for the 43rd SABR convention, a large convention with many speakers and other events for baseball fans who enjoy the new age statistics being brought to baseball such as WAR ( wins above replacement ).   Cole is a huge fan of baseball, specifically the Phillies.

You can connect on Cole on LinkedIn here.

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