When St. Louis won Game 2 in Boston last Thursday to square the World Series at one game apiece it meant that this column would be written, as there would at least be 5 games before the 2013 Champion would be known.
With the unusual endings to Games 3 and 4 in St. Louis, which were split by the Cardinals and Red Sox to square the Series at two games apiece heading into Monday’s Game 5, the teams will return to Boston for at least one more matchup with one team facing elimination in Game 6, scheduled for Wednesday.
St. Louis won Saturday’s Game 3 amid controversy when the Allen Craig scored due to runner interference being called on Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Boston won Game 4 Sunday night when closer Koji Uehara picked off St. Louis pinch runner Kolten Wong at first base to end the game.
Through the first four games of the Series mistakes have played a large part in determining the outcome. The teams have combined for 30 runs and 56 hits but have committed a combined 11 errors.
In addition to the odd way in which Games 3 and 4 ended the Series got off to an unusual start as St. Louis errors in the bottom of the first inning of Game 1 led to Boston scoring 3 early runs, setting the tone for the Red Sox’ 8-1 victory.
By the time you are reading this column the teams will have headed back to Boston with either the Cardinals or Red Sox needing just one more win to claim the 2013 World Series title.
Regardless of the result of Monday night’s Game 5, the best chance for St. Louis to win the World Series would be with a win in Wednesday’s Game 6. That game should feature a pitching rematch of Game 2 in which Cardinals’ rookie Michael Wacha outlasted Boston starter John Lackey in St. Louis’ 4-2 win that squared the series at a game apiece. Neither pitched especially well but Wacha still has been brilliant throughout the post season.
Clearly the pressure would be less on the Cardinals if they are up 3 games to 2 but it has been very difficult over the years – in all major sports – for the road team to win the deciding game of a best of five or best of seven series.
Should there be a seventh game Boston might turn to lefty Felix Doubront instead of Game 3 starter Jake Peavy. Doubront got the win in relief in Game 4 and could start the seventh game as St. Louis has had trouble all season versus left handed pitchers.
St Louis might turn to its Game 3 starter Joe Kelly, who did pitch better than Peavy in that start, lasting five and a third innings whereas Peavy exited after just 4 innings.
Thus the preferred strategies would be to look towards St. Louis and UNDER 7 or higher in Game 6 and to Boston and OVER 7.5 or lower in Game 7, with a stronger preference to the two side plays rather than the two Total plays.
Facing elimination, Boston might come the favorite against Wacha in Game 6. If Boston is up 3 games to 2 the game could be priced closer to pick ’em. The Red Sox would almost certainly be at least a -125 favorite in Game 7, although not that much higher.
One thing is certain. Either the Cardinals or Red Sox will win their third World Series title within the last decade. Enjoy the off season. Spring training 2014 will be here almost before you know it!
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]