The St. Louis Cardinals were able to steal the second game of the 2013 World Series in Boston and now they return home where they are 59-28 this season including the playoffs. The first two games have been pretty sloppy, but now that these two teams have each had a bad game expect the level of play to rise.
The level of starting pitching for each team should drop however. The Cardinals have used their scintillating one-two punch of Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, so now they must turn to the less consistent duo of Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn for games 3 and 4. The Red Sox may have starting issues of their own after two terrific starts from Jon Lester and John Lackey. The Sox will go with veteran Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz in the next two games.
Peavy is a shell of his former Cy Young self and he has never won a postseason game. In fact, he has been shelled by the Cardinals in each of his two postseason appearances before this year. Peavy is a former member of the Padres in the National League, so some of the Cardinals best and most experienced hitters such as Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and Yadier Molina are really familiar with him.
Buchholz was having an outstanding year before being injured in early June. He returned in September, but lately there have been reports of fatigue. Buchholz only lasted five innings in his last start in the ALCS, despite being reasonably effective. He will need to be on top of his game to keep the scrappy Cardinals at bay. Buchholz’s Game 4 start Sunday will be on seven days rest.
The Cardinals are looking to take advantage of the Red Sox starting pitching, but lately they have not been able to exploit hardly any pitchers. In the Cardinals 13 postseason games, they have scored more than 4 runs in just three of them. The Cardinals are averaging 3.61 runs per game during the playoffs. In the divisional era the only team to average less than 4 runs per game during the postseason and win the World Series was the 2010 Giants, who averaged 3.93, according to baseball-reference.com. Sooner or later the Cardinal offense will have to step up and bail out their pitchers. The power outage has been very disappointing from the team that led the National League in runs during the regular season.