- by Hannah Miller
Anyone who has watched the 2013 MLB postseason has certainly seen their fair share of great pitching performances. Offense is down overall, and teams are smarter than ever with their pitching staff and matchups late in games. So when the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox meet up in the World Series, it will be pitching that puts one team over the edge.
At certain points this postseason, both teams have been extremely impressive on the mound. The Red Sox have more name recognition in their starting rotation (Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jon Lester and Jake Peavy have all been fantasy baseball stars in the past), but the Cardinals have actually done a better job this postseason. Their staff has a combined 2.57 ERA, and they are going deep into games to keep the bullpen fresh.
Despite Adam Wainwright being labeled as the team's ace, St. Louis has seen Michael Wacha emerge as their most dominant pitcher this postseason. The right-hander was the best fantasy baseball option in the NLCS, as he won MVP honors thanks to throwing 13.2 scoreless innings.
The bullpens for both squads will be just as important, and fortunately both seem to be at the top of their games. Although the Cardinals have lost Edward Mujica as a reliable arm to eat up innings, Randy Choate has stepped up to replace him nicely. Manager Mike Matheny has also turned to youngsters Carlos Martinez, Kevin Siegrist and Shelby Miller this postseason to get big outs. Of course, if all goes well, it sets up a nice ninth inning for Trevor Rosenthal, who has been nearly unhittable this postseason.
However, Boston's bullpen might actually be slightly better. Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Brandon Workman are all dependable enough to bridge the gap between the starters and shutdown closer Koji Uehara. Simply put, the 38-year old is the most dominant pitcher in this series, so if the Red Sox get a lead, it could be trouble for the Cardinals.
Both pitching staffs have a lot of similarities, but the Cardinals probably have a slight edge with their starters, while the Red Sox have the bullpen edge. With the two teams being so close, there will be an opportunity for a player or two to really make a name this World Series.