The Cardinals and Red Sox will open up the 2013 World Series in Boston on Wednesday night, a rematch of the 2004 World Series ultimately taken by the Sox in four games. The two teams are, both by their regular season records and various statistical measures, the best teams from their respective leagues.
Let’s go through each aspect of the two teams and see how they match up:
- Average: BOS ranked 2nd in AL at .277; STL ranked 2nd in NL at .269
- On-base percentage: BOS ranked 1st in AL at .349; STL ranked 1st in NL at .332
- Power: BOS ranked 2nd in AL with a .169 isolated power (ISO, which is slugging percentage minus batting average); STL ranked 12th in NL at .133.
- Speed: BOS ranked 3rd in AL with 123 stolen bases; STL ranked 15th with 45 stolen bases
Hitting platoon splits
- LH hitters vs. LH pitchers: BOS hitters posted a .641 OPS during the regular season; STL hitters posted a .682 OPS
- LH hitters vs. RH pitchers: BOS hitters posted an .805 OPS during the regular season; STL hitters posted a .667 OPS
- RH hitters vs. RH pitchers: BOS hitters posted a .730 OPS during the regular season; STL hitters posted a .723 OPS
- RH hitters vs. LH pitchers: BOS hitters posted an .833 OPS during the regular season; STL hitters posted a .793 OPS
- FanGraphs, utilizing Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), rated the Red Sox as the 5th-best defensive team in the AL at +21.6 runs; the Cardinals ranked 14th at -49.4
- Rotation ERA: BOS ranked 4th in the AL with a 3.84 ERA from the starting rotation; STL ranked 2nd in the NL at 3.42.
- Rotation K/BB: BOS ranked 4th in the AL with a 20% strikeout rate and tied for 13th with an 8.5% walk rate; STL ranked 7th with a 17.6% strikeout rate and tied for 8th with a 7.4% walk rate
- Bullpen ERA: BOS ranked 10th in the AL with a 3.70 ERA from the bullpen; STL ranked 8th at 3.45
- Bullpen K/BB: BOS ranked 6th in the AL with a 23% strikeout rate and 7th with an 8.7% walk rate; STL ranked tied for 4th with a 22.4% strikeout rate and 1st with a 7.4% walk rate
Pitching platoon splits
- LH pitchers vs. LH hitters: BOS pitchers allowed a .663 OPS during the regular season; STL pitchers allowed a .588 OPS
- LH pitchers vs. RH hitters: BOS pitchers allowed a .721 OPS during the regular season; STL pitchers allowed a .677 OPS
- RH pitchers vs. RH hitters: BOS pitchers allowed a .748 OPS during the regular season; STL pitchers allowed a .665 OPS
- RH pitchers vs. LH hitters: BOS pitchers allowed a .683 OPS during the regular season; STL pitchers allowed a .712 OPS
Neither team has announced their official rotation for the World Series yet, but the Cardinals — with an extra day of rest — will likely open up with Adam Wainwright in Game 1. Given how Michael Wacha has performed, it wouldn’t be shocking if he got the nod in Game 2, followed by Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn. Shelby Miller is also an option, but he hasn’t started a game since the end of the regular season. The Cardinals have instead utilized him as a reliever.
For the Red Sox, they will likely go with Jon Lester in Game 1, followed by John Lackey, then Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy.
The Orioles and closer Zach Britton avoided an arbitration hearing, agreeing to a $6.75 million salary for the 2016 season, Jon Heyman reports. The club has now handled all of its remaining arbitration cases and won’t have to go to a hearing with any players.
Britton, in his second of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $7.9 million while the Orioles countered at $5.6 million. $6.75 million is exactly the midpoint between the two submitted figures.
The 28-year-old lefty saved 36 games in 40 chances last season for the O’s while putting up a 1.92 ERA with a 79/14 K/BB ratio over 65 2/3 innings.
Tacking onto Friday’s report that the Blue Jays will attempt to sign Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to multi-year deals, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the club will try to do the same with third baseman and defending American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes that Donaldson’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for February 15, so the two sides will have 10 days to hammer out a contract.
Donaldson, 30, is entering his second of four years of arbitration eligibility. After earning $4.3 million last season, Donaldson filed for $11.8 million and the Blue Jays countered at $11.35 million. The $450,000 difference isn’t much compared to some of the other disparities among arbitration-eligible players and their respective clubs. Jake Arrieta and the Cubs, for example, had a gap of $6.5 million.
This past season, Donaldson let the league in runs scored and RBI with 122 and 123, respectively, while batting .297.371/.568 with 41 home runs and 41 doubles. He earned 23 of 30 first place votes in AL MVP balloting, with runner-up Mike Trout of the Angels grabbing the other seven votes.
Juan Duran, a minor-league outfielder in the Reds’ farm system, has been suspended 80 games following positive tests for the performance-enhancing drugs Drostanolone, Stanozolol, and Nandrolone.
Duran is 6-foot-7 with big-time power, averaging 23 homers per 150 games since 2011, but he also strikes out a ton and struggles to control the strike zone. He spent last season at Double-A, missing a lot of time with injuries and hitting .256 with six homers and a .728 OPS in 59 games as a 23-year-old.
Duran is on the 40-man roster and is considered a quasi-prospect, but he’ll be ineligible to play until July and figures to head back to Double-A once reinstated.
Ever since Alex Anthopoulos resigned as Blue Jays’ GM and Mark Shapiro took over as team president, a distinct air of frugality has set in over Rogers Centre. The go-for-broke attitude that fueled Toronto’s fantastic second half last year was repudiated and long-term, sustainable building has seemed to be the order of the day.
But the Jays aren’t going to go crazy with that: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Blue Jays plan to have long-term extension talks with the agents of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion during spring training. This, combined with the still-remaining possibility that they can avoid arbitration with MVP Josh Donaldson and hammer out a long-term deal could mean some serious spending by the Jays before Opening Day.
Or this could just be talk from the front office designed to buoy the spirits of fans. Locking up all three of them to long-term deals may be hella expensive and may not be possible. It’s also the case that, given their ages — Bautista is 35 and Encarnacion is 33 — it may not be advisable to lock the both up. As always, it depends on the terms and how generous Rogers Communications plans on being with the Jays’ budget.
But the chatter is now out there and expectations are poised to be set.