St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox (-119, 7)
The St. Louis Cardinals have won a pair of World Series since falling to the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and will make their fourth trip to the Fall Classic in 10 years looking for revenge. The Red Sox completed a remarkable turnaround from last place in 2012 and will try to take down the Cardinals again when they host Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday. David Ortiz is the only player left from Boston’s sweep in 2004 and is still piling up key postseason hits.
St. Louis’ lone holdovers from that 2004 showdown are Mike Matheny, who went from starting catcher to manager, and Yadier Molina, who went from Matheny’s backup to one of the best catchers in the game. One of Boston’s big advantages in the American League playoffs was on the base paths - an area Molina regularly controls. The Cardinals and Red Sox are stacked up and down the roster and tied for the most wins in the majors during the regular season with 97.
TV: 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX
WEATHER: Temperatures in the high 40s with partly cloudy skies and a 52 percent chance of rain early Wesnesday. Winds blowing west at 7 mph.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Adam Wainwright (2-1, 1.57 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Jon Lester (2-1, 2.33)
Wainwright served as the closer on St. Louis’ 2006 World Champion squad and was forced to watch the 2011 team win from the bench while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The 32-year-old led the National League with 19 wins during the regular season and was spectacular during the NL playoffs, striking out 20 batters while issuing one walk in 23 total innings. Wainwright’s lone road playoff start was his only loss, allowing two runs on six hits in seven innings at Los Angeles.
Lester allowed two or fewer runs in each of his three postseason starts and 10 of the last 13 going back to the regular season. The 29-year-old won the clinching game of the 2007 World Series in Colorado, allowing three hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Lester is 4-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 11 career postseason games - nine starts.
* Under is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings.
* Over is 5-2-1 in the last eight meetings in Boston.
* Cardinals are 7-3 in their last 10 World Series games.
* Red Sox are 8-0 in their last eight World Series games.
1. Cardinals 1B Allen Craig (foot) missed the first two rounds of the playoffs but is expected to be activated for the World Series.
2. Boston rookie 3B Xander Bogaerts reached base in eight of his 11 postseason plate appearances and is likely to stay in the lineup.
3. St. Louis RF Carlos Beltran owns a .337 batting average and .449 on-base percentage with 16 homers and 37 RBIs in 45 career playoff games, but will be making his World Series debut.