2013 World Series Preview and Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

St. Louis Cardinals win 12th World Series title

Cards secure fourth consecutive World Series championship for National League

WhatIfSports.com
October 23, 2013

Using our MLB simulation engine we "played" the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 best-of-7 World Series 101 times.

In the table below, you will find each team's chances of winning the World Series and how often they win in four, five, six or seven games. The most likely scenario is the Cardinals beating the Red Sox in six games 17.8 percent of the time.

World Series - 101 Series Simulations
MatchupWin%4-Games%5-Games%6-Games%7-Games%
Cardinals51.55.013.917.814.8
Red Sox48.55.912.911.917.8

There's a perception that the format of the Major League Baseball playoffs favors the hottest club, or worse, randomness, rather than the seasonís best team. The track record supports this as only three clubs with the best regular-season record won the World Series since 1995. Thatís one less than the number of wild cards which won the Commissionerís Trophy.

This postseason has been a different story. The Red Sox and Cardinals tied for the most victories with 97 apiece, and here they are in the 2013 Fall Classic.

Leading the majors in runs scored during the regular season, Boston was able to continue rounding the bases in October with 45 runs in 10 games. Jacoby Ellsbury led the charge with a .400 average and 10 runs this postseason, while fellow outfielder Shane Victorino paced the team with eight RBI. David Ortiz's bat was silenced by the Detroit Tigers during the ALCS (2 for 22), yet Big Papi still hit three playoff homers Ė Game 2ís grand slam vs. Detroit and two vs. Tampa Bay in the ALDS.

World Series Team ERAs
Team ERA
Cardinals Rotation 4.27
Red Sox Rotation 4.68
Cardinals Bullpen 5.74
Red Sox Bullpen 5.05

After facing the impressive arms of Detroit and Tampa Bay, now Boston must deal with an even better staff in the St. Louis. Despite injuries to Chris Carpenter, Jamie Garcia and Jake Westbrook, the Redbirds' 3.42 ERA was second-best among starting rotations in the league. This mound magnificence didnít stop in the playoffs as St. Louis starters posted a 2.57 ERA in 11 games. Ace Adam Wainwright has been as good as advertised with a 1.57 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 23 innings, but the real story has been the excellence of rookie Michael Wacha. The 22-year-old rookie has yielded just one run in 21 postseason innings, including 13 2/3 shutout innings against the Dodgers in the NLCS.

So which club emerges victorious from this battle? Let's check the award-winning WhatIfSports.com baseball simulation engine to find out:

World Series Game 1
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Cardinals4101Boxscore
Red Sox350Simulate Game
WP: Adam Wainwright LP: Jon Lester SV: Edward Mujica
Player of the Game: Matt Adams - 3-4, 3 RBI, HR

In the opener, Jon Lester went the distance for the Sox, but Boston was unable to give its ace enough run support, as St. Louis rides a gem from Wainwright to a 4-3 victory.

Average Runs Scored
Team Avg. Runs
Cardinals 4.96
Red Sox 4.93

The Cardinals jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second thanks to a Matt Adams liner that brought in David Freese, who reached on a one-out double. The Red Sox would strike in the bottom of the inning, as Stephen Drew knocked in Ortiz on a fielder's choice, followed by rookie Xander Bogaerts driving in Mike Napoli off a ground-rule double. Unfortunately for Red Sox Nation, that would be all the Boston bats could muster off Wainwright, who went seven innings of two-run ball while striking out seven.

St. Louis regained the lead in the fourth with a two-run homer from Adams, and the recently-activated Allen Craig added one with an RBI single in the sixth. Boston would cut the deficit to one in the eighth off Trevor Rosenthal on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia double, bringing home Napoli, but Edward Mujica worked a perfect ninth to deliver the win for the Cards.

World Series Game 2
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Cardinals7140Boxscore
Red Sox071Simulate Game
WP: Michael Wacha LP: Clay Buchholz
Player of the Game: Michael Wacha - 9 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 10 K

No drama in Game 2 as the Cardinals roughed up Red Sox pitching early and often. Coupled with another Wacha masterpiece, St. Louis grabbed a 2-0 series lead with a 7-0 win.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz guided through the first two innings without issue, but a solo shot from Carlos Beltran in the third put the Redbirds up 1-0. Buchholz went just four innings before being relieved by Ryan Dempster in the fifth, who proceeded to pitch batting practice to the Cards, allowing back-to-back doubles to Matt Holliday and Craig and an infielder grounder to Yadier Molina. Craig would tack on two more RBI in the ninth, with Molina joining in on the run-scoring parade on a single to right.

This would be more than enough support for Wacha, who submitted a seven-hit shutout against the best offense in baseball.

World Series Game 3
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Red Sox070Boxscore
Cardinals270Simulate Game
WP: Shelby Miller LP: John Lackey SV: Edward Mujica
Player of the Game: Matt Holliday - 2-4, RBI, HR

St. Louis sits a game away from the franchise's 12th World Series ring, as Shelby Miller saved a short outing from Joe Kelly to guide the Cards to a 2-0 victory in Game 3.

A former first-round pick, Miller was sensational for the Cardinals this summer, finishing with a 3.06 ERA in 31 starts. Alas, thanks to Wacha's late-season emergence, Miller found himself as the odd man out of the playoff rotation. Working from the bullpen, Miller bailed out starter Kelly in the fifth after Kelly began to lose control of his command. Miller would go three innings of shutout baseball, with Rosenthal and Mujica putting the finishing touches on the victory.

The Red Sox wasted a good outing from John Lackey, who went eight innings, yielding just two runs Ė a solo homer to Holliday in the sixth and a Pete Kozma RBI single in the seventh.

If Boston hopes to make this a series, somebody better let the offense know. Aside from Ellsbury (.429 average), the heart of the Red Sox lineup has done bupkis against the Cardinals, most notably Dustin Pedroia (.091) and Ortiz (.100), whose slump from the ALCS has lingered.

World Series Game 4
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Red Sox9110Boxscore
Cardinals390Simulate Game
WP: Jake Peavy LP: Lance Lynn
Player of the Game: Shane Victorino - 2-4, 4 RBI, HR

Lance Lynn failed to shut the door on the Red Sox, giving up four runs in the first two innings, and a five-run eighth inning gave the Boston bullpen some breathing room as John Farrell's squad avoided a sweep with a 9-3 conquest.

Lynn was all over the place in the first, walking four batters and drilling Saltalamacchia in the arm, giving Boston a 2-0 lead. Victorino, previously hitless in the series, increased the lead to 4-0 with a two-run dinger in the second, and it seemed as if Boston would cruise through the night.

St. Louis answered in the third with a three-run jack from Holliday to bring it to 4-3, but that would be as close as the Cardinals would get, with Red Sox starter Jake Peavy and sound bullpen performances from Craig Breslow and Felix Doubront keeping the St. Louis bats at bay. Victorino's two-run double highlighted Boston's eighth, with Pedroia, Ellsbury and Drew all adding RBI to the cause.

World Series Game 5
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Red Sox8111Boxscore
Cardinals3110Simulate Game
WP: John Lester LP: Adam Wainwright
Player of the Game: Xander Bogaerts - 1-2, 4 RBI, HR

You better believe memories of 2004 were dancing in the heads of the Boston faithful after Game 5 as the Sox shelled Wainwright for six runs in the first inning and Lester delivered another complete game, sending the series back to Beantown with an 8-3 victory.

Victorino and Ortiz started the fireworks with run-scoring doubles in the first. After a Drew single brought home Big Papi, Bogaerts homered down the right-field line and into the bleachers, putting the Cardinals in a 6-0 hole before reaching the plate. St. Louis did manage 11 hits and three walks off Lester, but the two-time All-Star was able to minimize the damage, surrendering just three runs while striking out four.

World Series Game 6
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Cardinals4112Boxscore
Red Sox280Simulate Game
WP: Michael Wacha LP: Clay Buchholz SV: Edward Mujica
Player of the Game: Michael Wacha - 8.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 7 K

The Green Monster would render no miracle for the Sox. The neophyte Wacha finished Boston with a stellar outing, holding Boston to just two runs in eight innings. A three-run second inning was all the Cardinals needed as St. Louis won the series with a 4-2 victory.

Craig started the scoring for the Redbirds with a double at the top of the second and later scored on Adamsí RBI to left. The light-hitting Kozma drove in Adams and Jon Jay with a double, albeit of the bloop variety, to give the Cardinals a 3-0 advantage.

Top Batting Averages
Player Batting Avg.
David Ortiz .328
Yadier Molina .320
Carlos Beltran .319
Matt Holliday .314

Boston had no plans of going quietly into the night, answering with a Jonny Gomes solo homer in the second and a Napoli homer just over the Green Monster in the sixth to make it a 3-2 affair. That would be as close as the Sox would get though, as Wacha didnítí allow a run in the seventh and eighth innings. Matt Carpenter, who until this point had a quiet series, added an insurance run late, and Mujica worked a flawless ninth to give the title to the Cardinals.

With its regular-season record, St. Louis rightfully can call itself one of the best clubs the summer had to offer. But thanks to Wacha's heroics, it also earns the hottest label too.

Create your own World Series Dream Team from WhatIfSports.com.

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Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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