Sun-Tsu: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Well, info's scattered across many threads, plus a lot of gleeful (oh yeah!) posts. There's a lot of talk about the Sox, plus the 2004 Cardinals team, plus the organizations and the WS at a mile high remove (W/L over the season, historical Series,etc.) Plus we're still discussing Nava/Gomes, Drew/Xander/WMB, the Question that is Peavey, etc. There's been some good pitching matchup posts as well.
While it's all great to read, I'm pretty much an idiot re: the 2013 Cardinals. I thought many of us might be, so with that in mind, I thought I'd start a thread to address who are the Cardinals? - how do they play, what we should watch out for, who is injured, who isn't, aggressive on the bases or not, someone who can handle Fenway's left and right field or not? etc. What's up with Wacha? Who is Allen Craig? Is Old-Man-Long-Ball-Beltran for real (and more importantly, how?!)? Who will hit well in Fenway? Who won't?
If you are the Cardinals, how to you try to win this thing?
Edjumacate us please!
With that in mind, here are a couple of posts from other threads that start the ball rolling on the Cardinals.
A few things on the surface I noted while looking at overall records and splits:
* Cardinals were mediocre in interleague, putting up a 10-10 record against the AL West and the Royals, breaking down like this:
HOU LOL 3-1
* They built their glittery record by beating up on the like of the Brew Crew 14-5, Natstown 6-0, and the Cubs 12-7, and posted the second best record in baseball behind the Indians against sub .500 teams at 58-29. (The Indians were 56-18 and the Sox 44-22.)
* They had the 6th best record against over .500 competition, going 39-36 whereas the Sox were 2nd behind Atlanta, going 53-43.
* The Cardinals are vulnerable against lefties, going 19-23.
That said, here's how I thought things might shake out:
* Game 1 Wainwright vs Lester. This could be a classic pitchers duel for the ages, again, remembering the Cards don't fare well against lefties and the Sox with home field advantage. Wainwright's been quite in the playoffs, but I'll give this to the Sox, 2-1.
* Game 2 Wacha vs Lackey. There's a reason Wacha was the NLCS: he's quite good, and he made the Dodgers look foolish. Lackey's been tremendous at home to boot, but I think the Cards take this one, 2-1.
* Game 3 Buchholz vs Kelly. OVERRATED. Kelly really is not that good a pitcher, has poor control, and doesn't strike anybody out. Buchholz was fatigued last night, and hopefully 6 days rest will help. The Sox will rout the Cards here, 7-3.
* Game 4 Peavy vs. Lynn. This is where Peavy really needs to step it up and shine, and this game is critical for the Sox's success against the Cards. The Sox will struggle here, losing 5-3, crushing Sox's fans hearts.
* Game 5: Lester vs. Wainwright. Back home, the Cards win again, 4-2.
* Game 6: Wacha vs. Lackey. ...and here's where Sox fans could learn to hate John Lackey all over again. Maybe the "Fenway Magic" kicks in here, but I think the Sox could be in trouble here, losing 3-1.
The big issue the Sox face here is much like beating Verlander and Scherzer in every start they made, the Sox have to step it up against Wainwright and Wacha. They will not have handed to them the gifts of swiss chese defense and baserunning blunders. The Cardinals are a good team, and so are the Sox. They are fairly evenly matched. But they face a huge challenge, and taking Game One Wednesday night is necessary to winning the series, as will be Game Four. (I thought the Sox were doomed after losing Game Four to the Tigers, but the Tigers did themselves in.)
This will be no cakewalk like 2004 and 2007.
Hate to break it to you, but you're going to learn a lot about Michael Wacha over the next week and a half and, unfortunately, you're probably not going to be as pleased as Fozzie about it.
He and Wainwright will each get the Sox once, but Kelly and Lynn will be a welcome relief after the Tigers rotation. Sox in 7. Xander.
One thing to hope for is for Wacha to hit a wall.
In 2012 he was in college and then pitched 21 innings of pro ball
In 2013 he has thrown 85 minor league innings, 65.2 regular season innings, and 14 post-season innings.
Wainright is awesome. But Wacha is the second "ace" that makes them dangerous. Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly can be hit, as can Shelby Miller if they swap him in.
Of course if you are sick of the Cardinals the depressing this is to look at their ages and realize the Cardinals are going to be around for a while, again. They are the new Braves, only they can win in the World Series.
Morgan's Magic Snowplow:
A key factor could be whether Allen Craig can come back (seems likely) and how effective he'll be after six weeks on the shelf, without any ability to have a real rehab assignment against actual competition. He took swings against live pitching on Friday for the first time since the injury. They really have nobody else who wouldnt be an embarrassment at DH in the Boston games. An effective Craig really lengthens their lineup though.
Caveat: Speed and some aggressive baserunning helped against the Tigers, but largely because the Tigers are not a good defensive team. The same approach against the Cardinals will result in unnecessary outs. Bill James did a study years ago of how various statistics aligned with postseason (or World Series -- can't remember) success and, oddly, the teams with more doubles tended to lose their series. James speculated that these were aggressive teams who exploited bad defenses all season and then got burned by the same strategy against better teams.
Sure. But I don't think they're acquiring that SS in the next 2 days.
And Kozma was 1-15 in the NLCS and is 5-25 in the postseason. They've both sucked in the postseason, but Drew's season and career show he's a better hitter. So, while you should have slightly less confidence in Drew based on that his struggles against TB and DET, Kozma hasn't done anything to close whatever gap you see.
He's an offensive blackhole, even his minor league OBP is below .310.
SavinHillbilly: (On Kozma)
Correct as amended. But he's such a terrible hitter that the sum total of his offense and defense is a replacement-level player. He had the worst wOBA and second-worst wRC+ of all players with 400 or more PA this year. And as others have noted, this does not reflect a tough adjustment to the majors; it's what he did in the minors, too. He's been a black hole at every level except a one-year stint in A ball, where he exploded for a .760 OPS. His overall minor league line is an Iggy-esque .236/.308/.344.
Interesting article on Cardinal aggressiveness v. Sox patience at the plate.
Edited by Rovin Romine, 21 October 2013 - 11:57 AM.