Welcome to our first post under our new name SportsKop. This is a segment called ChatKop, where our columnists break down a hot sports topic with a friendly back and forth conversation. In this edition of ChatKop, Aditya (AS) and Chengez (CK) take a look at the World Series
|Dustin Pedroia and Carlos Beltran will Square off in the Fall Classic|
AS: The Fall Classic is here and while neither of our teams are in it, it ceases to amaze and entertain fanatics like us on a yearly basis.
CK: Agreed man, this is going to be one hell of a series.
AS: SportsKop is gonna go deep. How deep? As deep as Victorino’s grand slam against Jose Veras’ curveball. Speaking of which, that home run just made me shake my head. Why was he so obsessed with throwing breaking balls?
CK: Well to me, there was nothing wrong with throwing a breaking ball there; Victorino is batting right handed against a right handed pitcher. Veras was trying to exploit that and the idea was good, but he threw it right in his wheelhouse on an 0-2 count. If you have 3 pitches to play with, don’t you have to go outside the zone? You gotta make him chase!
AS: Yeah I guess he was still reminiscing about his days as an Astro. I think the Red Sox relied on the long ball quite a lot this series.
CK: I don’t think thats about to change, especially at Fenway. That’s what the Red Sox are supposed to do: use the monster to their advantage, and i’m sure the Cardinals will as well. But even though the Sox rely on the long ball, part of the reason they get those pitches is because they take so many. They’re incredibly selective, and it’s a strategy that really works for them; they know the importance of getting on base, and even though you don’t see incredible batting averages, this team succeeds because they realize that’s not all that matters.
AS: I couldn’t agree more with that. I think their approach in game 1 was quite telling of that. But then, they decided to become a little bit more aggressive, but not just whacking and swinging at everything. They were successful at getting Detroit’s starters pitch counts high and then went on to attack their weak point: their bullpen. But man, the Red Sox pitching went toe to toe against Detroit’s main trio.
CK: Yeah, and you can same about the Cardinals pitching going up against the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke and succeeding.
AS: Speaking of the Cardinals, this is Beltran’s first World Series in his career, ever. Kind of strange considering how many postseason games he has played and the crazy numbers he puts up during the playoffs, no?
CK: Yeah, i think that’s just greater proof that the whole thing is to quote Billy Beane “a crapshoot”. If you’re in it, you can win it. Sure, there’s something to be said about home-field advantage and consistency of a team over the course of the year, not to mention there are ridiculously more talented than others, but if one team clicks over the course of october, they can win it all. Ironically, after laying all that out for you, the two teams that have arrived to the world series were the two best teams in the regular season. Go figure!
AS: Yeah, I was watching MLB network and they showed the regular season standings and Harold Reynolds was talking about how its something to celebrate and also that we are going to see the two best teams this season go head to head. Going back to Beltran for a second though, I really think he will be a bigger factor than Allen Craig in the World Series. What are your thoughts on that?
|Can Beltran Prove to be lethal in the World Series?|
CK: Despite my man crush on Craig, you’re probably right. Craig is going to be serving as DH during road games, but at home, his role is going to be reduced to pinch hitter most likely. Meanwhile, Beltran is going to be in the lineup everyday, getting more at-bats and using his cannon for an arm to impact the game defensively.
AS: I think the Cardinals will be a tougher test for Boston since they aren’t so one-dimensional like the Tigers. They have speedy players, guys who can get on base, guys with power, and a better bullpen to along with a solid pitching staff.
CK: Oh, no doubt. This series is going to be a test for both sides. The Red Sox had some trouble producing runs against the Tigers’ starting staff and the Cardinals’ staff has been just as solid during the postseason with superior relief pitching. And remember this about the Dodgers: Puig was no longer the red hot player ESPN had practically already declared a Hall of Famer when the playoffs began. He entered the postseason struggling. Combine that with a scorching Hanley Ramirez getting hurt and the Dodger lineup was nowhere near full strength. Meanwhile the Red Sox are at full strength: Ortiz, Pedroia, Victorino, Napoli, and Ellsbury are all healthy and ready to go. This lineup is much deeper than the lineups the Cardinals have seen so far.
|Lester seems to have Captured his 2008 Form|
AS: Yeah, I agree with that, the Pirates were pretty feeble on paper and the Dodgers like you said weren’t anywhere near full strength. The Red Sox have actually faced some pretty good competition up to this point as well. The Rays and the Tigers had some great arms in their staff and they didn’t have trouble beating them at all.
CK: Yeah, you would think its because their offense is so strong but they’ve had some pitchers really step up. Jon lester returning to 2010 form, John Lackey?!??!?!?! coming out of nowhere, and Clay Buchholz we know is good. Their pitching has really been as big a reason as any that they’ve made it to this point.
AS: Yeah how in the WORLD did that happen? Jesus Lackey was posting ERAs above 7 before his Tommy John surgery and Lester has been lights out pretty much its really crazy! What’s really interesting though is that Wainwright and Wacha have never pitched in Fenway or against the Red Sox.
CK: That’s the fun part of the world series, you get showdowns between two teams who don’t know each other really well. And in the last 3 world series/postseason in general, there have been some truly unlikely heroes stepping up to lead their team to victory.
AS: Yeah who the hell thought Scutaro and Edgar Renteria of all people would help your favorite team win 2 World Series?
|Can Freese Repeat his 2011 Heroics once more?|
CK: Don’t forget your boy, David Freese in 2011! Maybe he’ll break out the magic bat this world series as well?
AS: Oh man, that was just amazing. That was so clutch. They were a strike away from losing in game 6!! Man, ok if I don’t stop now, I can go on for days about this.
CK: It was quite remarkable…Who steps up this year though? Give us a name from both teams
AS: I think for the Red Sox, Stephen Drew might be the guy. I know that’s like the most ridiculous name to pick, but he’s known to have random bursts of power.
CK: I’ve been really impressed with his defense so far. Hopefully he can translate that success to the plate.
AS: Yeah, he’s got an amazing glove. And if he does something like give them the lead late into a game, all of his batting woes will be forgotten and that $7 million salary would be justified.
CK: My Red Sox pick is going to be Xander Bogaerts. The rook is bound to show power at some point; what better time to unleash it than during the World Series?
AS: His at-bats proved to be extremely valuable during the ALCS and he’s going to be a great replacement for Drew next season.
CK: His plate discipline is already amazing, can’t wait to see what kind of hitter he becomes in 2-3 years.
AS: Yeah it’s kinda scary to think. Anyways, for the Cardinals, I really want to stay David Freese but I feel like Mat Adams might be their secret weapon who will step up big time He’s just waiting to smash a ball deep into the left field.
CK: Yeah, in Allen Craig’s absence, he really hasn’t provided anything, but he’s a home run waiting to happen. He’s sort of like a lower risk lower reward Adam Dunn, not as many home runs, but not as many strikeouts either. Maybe with Allen Craig back, he finally launches one into the seats?
AS: Yes, maybe the competition that makes him do better.
|Craig’s addition might prove to be Key for the Cardinals|
CK: Since we’re really lazy and we put this chat off till the last moment, I actually just caught a glimpse of the cardinals starting lineup tonight: Carpenter 2B, Beltran RF, Holliday LF, Craig DH, Molina C, Freese 3B, Adams 1B, Robinson CF, Kozma SS, Wainwright P. And since Jon Jay’s out, i’m gonna go with the one and only Shane Robinson. Hey, he’s already hit one home run in the NLCS. I have faith in him Hopefully he gets lucky again.
AS: Looking at that lineup, Matheny is a smart man. I still believe in the philosophy that the best hitter should always bat second, which is Beltran. And Craig’s average with men on base is ridiculous so putting him fourth is the right move.
CK: Yeah, we haven’t talked about the managers, but both are really good. Matheny has picked up right where La Russa left off. He managers his bullpen well and knows how to put a lineup together. My mom (yes, she noticed it before I did) also made me aware of the fact that even when his team is down or is on the wrong side of a horrific call, it never seems to phase him and I realize that’s absolutely true. That guy’s as cool as they come: very calm and collected.
AS: John Farrell, who worked with Francona, has pretty much brought his magic back to Boston. From first to last, regardless of how much you money, talent, and resources you have, it’s still a remarkable thing to turn that team around.
CK: He made them a team that wanted to com to work again The clubhouse chemistry is great after being so bad under Valentine. People actually wanna play together, just like they used to under Francona. But at the same time, he’s also kept them focused on the task at hand, like when he did that simulated game so they would be prepared despite their long stint between games. And I’m sorry for bringing it up so much, but the plate selection is excellent. They have a really great offensive philosophy and Farrell also knows how to manage a bullpen. He gets the most out of his players
AS: So tonight it’s Wainwright vs Lester, one hell of a pitching matchup Lester has faced the Cardinals only once in his career and was real good, but that was 2008 so I’m gonna ignore that.
CK: As you should, the teams are completely different now. This is as tough as it gets. I can’t see Wainwright blowing up, but despite how well Lester has thrown the ball, I can see him giving up a big blast, so I gotta give the edge to Cards in that regard tonight.
AS: Wainwright is truly as safe a bet as they come. Lester is scary still. i don’t trust him. I feel like he’s gonna give up a lot of hits tonight.
CK: Let’s look bigger picture though. It’ the the time our audience (of one person) has been waiting for: prediction time. By the way, that one person reading is probably Hirsch, who I’d like to welcome to the SportsKop family. He knows his stuff and he’s going to make a great addition to our team. Be on the lookout for a post from him about the NBA quite soon. Anyways, Red Sox or Cardinals and in how many games?
AS: Man, this is tough. People have constantly written off the NL teams since 2010 in the World Series but they’ve always won.
CK: Yep, the NL has indeed won 3 straight world series. And its been Giants Cardinals Giants … you can see a pattern building.
AS: Oh dear, DO NOT SAY THAT! I DONT WANT TO SEE THE GIANTS WIN AGAIN IN 2014. My brain is telling me Sox but my gut says the Cardinals will surprise people again and follow that stupid pattern. I say the Cardinals will win in 7 games with David Freese driving in the winning run.
CK: I’ll go Red Sox in 6. Napoli will get hotter than he already is, Ortiz will hit another late inning bomb and, with MUCH hesitation, I’ll say Lackey has another solid outing and that this team pulls it out. Their approach to the plate and their bullpen will make it work. Well, that’s our take. What do YOU think (only person who’s reading this)? Leave a comment with your prediction below, and keep an eye out for a new post from our newest columnist, as well as a site redesign (woohoo!) coming next week.
AS: So long! Will the Birds overcome the Beards? Clown question bro!