It’s only fitting that the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are set to meet in the 2013 World Series. The two teams tied for the MLB lead in wins with 97 in the regular season. They’ve also had a similar run in this year’s playoffs, with each club needing six games to win their last series.

The Red Sox enter the Fall Classic as slight favorites, having had the best World Series odds for most of the season. Through 162 games, Boston had the best offense in all of baseball, in addition to one of the best starting staffs in the American League.

St. Louis took a similar route to having the best record in the National League. Their 783 runs led the NL, and the Cardinals’ starting pitchers finished the year with the second-best ERA in the league.

The key for Boston lies within their veteran hitters. They got through the ALDS and ALCS because of timely hitting by their top bats. David Ortiz’s Game Two grand slam against the Detroit Tigers changed the complexion of the series, and Shane Victorino’s seventh-inning homer in Game Six clinched the Red Sox World Series bid. Boston will be adversely affected by not having a designated hitter in the NL ballpark. Either Ortiz or Mike Napoli will be forced to sit in the games at St. Louis.

If the Cardinals are going to win their third championship in eight seasons, it will be on the strength of their young arms. Adam Wainwright is the Cards' No.1 starter, and may be the best pitcher in the series, but it’s the rest St. Louis’s rotation that will likely decide their fate. Michael Wacha has been dominant in his first playoff run, allowing one earned run in three starts. Joe Kelly has made just 34 career starts between the regular season and postseason, and Lance Lynn is in his third big league season.

The Red Sox have home-field advantage, following the AL’s victory in the All-Star Game. Only the Cardinals and Atlanta Braves were more dominant in front of their fans this season.

Series Schedule

Game 1: at Boston, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX

Game 2: at Boston, Thursday, Oct. 24, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX

Game 3: at St. Louis, Saturday, Oct. 26, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX

Game 4: at St. Louis, Sunday, Oct. 27, 8:15 p.m. ET, FOX

Game 5: at St. Louis, Monday, Oct. 28, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX

Game 6: at Boston, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX

Game 7: at Boston, Thursday, Oct. 31, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX

Betting Odds

Boston Red Sox 5/7

St. Louis Cardinals 6/5

Probable Pitching Rotations

Red Sox                              Cardinals

Jon Lester                          Adam Wainwright                           

Clay Buchholz                    Michael Wacha

John Lackey                       Joe Kelly

Jakes Peavy                        Lance Lynn


Boston in seven