Few pitchers have had the regular season and playoff success of Adam Wainwright in recent years. On Wednesday, he looks to continue that in Game One of the World Series.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ No.1 starter will get the ball as they face the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. The right-hander will be well-rested, having not taken the mound in nine days. He was defeated in his last outing, though he only allowed two runs in his one NLDS appearance.
Wainwright may be accustomed to throwing every five days, but pitching with extra rest hasn’t seemed to adversely affect him. After his first start in August, manager Mike Matheny decided to sit his top starter for a week. Wainwright proceeded to allow three runs in seven innings in a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Prior to that, the veteran had an eight-inning, two-run performance in his first start after the All-Star Break.
The National League wins leader has been dominant in the 2013 postseason, pitching even better than his Cy Young-caliber regular season. In three starts, he has a 1.57 ERA and just one walk. The 32-year old threw at least seven innings each time out, including a complete game, one-run performance in Game Five of the NLDS.
Boston’s Game One starter has had a similar run in the playoffs. Jon Lester is also 2-1 in three starts, pitching to a 2.33 ERA. His only loss came in a contest that saw him give up one run in 6.1 innings of work. The lefty will take the mound on six days of rest.
For most of the St. Louis hitters, it will be their first time steeping in the box against Lester. The 29-year-old has only faced Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina. They are a combined 3-7 in those at-bats.
The Rex Sox hitters have a lot more experience against the Cardinals starter, but having seen Wainwright before might not do them much good. Stephen Drew has just one hit in 19 at-bats, while Shane Victorino is batting .227 in 22 tries.
Prediction: The Cardinals have a slight edge in the pitching matchup, considering Wainwright has been more consistent in 2013. However, Lester has been superb in the last few months, pitching to a 2.57 ERA after the All-Star Break. After the first 14 innings of the ALCS, Boston’s hitters began to return to their regular season form and come through in the clutch. In front of their home crowd, the veterans on the Red Sox should get some timely hits in the late innings.
Final Predicted Score: Boston 4, St. Louis 2