Greetings and welcome to another edition of Swami the Magazine. Well, last week was clearly upset Saturday and the SEC is still licking their wounds more than most. So that got the Swami thinking, what do we do when we aren’t feeling great? Well… in America, we eat! So the Swami started thinking about fast food, but not the fast food of our younger days (only McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, & Taco Bell). We’re talking about Quicker than Slow but not so Fast as to be Low Quality restaurants (QTSBNSFATBLQ for short). So the StM staff compiled a list of QTSBNSF…well you know what I mean, restaurants that match up best with each match-up. And by the end, the staff had ordered food from 7 of the establishments because it made them hungry. So while they eat, we’ll get the rest of you to… The Picks!!
The Guru’s Guide to the World Series
The World Series! Or as we Braves fans refer to it, That Thing In Which We Went 1-4 During the 90’s. For the first time since 1999, the two teams with the best records in their respective leagues made it to the World Series. The Red Sox put the epic collapse of their Beer and Chicken team of 2011 and the last-place team of 2012 in the rearview mirror. The power of the postseason facial hair is strong, but here are the reasons I am reluctantly picking the St. Louis Cardinals:
1. Return of the Craig: Allen Craig has missed the past six weeks with a foot injury (a fact of which my fantasy team is well aware). He missed the first 2 rounds of the playoffs, yet the Cardinals’ bats were solid. When they drop Craig back into the middle of the lineup as the DH in Games 1 and 2, the lineup depth will be at least the equal of the Red Sox. Carpenter/Beltran/Holliday/Craig/Molina/Adams/Freese/Jay is an outstanding 1-8 (Kozma is a designated out-maker, but at least he can play decent defense). He’s a lefty killer who gets to face Jon Lester, a southpaw, in his first game back. And for games 3-5, either he or Matt Adams will be a big bat off the bench when it is needed. This at least evens out the offensive matchup, leaving the outcome of the Series to the pitching staffs.
2. The Power of the Arms: The Cardinals have had plenty of time to set their rotation. It will go Wainwright-Wacha-Kelly-Lynn. Wainwright is a top 10 starting pitcher in the league, yet Wacha has been the star of this postseason. That’s what happens when you give up 1 earned run in 3 postseason starts. Kelly has been more than solid, and though Lynn has struggled, he has come up big before for the Cards. For Boston, Lester and Buchholtz are strong, but the top 2 are an advantage for the Cardinals. Jake Peavy has struggled since he was traded to Boston in July. John Lackey vs. Lynn is the only advantage for Boston. If the Series is decided by the rotation, St. Louis wins.
3. Pen State: The state of the Cardinals’ bullpen is another advantage. While Uehara is amazing as a closer (he is), the depth of the power arms in the bullpen is impressive. Even with Mujica imploding down the stretch, they still have Carlos Martinez, Kevin Seigrist, John Axford (who regained his mojo with the Cards), Seth Maness, and even Shelby Miler available to bridge the gap to flamethrowing (not literally) rookie Trevor Rosenthal at the end. If a starter does run into trouble, they can handle it. It’s a sturdier bridge to the end than Boston has to Uehara (though if Boston has the lead in the 9th, they’re going to win).
4. A Sophisticated Heat Beam We Call A “Laser”: Part of Boston’s win over Detroit could be credited to their 11 stolen bases, which put them in position to score when they weren’t hitting grand slams. That isn’t going to happen in the World Series. Yadi Molina threw out 43% of baserunners this year who attempted to steal, and that doesn’t take into account that mediocre baserunners generally don’t even test his arm. For comparison sake, Jarod Saltalamacchia threw out 21% of runners attempting to steal this year. The really good Flying Molina Brother (no, it’s not Jose) should be able to keep even Jacoby Ellsbury in check, and that is a major advantage for the Cardinals.