World Series position-by-position breakdown
(Analysis by The Sports Network)
Two of the most storied franchises in major league history will battle in the 2013 World Series, as the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox get the best-of-seven matchup underway Wednesday at Fenway Park.
Let's take a look at the matchups at each position.
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BULLPEN( Wire photos )
St. Louis' bullpen situation seemed a bit shaky heading into the postseason following the late-September demotion of closer Edward Mujica. Matheny, though, has entrusted hard-throwing rookie Trevor Rosenthal, left, with the ninth inning. He is also relying on two other youngsters in lefty Kevin Siegrist and righty Carlos Martinez.
In 30 innings this postseason, the Cardinals' bullpen has a 1.80 ERA and a .177 batting average against.
As good as St. Louis' bullpen has been, it pales in comparison to Boston's relief corps, specifically ALCS MVP Koji Uehara, right, who has been the best closer in the league since assuming the role after injuries to both Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey.
Uehara, whose ERA was the best in the majors of any pitcher with 50 or more innings, also posted a mind-blowing 0.57 walks plus hits per nine innings -- the lowest WHIP in baseball history by a pitcher who logged at least 50 innings, surpassing by a considerable margin the 0.61 standard set by Dennis Eckersley in 1989.
He also hasn't walked a batter in his last 30 appearances and has pitched to a 0.61 ERA in his save chances.
It's been more of the same for Uehara here in the postseason, as he has saved five games to go along with a 1.00 ERA. The only run he allowed was a walk-off home run in his ALDS Game 3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Uehara has had some help, too. Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, Brandon Workman, Franklin Morales, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront have combined for a 0.84 ERA, 28 strikeouts and a .209 batting average against in 32 innings of relief this postseason.
EDGE: RED SOX