The World Series is set, and for the first time since 1999, the teams with the best records in each league will meet.
The Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals both were 97-65, and each won their League Championship Series in six games.
Not only are these baseball’s best teams, but they probably beat the third and fourth best, the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers in the LCS.
The addition of a second wild card was supposed to restore order, reward the teams that played their best all season long and make it harder for a team, say the Cleveland Indians, who got hot in the final month and were able to make it to the one-game playoff.
The Red Sox never had a losing streak longer than three games. The Cardinals did lose seven straight in July, but righted themselves quickly. Both teams have well-stocked rotations, and St. Louis’ is full of young pitchers. Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly are all 25 or younger.
Nine years ago, Boston won its first world championship since 1918, a four-game sweep over the Cardinals. Just David Ortiz remains from that team. Only Yadier Molina is still on St. Louis. Their starting catcher wasn’t Molina. It was Mike Matheny, now their manager.
Matheny and John Farrell, Boston’s manager are two of the lower profile managers in the World Series in recent years. Farrell is in his third season as a big league manager, his first with the Red Sox. Matheny is in his second year with the Cardinals, his first big league job.