The Boston Red Sox stormed out of the gates in Game 1, taking advantage of some mistakes to grab an early World Series lead. The St. Louis Cardinals fought back to win Game 2 at Fenway Park, which sends the Fall Classic to St. Louis all square at one.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the two evenly matched teams are deadlocked after two games. In fact, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them tied after six games as well. They were the best teams in their respective leagues this season and are now battling for the ultimate prize.

The Cardinals took control of home-field advantage with their victory in Game 2. Boston’s quest to get it back starts on Saturday night. Let’s check out the biggest key for each team as the series takes center stage at Busch Stadium.


Cardinals: Young Starters Thriving in the Spotlight

Sensational rookie Michael Wacha did his job in Game 2. He wasn’t as dominant as he was during his first three postseason starts, but he kept the Red Sox lineup at bay long enough for the Cardinals hitters to come out of their slumber and lead St. Louis to the win.

Now, the Cardinals need 25-year-old Joe Kelly and 26-year-old Lance Lynn to rise to the occasion. Boston’s lineup has been the best throughout the postseason, racking up eight more runs than St. Louis in one less game.

Kelly started the season as a reliever. He pitched so well after moving into the rotation that there was no way the Cardinals could take him out down the stretch. He’s coming off a rough start against the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he gave up four runs in five innings, however, and must bounce back in Game 3.

In Game 4, St. Louis is slated to send Lynn to the mound. The right-hander has been extremely streaky over the past two seasons. When he’s on, as he was en route to a 2.12 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 29.2 innings in September, he’s a major force. That’s what the Cardinals need.

How those two starters respond before the rotation flips back to Adam Wainwright will be crucial.


Red Sox: More Production From Bottom of the Order

The first two games have shown what the Red Sox already know: Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are a rock-solid tandem in the middle of the order capable of coming up with big hits. Jacoby Ellsbury can also be a major asset atop the order.

In order to win the series, however, they are going to need some unsung heroes in the bottom part of the order to come up big starting in Game 3. Without that added production, there will be too much pressure on Pedroia and Ortiz to carry the load.

There is no shortage of possibilities. Daniel Nava, who had a terrific regular season, has gotten lost in the shuffle in recent games. Xander Bogaerts has extraordinary talent, but he is still searching for his way in the big leagues. Stephen Drew, who runs hot and cold, could break out of his slump.

The talent is in place, the Red Sox just need one or two players in the bottom part of the order to put together some better at-bats. If they do, the pressure on the middle of the lineup decreases and Boston should be in great shape.


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