A series defined by great pitching met up Friday night in St. Louis for yet another duel—only half of the duel never showed.

The St. Louis Cardinals continued their ownership of one of the game’s greatest left-handed pitchers, Clayton Kershaw.

The Los Angeles Dodgers sent the right man to the mound—Hanley Ramirez fought through an extremely painful injury—but in the end this series belonged to the Cardinals.

Michael Wacha, NLCS MVP, threw seven stellar innings of two-hit shutout baseball—an overall microcosm of the series to date.

Friday’s win does assure that the Cardinals will face one of two very familiar fall classic opponents—the Boston Red Sox or Detroit Tigers.

While most fans remember the two series in 2004 and 2006, many don’t realize the Cardinals have faced each team in a World Series three times.

In 1934, the Cardinals’ Gashouse Gang defeated the Tigers in seven games. During that series, all four wins came behind the two Dean brothers—Dizzy and Daffy—who combined for 28 strikeouts and a 1.43 ERA.

In 1968, the Cardinals met the Tigers in the World Series again, but a win wasn’t in their future.

On the cusp of Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA season—a record that won’t easily be broken—the Tigers took down the Cardinals over seven games.

In 2006, the Cardinals returned the favor when they fully dominated the Tigers over five games for a swift 4-1 championship win.

The Cardinals’ history with the Red Sox is very similar. Once again, it is painted with some of the fondest moments in team history along with some of painful defeat.

In 1946, the two teams met in the World Series for the first time. The Cardinals won the series in seven games, but not before Enos Slaughter made his famous “Mad Dash” to score from first base.

Ted Williams wasn’t at his best that year due to injury, but in typical Williams fashion, he wasn’t making any excuses.

In 1967, the Cardinals and Red Sox met once again in the World Series. Bob Gibson did almost everything. He was responsible for three wins and even one home run.

Again the Cardinals won in seven games.

When they met for the most recent time in 2004, it was the Red Sox’s turn to make history. The Sox dominated the Cardinals in a four-game sweep and finally reversed the “Curse of the Bambino” by winning their first World Series since 1918.

So what does 2013 have in store? Is it the year of the rookie pitcher? Is it the year of the beard? Will Justin Verlander finally work his regular season magic in October?

HFour of the Cardinals’ 11 World Championships have come at the expense of these two teams.

While there’s no way to know what to expect, when these teams meet in October history tends to be made. Don’t look for this World Series to be any different.

All statistics courtesy Baseball Reference are current through Oct. 18, 2013.

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