Cheap Seats: Don't jump off the Cards bandwagon!

October 29, 2013 

The Cardinals face a steep uphill climb if they're to pull out a victory in the 2013 World Series.

But, even after losing two of three games at home and putting themselves in a spot where they have to win consecutive contests at Fenway Park, their position isn't impossible. I'm not certain why the bandwagon is clearing off so fast.

If the Cardinals are to come back, they need to get their heads straight and not allow themselves to be psyched out by all this ridiculous talk of Fenway Park being a place where opponents have no chance to win.

I've even heard the words "Fenway Mystique" used in all seriousness.

Did someone get his directions fouled up on the way to the home arena of the Boston Bruins? Up until the last few years, the Red Sox were best known for blowing a three-games-to-two lead in the 1986 World Series, which began to unravel when a routine ground ball bounded between the legs of their first baseman.

Does the "Fenway Mystique" include Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent beating the Red Sox out of a playoff spot with a home run over the Green Monster?

The Red Sox have won only two World Series in the last nine decades. And both of them were won on the visiting team's field: St. Louis in 2004 and Colorado in 2007.

The last time a deciding game of the World Series was played at Fenway Park came in 1975. Boston lost to the Cincinnati Reds.

Prior to that, the Red Sox enjoyed a three-games-to-two advantage over a certain team from St. Louis when the 1946 World Series returned to Fenway Park for the last two games. The Cardinals won both games -- highlighted by Enos Slaughter's "mad dash" in which he scored from first base on a single when Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky froze on the relay throw to the plate.

If history is any guide, the Red Sox aren't exactly invincible at home.

The most favorable pitching match-up for the Redbirds repeats itself Wednesday when St. Louis wonder rookie Michael Wacha -- 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in the post season -- faces Boston starter John Lackey.

Lackey was 10-13 during the regular season and lost Game 2 of the World Series to Wacha during their previous match-up in Boston.

If the Cardinals can manage to win Game 6, they'll set up a winner-take-all game Thursday with Joe Kelly facing Ryan Dempster or Jake Peavy, two pitchers the Cardinals have had success against in the past.

Kelly held the Red Sox to two hits over five innings in his previous appearance in this World Series. And you can be sure that if the Fall Classic makes it to Game 7, Kelly will be backed up by every pitcher the Redbirds can muster if need be.

Another advantage of playing in Fenway Park for the Cardinals is the fact that injured St. Louis slugger Allen Craig can be in the starting lineup as the designated hitter.

In a desperation move Monday St. Louis manager Mike Matheny played Craig at first base against a left-handed pitcher. The move came back to bite the Cardinals when the Red Sox scored a run, in part, because of Craig's lack of mobility due to his injured ankle.

If Wacha and Kelly can pitch like they did in their first World Series starts, and the offense gets a boost from having an extra bat in the order, the Cardinals can still win this series.

They simply need to win Game 6 to force a final game. And then anything can happen.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at 239-2626 or swuerz@bnd.com. You can read his fan blog "View From the Cheap Seats" daily at www.bnd.com. Follow @scottwuerz on Twitter.

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