Cheap Seats

Cardinals should be well set up to face the Green Monster

As is always the case when a team that doesn't often play at Fenway Park comes to Boston, much is being made of how the St. Louis Cardinals will handle the Green Monster.

The tall wall in short left field has been blamed for getting into the heads of both pitchers and hitters who take on the Red Sox on their home turf. But, if the Cardinals play their game, the Green Monster shouldn't matter to them at all.

The Redbirds pitching staff is built to produce ground balls. If they keep the ball on the ground, St. Louis pitchers don't need to worry about homers sailing over the wall. Besides, while Fenway Park was once thought of as one of the most dangerous places for pitchers to ply their trade, that was before the Astros decided to build their new stadium with a short left field porch complete with a much shorter wall. The Cardinals, until the Astros moved to the American League in 2013, were frequent visitors to Houston and things seemed to work out alright. And then there's the Reds' home field in Cincinnati where the ball flies out to every direction...

As far as the hitters go, the Birds are accused of having at least a couple of pull hitters. At least that's what opposing managers seemed to think when they lined up their defense with a radical shift against Matt Adams and Carlos Beltran. But Adams is a lefty, so the Green Monster is in his opposite field. And Beltran, a switch hitter, sprays the ball batting righty while pulling it for power as a lefty.

Right handed slugger Matt Holliday can pull the ball out of any park. But he's at his best when he hits the ball back up the middle. Yadier Molina, David Freese and Matt Carpenter seem to hit their best to right center. So the short left field at Fenway Park should be less of a factor for the Cardinals than the expansive right side of the outfield where the deepest point, just right of center, is 420 feet away from home plate. The right field corner falls away dramatically from the right field foul pole -- or Pesky pole, oddly named for the former Boston shortstop who almost never homered past it. It's 302 feet down the line. But the wall drops nearly straight back to 380 feet. Hitters who try for cheap home runs to right at Fenway Park could be playing into a trap if the miss their timing but even a hair.

If the Cardinals play as they usually play, there should be plenty of hits in the right center gap. My biggest concern is the Redbirds' relatively slow outfield crew that will have to patrol a lot of unfamiliar turf.