- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
Here are 10 pivotal matchups to look out for when the World Series begins Wednesday night:
1. Red Sox hitters vs. the Cardinals bullpen
Let’s get right to it: Boston is in the World Series because of the damage done to Detroit's bullpen. Eleven of Boston’s 19 runs were plated with a reliever on the mound, including both the grand slams hit by David Ortiz and Shane Victorino.
But while bullpen depth was an Achilles’ heel for Detroit, the Cardinals are a completely different challenge, with a wave of relievers, each seemingly throwing harder than the last. The average fastball velocity for some of the St. Louis relievers (per FanGraphs):
So far in the postseason, the Cardinals bullpen has allowed only six earned runs in 19 innings, with 23 strikeouts.