The Cardinals may have found an ace in this postseason with the emergence of 22-year-old right-hander Michael Wacha, who outdueled Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw twice in the NLCS and has won all three of his postseason starts, while pitching to a 0.43 ERA.
Since closing the regular season with 8 2/3 no-hit innings, Wacha, the NLCS MVP, has pitched 21 postseason innings, limiting the Pirates and Dodgers to one run on eight hits.
St. Louis, though, will turn to right-hander Adam Wainwright, left, in Game 1. Wainwright, the NL wins leader in the regular season with 19, has been equally effective, going 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA in three starts. His only loss came in NLCS Game 3 against the Dodgers, as he allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings.
Wainwright has three straight postseason starts of at least seven innings, with one or no runs allowed. Only three pitchers in history had more such consecutive starts in the postseason: Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina and Christy Mathewson.
Although St. Louis manager Mike Matheny hasn't named his other starters, righties Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly both figure to get nods.
John Farrell, of course, was the Red Sox pitching coach under Terry Francona, and his impact was immediately evident, especially among the starting staff which saw their ERA decrease by nearly two runs from the prior season.
Nobody benefited from having Farrell back more than likely Game 1 starter Jon Lester, right, who was a miserable 9-14 in 2012, but bounced back to go 15-8 this past season, while pitching to a 3.75 ERA.
Lester is 2-1 this postseason with a 2.33 ERA.
If anyone doubted whether or not John Lackey was fully recovered from Tommy John surgery needs to look no further than his Game 3 performance against the Tigers that saw him outduel Justin Verlander and give control of the series to the Red Sox.
Lackey has been much better at home this season than on the road, making him a prime Game 2 candidate, but regardless he may be Boston's best option right now anyway.
Clay Buchholz was spectacular during the season, going 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA, but has been miserable in the postseason, pitching to a 5.40 ERA in his three starts.
Righty Jake Peavy has also underwhelmed and is 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA in his two starts this postseason.