The 103rd edition of Major League Baseball's World Series gets underway Wednesday in Boston as the Red Sox host the Colorado Rockies in Game 1 at Fenway Park. As VOA's Steve Schy reports, both teams are entering the Fall Classic on a hot streak.
Colorado has won 21 of its last 22 games and became the first team to sweep both its division and league championship series opponents.
The Red Sox were on the verge of elimination, falling behind 3-1 in their best of seven championship series against the Cleveland Indians before winning three straight to earn the American League crown.
When the Red Sox last reached the World Series in 2004, they had to overcome a three games to none deficit to the New York Yankees. They went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in four games in the Fall Classic.
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle says the Red Sox will be tough at Fenway Park.
"This ball club is a very good ball club," said Mr. Hurdle. "In four years it is the second time they have gotten to this venue [World Series]. Their staff, the ball players, it speaks for itself. They are a quality ball club - American League Champs. And to go to Fenway, I mean that is dripping with drama and history. So for us it is good."
The Colorado Rockies are best known for powerful hitting and tight defense, but in the post-season they have also relied on strong pitching, compiling a playoff-best earned run average of just two-point-zero-eight. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia says it should be a good Series.
"They have been awesome and it was fun to watch them, the way they got into the playoffs, the way they played since they got in," he said. "The last two months they have been dominant, so it is definitely going to be tough for us."
Boston's lineup depends on hitters Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Ramirez' average is .400 with four home runs and 14 runs batted in this postseason, while Ortiz is batting .387 with three homers.
The Red Sox send right-hander Josh Beckett to pitch Game One, while the Rockies counter with left-handed Jeff Francis.
Beckett has been dominant in the post-season and was named the most valuable player of the ALCS. He won all three of his starts and gave up an average of just 1.17 runs per game. Francis won 17 games during the regular season, and won both of his playoff games with a sparkling 2.13 earned run average.
Some fans question how the eight-day layoff while waiting for Boston to complete its series will affect the Rockies, who had swept the Arizona Diamondbacks. Will they be well rested or just rusty? In a possible preview of things to come, the Red Sox hosted Colorado in a three-game interleague series during the regular season. The Rockies won two out of three, and outscored Boston 20-5.