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MLB Boston Red SoxSt Louis Cardinals

2013 MLB World Series: 5 Matchups That Can Change the Outcome of the Series

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5 Match-ups That Will Have Impact on World Series

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

With the World Series set to kick off between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals in just a few days, let’s take a look at some of the key match-ups that players will have to endure during what could be a long series.

Now when the term match-up is used, a lot of people think it refers to player vs. player or team vs. team, but that’s not always the case and I’m about to prove it. A lot of times a player’s match-up is himself or within himself.

In the World Series, sometimes nerves take over for some players and they not only struggle themselves, but in return their entire team is affected by it. A player vs. nerves is certainly a match-up worth discussing. Other times it is indeed that player vs. player match-up that stands out. If you have a lefty at the plate and you bring in a lefty to get him out, that would be a prime example of one player getting another player out and in return that match-up sways the game in one team’s favor.

There are always many variables in a tight series like we’re about to see between the Red Sox and the Cardinals. Both teams have talent offensively and in their pitching staffs. Some of those players will perform to the level expected of them, but others will struggle based on certain match-ups. Whether those match-ups are player vs. player or player vs. self or environment, they always have an impact one way or another.

The following 5 match-ups will have the biggest impact on the outcome of the 2013 World Series.

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Allen Craig vs. Boston Pitching

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This will be Allen Craig's first appearance in a Cardinals' uniform in the postseason. The question is whether he'll be in regular season form or if he'll have some rust. With a pitching staff of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Jake Peavy, it won't take long to find out.

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David Ortiz vs. Randy Choate

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

The Cardinals are well aware of what "Big Papi" is capable of. Luckily for them they have a very capable lefty in the bullpen if they ever need to call upon him. A late game match-up of Ortiz and Randy Choate should be very interesting to watch.

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Trevor Rosenthal vs. Boston's Lineup in Save Situation

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Late innings haven't been all that bad for the Cardinals with Rosenthal as the closer, but in the World Series, that may be different. Trevor is a young pitcher and isn't proven as a closer. Will Boston's big bats do some damage or will Rosenthal be able to slam the door shut on Boston and any hopes they have of winning the World Series?

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Carlos Beltran vs. World Series Emotions

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Beltran has done just about everything in the month of October. One thing he's going to do for the first time in his career is play in a World Series game. Some people have even gone so far as to call Beltran the new "Mr. October". That's all well and good, but will that all change after seeing Carlos play in a World Series? Beltran has done his share of tearing up the NLDS and NLCS rounds throughout his career, but will the pressure of the World Series mount and could we very well see Carlos struggle in the biggest postseason series he's ever been in?

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Michael Wacha vs. Failure

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

You beat Clayton Kershaw in a postseason series once, some may say it's luck. However, when you do it twice in the same series, luck goes out the window and it's just pure talent. At the age of 22, Michael Wacha has had his fair share of success already. What concerns me would be how he's going to handle failure if they meet face to face in the World Series. What happens to his composure if Boston gets a few men on base and scored a run or two off of him in an inning? Does he come out and shut them down and show them he's not going to let them bully him? Or does he come out and continue to struggle and eventually cost St. Louis the series? He's great having success, especially at a young age, but it's all about how you handle failure that builds your resume as a player. NLCS MVP is great, but World Series MVP would be even better.