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October 22, 2013

World Series matchups: Sox in 7

(Continued)

Red Sox: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

A switch-hitter with power, "Salty" is another hairy member of Boston's beard brigade. He strikes out an awful lot, but when he gets a hold of one he can hit it a long way. And he probably hasn't received enough credit for the job he's done with an eclectic Red Sox pitching staff. David Ross also gets the occasional start behind the plate.

Edge: Cardinals

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Left Field:

Cardinals: Matt Holliday

A six-time All-Star, Holliday is a streaky hitter who nevertheless puts up consistent power numbers by the end of each season. He remains a legitimate thumper in the middle of the lineup, though his defense can be shaky. That could come into play at Fenway Park with the Green Monster right behind him.

Red Sox: Jonny Gomes or Daniel Nava

Another one of the gritty and grizzled newcomers contributing to Boston's success, Gomes brings a power bat and an upbeat attitude. Yes, he's prone to strikeouts, but he'll also work a walk. Sound familiar in this lineup? The Red Sox are 6-0 when he starts this postseason. Nava is an underrated switch-hitter who batted .303 with 12 homers and 66 RBIs this year.

Edge: Cardinals.

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Center Field:

Cardinals: Jon Jay or Shane Robinson

While his best attribute is a quality glove, Jay can hit the ball in the gap or steal a bag. He batted .206 without an extra-base hit in the playoffs, so Robinson started against a lefty in the NLCS clincher. With more power than expected for a little guy, Robinson is 3 for 8 in the postseason with three RBIs — including a pinch-hit homer at Dodger Stadium. He also is a solid defender.

Red Sox: Jacoby Ellsbury

The speedy sparkplug that gets Boston going, Ellsbury is a big reason the Red Sox scored 57 more runs than any other team this season. He spent most of September on the disabled list with a broken right foot, yet barely missed a beat. After leading the majors with 52 steals (in 56 tries), he swiped 6 of 7 in the AL playoffs while batting .400. He can become a free agent this fall, and while Ellsbury already is recognized as one of baseball's best leadoff hitters, a big World Series could only boost his asking price.

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