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Red Sox the pick in 7 games

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From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

This year’s World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox that begins Wednesday in Boston looks like a beauty, each finishing with a major-league 97 wins. It’s the first time in 14 seasons that the two best teams records-wise will meet in the Fall Classic. It’s a World Series that will provide fascinating matchups. Both teams have players that grind out at-bats, meaning long games.

With American League Championship Series MVP Koji Uehara anchoring the bullpen, the Red Sox appear unbeatable if they have the lead by the seventh inning.

The Cardinals are always a difficult team to eliminate in a series and know how to respond to pressure-paced situations. Two years ago, they were twice down to their last strike in Game 6 against Texas, but came back to triumph before winning Game 7.

World Series MVP David Freese and Allan Craig helped carried the Cardinals, combining for 4 home runs and 12 RBI overall in the Series. Freese hit .348 and Craig .263. Craig, who missed the last two playoff series with a sprained foot, is an RBI machine, batting .454 this season with runners in scoring position.

The Red Sox specialize in timely hits. David Ortiz and Shane Victorino each hit grand slam against Detroit in the ALCS. Two swings that produced two victories just like that.

Mike Napoli, who hit .350 with 2 HRs and 10 RBI for Texas in the 2011 Classic, is one of baseball’s most underrated hitters. The Cardinals may have a slight edge in the starting rotation, while the Red Sox get the nod in the bullpen.

Prediction: Red Sox in seven.

n All NFL teams have to battle injuries during a season, but the Steelers, Patriots, Packers, Falcons, Colts, Cowboys, Giants and Bears are really feeling the hurt in 2013. ... Andy Reid is the favorite for Coach of the Year, leading the Chiefs as the NFL’s last unbeaten team. They are improved from last year’s 2-14, especially on defense, but they have benefited from a last-place schedule. Kansas City has beaten only one winning team (Dallas), and the schedule becomes more challenging in the second half. ... Only two NFL teams have scored at least 20 points in all their games this season. The first is easy, Denver. The other is Buffalo, which has tallied 21-24-20-23-24-24-23 points in seven games.

n Division I hockey teams Clarkson and St. Lawrence are a combined 7-2-1 overall, with each squad having a nice blend of experience and freshmen. It would be gratifying to see one or both in the final four at the league’s return to Lake Placid after a 12-year absence.

Richie Rich’s Top 10 in college football: 1. Oregon; 2. Alabama; 3. Florida State; 4. Ohio State; 5. Stanford; 6. Missouri; 7. Baylor; 8. Miami; 9. Clemson; 10. Texas Tech.

Richie Rich’s Top 10 in the NFL: 1. Seahawks; 2. Saints; 3. Broncos; 4. Chiefs; 5. 49ers; 6. Patriots; 7. Colts; 8. Bengals; 9. Packers; 10. Cowboys.

Times sports copy editor Rich Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

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