Boston got back their former pitching coach, John Farrell, who was on the two team that won in 2007 in that role. In 2004, Farrell was the director of player development for the Indians. Farrell left his position as pitching coach for the Red Sox to take over the Toronto Blue Jays as manager. After leading the Jays to a 81-81 record in 2011, the team struggled to a 73-89 season in 2012. While the Red Sox were always interested in Farrell as a future team manager, Farrell was the one who chose to get out of his contract with the Blue Jays to take the job. The Red Sox were the only AL East team that finished with a worse record than Toronto (69-93). Farrell has inherited a team that managed to mold itself into a winner, which is credit to him. The pitching staff in particular, has stood out. He deserves credit for that as well.
After the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011, long time manager Tony LaRussa retired, finishing off his Hall of Fame managerial career. Former MLB catcher Mike Matheny, who had been the Cardinals minor league instructor, was named manager to succeed LaRussa. As if being the replacement for LaRussa wasn't enough, the Cardinals also lost star 1B Albert Pujols to free agency. Matheny successfully led the Cardinals to a Wild Card appearance (as the 1st ever 2nd Wild Card team) in his first season in 2012. The Cardinals made it to the 7th game of the NLCS after defeating the Braves in the Wild Card game and the Nationals in the NLDS. The Cardinals won the NL Central this season, in what was the most competitive division in MLB. St Louis edged the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds, the two Wild Card teams in the National League this season. Similar to prior seasons, the Cardinals have been able to insert players to replace others who are either injured or no longer part of the team. If LaRussa got credit for this, the same has to go to Matheny.
In a battle of managers, you have one who has three seasons of managerial experience to another that has two. One manager has been in the postseason before. I have a difficult time giving one an advantage over the other. I do, however, find it fascinating that both teams are here without LaRussa and Terry Francona. The prior managers are known for their success and past World Series titles. With a win, one of the two WS managers this season will start to build that type of resume.