World Series Preview: Cardinals and Rangers set to face-off
Starting tomorrow at 5:05PM PT Game 1 of the 2011 World Series will be under way between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers.
The Rangers will be back in the Fall Classic for the second year in a row falling to the San Francisco Giants last year in five games. This year, they bring a revamped offense to the diamond. The additions of Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli have made their stacked offense, that much more scarier. Here’s how scary their lineup is- 5 of their 9 starters have 20+ HR’s, 3 of those 5 have 30+ HR’s with ALCS MVP Nelson Cruz almost adding that number to four with one home run run shy of 30, while four of their starters have 80+ RBI. The Rangers starting pitching looks almost identical to last year’s staff with the exception of Tommy Hunter who was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Koji Uehara. The Rangers rotation has an era of 3.63 during the regular season. During the Postseason, their era has inflated to 5.50. That can be a problem with the hot bats of the Cardinals. The Rangers bullpen has been solid during the Postseason with an era of 2.24. The additions of Koji Uehara from the Orioles and Mike Adams from the Padres, not to mention flame thrower Neftali Feliz closing games out, have made this bullpen a force at the end of the game.
The Cardinals come into October hot with a record of 18-8 in the month of September. That hot streak has kept burning through the Postseason as they beat the “fluke” Philadelphia Phillies and the team of many personalities, the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals bats have come alive with the emergence of NLCS MVP David Freese and Albert Pujols leading the way. Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday have put together a nice October protecting Freese and Pujols. The Cards starting pitching have been a little bit of a disappointment in the Postseason with the exception of Chris Carpenter, with an ERA of 5.48. The rotation has an ERA of 3.74 during the regular season. The Cardinals needed some bullpen help down the stretch so GM John Mozeliak went out and acquired Marc Rzepczynski, Arthur Rhodes, and Octavio Dotel. This October, their bullpen has an era of 2.57era.
This will be a well matched series. Both offenses have bats that can put a dent in the scoreboard with Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and the list goes on and on. Both teams have had some shaky starting pitching, but have been rock solid out of the bullpen. Ron Washington and Tony LaRussa will manage their teams well because both have had World Series experience.
My prediction for the Fall Class is…the Cardinals will be crowned World Series Champions. Their rotation is better than the Rangers. Chris Carpenter, Edwin Jackson, Jaime Garcia, and Kyle Lohse will out duel a struggling CJ Wilson, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, and Derek Holland. There will be quite a few runs crossing the plate, but the Cardinals will score enough to win the World Series for the second-time six years. They will be celebrating on home turf when they come back home to play Games 6 and 7.