CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Fall Classic will begin on Wednesday in St.Louis, as the St.Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers have outlasted the rest of the teams in the Majors for the right to battle for the World Series. St.Louis took out the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers, while the Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers.
Below are my thoughts on the Rangers and Cardinals, and what team is going to do enough to take home the title in this year’s World Series.
Texas Rangers vs St.Louis Cardinals
Schedule: (All times EDT)
- Game 1, Wednesday, at St. Louis (TBA)
- Game 2, Thursday, at St. Louis (TBA)
- Game 3, Saturday, at Arlington, Texas (TBA)
- Game 4, Sunday, at Arlington, Texas (TBA)
- x-Game 5, Monday, Oct. 24, at Arlington, Texas (TBA)
- x-Game 6, Wednesday, Oct. 26, at St. Louis (TBA)
- x-Game 7, Thursday, Oct. 27, at St. Louis (TBA)
(All games on FOX). x-if necessary.
- 2B Ian Kinsler (.255, 32, 77, 121 runs, 30 SBs)
- SS Elvis Andrus (.279, 5, 60, 96 runs, 37 SBs)
- CF Josh Hamilton (.298, 25, 94 in 121 games)
- DH Michael Young (career-high .338, 11, 106 with 213 hits)
- 3B Adrian Beltre (.296, 32, 105)
- C Mike Napoli (career highs .320, 30, 75 in 113 games)
- RF Nelson Cruz (.263, 29, 87 in 124 games)
- LF David Murphy (.275, 11, 46)
- 1B Mitch Moreland (.259, 16, 51)
- SS Rafael Furcal (.231, 8 HRs, 28 RBIs, 9 SBs with Dodgers and Cardinals)
- CF Jon Jay (.297, 10, 37)
- 1B Albert Pujols (.299, 37, 99, 105 runs)
- RF Lance Berkman (.301, 31, 94, .412 OBP)
- LF Matt Holliday (.296, 22, 75, .388 OBP)
- 3B David Freese (.297, 10, 55)
- C Yadier Molina (.305, 14, 65, both career bests)
- 2B Ryan Theriot (.271, 1, 47, 442 ABs, 18 errors) or Skip Schumaker (.283, 2, 38) or Nick Punto (.278, 1, 20, 133 ABs)
- LH C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA, career-high 223 1-3 IP, 206 Ks, 74 walks)
- RH Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40)
- LH Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95, 4 shutouts; 10-1 with 2.77 ERA in last 15 starts)
- LH Matt Harrison (14-9, 3.39)
- RH Chris Carpenter (11-9, 3.49, 237 1-3 innings, 191 Ks, 4 CGs, 2 shutouts)
- LH Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56, 2 shutouts)
- RH Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79 with White Sox and Cardinals; 5-2, 3.58 for St. Louis since trade-deadline deal)
- RH Kyle Lohse (14-8, 3.49 ERA, 1 shutout)
- RH Neftali Feliz (2-3, 2.74, 32/38 saves)
- RH Mike Adams (2-3, 2.10, 1 save in 27 games for Rangers; 3-1, 1.13 in 48 appearances for Padres)
- RH Alexi Ogando (13-8, 3.51 in 31 games, 29 starts, for converted reliever who returned to bullpen for postseason)
- LH Michael Gonzalez (2-2, 4.39 in 56 games for Rangers and Orioles)
- LH Darren Oliver (5-5, 2.29, 61 games)
- RH Scott Feldman (2-1, 3.94 in 11 games, 2 starts, since return from microfracture surgery on right knee)
- RH Koji Uehara (2-3, 2.35 in 65 games for Rangers and Orioles)
- RH Yoshinori Tateyama (2-0, 4.50, 1 save, 39 games)
- RH Jason Motte (5-2, 2.25, 9/13 saves, 78 games)
- RH Fernando Salas (5-6, 2.28, 24/30 saves)
- RH Octavio Dotel (3-3, 3.28, 2 saves)
- LH Marc Rzepczynski (0-3, 3.97)
- RH Lance Lynn (1-1, 3.12, 1 save, 18 games, 2 starts, 40 Ks, 34 2-3 IP)
- LH Arthur Rhodes (0-1, 4.15 in 19 games with Cardinals; 3-3, 4.81, 1 save in 32 games with Rangers)
- RH Mitchell Boggs (2-3, 3.56, 4 saves), RH Kyle McClellan (12-7, 4.19, 43 games, 17 starts)
The Rangers will try to be the first team since the Oakland A’s in 1988 and 1989 to win the World Series one year after losing it. Texas is the first team to repeat as AL champions since the New York Yankees won four straight pennants from 1998-2001. The Rangers are a confident bunch, they seem poised as the better team to take home the title, but the Cardinals have been playing forever like a team with nothing to lose, and it’s paying off.
The matchup between two of baseball’s deepest bullpens should be fascinating. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was extremely aggressive during the NL championship series against division rival Milwaukee, pulling his starters early at the first sign of real trouble. It worked, thanks to poised performances from unheralded arms such as Lynn, Motte, Salas, Dotel and Rzepczynski. La Russa wanted an eight-man bullpen with enough right-handers to attack Milwaukee’s big ri ght-handed bats. He faces a similar scenario against Texas, especially after Cruz went on a record tear to win MVP honors in the ALCS.
With three left-handers in the Texas rotation, Theriot and outfielder Allen Craig (.315, 11, 40, 200 ABs) could see significant playing time for the Cardinals. Freese, the NLCS MVP who is enjoying a big postseason, might also move up in the lineup, with Jay dropping down toward the bottom. … Even though they boast some bruising right-handed bats in the middle of the order, the Cardinals had trouble with a pair of lefties in the NL playoffs: Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels and Milwaukee’s Randy Wolf. St. Louis did rally against Lee to springboard a stunning upset of the heavily favored Phillies in the first round.
The Cardinals have been playing on high emotion since they got into the playoffs on the last day of the season. They have homefield, and it will be interesting after playing at such a high level for so long if they can carry it for another series, or if they will finally have a bit of a letdown. Another factor, Pujols can also become a free agent this fall. He’s having a strong postseason, and if he leaves St. Louis it would be a surprise.
Texas finished the regular season winning its last six games, and 14 of 16, to hold off Detroit for home-field advantage in the first round. That came in handy when the teams met in the ALCS as the Rangers went 3-0 at home to eliminate the Tigers with a 15-5 romp in Game 6. The Rangers have increased their win total each year under Washington, who is in his fifth season.
Prediction: The Rangers have flexed their muscles and shown all postseason why they are the AL West Champs. They havn’t lost consecutive games since dropping three in a row to Boston from August 23rd to the 25th. St.Louis has got to the World Series relying on their offense as well, and at some point they are going to slow down, as you can only play so well for so long, and here’s thinking it comes to an end here. Texas is going to take one of two in St.Louis, win two of three in Texas, and then wrap it up in six.
Follow Matt Loede on Twitter @MattNFLGG