2011 MLB World Series: The St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers!
Just how everyone imagined it, right? It doesn't surprise me that these two teams made the final series, because that's exactly how this year has gone in baseball. We've learned to expect the unexpected. Both of these teams lost their BEST pitcher from the previous year. The Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright to injury before the season started, and the Rangers lost their Ace Cliff Lee to free agency. Both teams were expected to regress - neither team was supposed to be here. That's what makes this an interesting World Series and one that I will absolutely watch. Click after the jump for more cutting edge analysis and a Prediction! We all know I love to speculate wildly...
Texas Rangers - In case any of you chose not to watch the ALCS - Nelson Cruz was an absolute monster. He belted 6 HRs, drove in 13 runs, and had an OPS of 1.173. He bats 7th in the Rangers lineup. To say that these guys have a deep lineup is an understatement. There are simply no holes. They can hit for power (Hamilton, Cruz, Beltre, Napoli, and Kinsler all hit 25+ HRs), they can get on base and steal (Andrus and Kinsler each had 30+ SBs), and they manufacture runs (855 runs which was 3rd most in Baseball). Their Starting pitching is a bit shaky at thats probably where the Cardinals have the distinct advantage in this series. I just don't trust anyone after C.J. Wilson who hasn't exactly made a strong case for himself with his looming free agency. But what the Rangers lack in the starting rotation they absolutely make up for it in the bullpen. They shored up their bullpen at the trade deadline - and with youngster Alexei Ogando looking like a stud in the pen - should the starters get in any trouble manager Ron Washington will have full confidence in the bullpen to get the job done.
St. Louis Cardinals - Home Field advantage and Albert Pujols. Pujols will single-handedly win at least one game in this World Series. He's far and above the best player of our generation and will earn some serious Cash-Money in this year's free agent market because of what he's been able to accomplish this year. The other huge advantage the Cardinals will have is the fact that they are the home team for 4 out of the 7 games. This was decided when the NL beat the AL 5-1 at the All-Star game in Arizona this past July. I'm sure we will get a heavy dose of the famous Tony La Russa 'masterful maneuvering' as he's definitely been on a good streak lately. The Cardinals just advanced through the NLCS without having a starting pitcher go more than five innings. That's a lot of mound visits, and a lot of help from the bullpen. They'll need to be better if they expect to come out as victors in this matchup.
Prediction: Since 2001 - NINE different teams have been crowned World Series Champions. The Cardinals achieved that stature in 2006 when they beat the Tigers 4-1. The only team to be crowned twice since then has been the Boston Red Sox. Who said there isn't parity in Baseball? When it comes down to it, I think the Rangers' lineup is too strong and will overmatch the coaching and pitching of the St. Louis Cardinals. For my prediction, I am going with the Texas Rangers to win in 6 games and make it 10 different World Series Champions in the past 11 years.
Below is a schedule of the games along with the Projected starting pitchers: All games are on FOX.
Game 1: Wednesday October 19th - Texas (Wilson) at St. Louis (Carpenter)
Game 2: Thursday October 20th - Texas (Lewis) at St. Louis (Garcia)
Game 3: Saturday October 22nd - St. Louis (Jackson) at Texas (Holland)
Game 4: Sunday October 23rd - St. Louis (Lohse) at Texas (Harrison)
Game 5 (if necessary): Monday October 24th - St. Louis (Carpenter) at Texas (Wilson)
Game 6 (if necessary): Wednesday October 26th - Texas (Lewis) at St. Louis (Garcia)
Game 7 (if necessary): Thursday October 27th - Texas (Holland) at St. Louis (Jackson)
Enjoy the 2011 MLB World Series!