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St. Louis Cardinals vs Texas Rangers: World Series Preview
Posted By Chaz Ingram On Oct 19 2011 @ 5:18 pm In MLB,St. Louis Cardinals,Texas Rangers | 6 Comments
The Cardinals are making their eighteenth appearance in the World Series and seeking their eleventh championship. Manager Tony LaRussa is making his third trip to the series and seeking his second World Series title as Cardinals skipper (the first coming in 2006).
The Texas Rangers are returning to the World Series for a second year in a row. In their first appearance in franchise history they lost last year to the San Francisco Giants in five games.
Both teams enter the World Series with a certain sense of offensive swagger and confidence after impressive Division and Championship series wins in their respective leagues. The Cardinals and Rangers boast offenses that are capable of producing explosive innings while providing migraines for opposing mangers.
The Cardinals blasted the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series with a .310 BA, more than seven runs per game and 24 extra base hits. Redbirds’ hitters hammered a pitching staff that had dominated them for the better part of the regular season, up until, of course, late August. The middle of the lineup Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and David Freese combined to hit .443 with six homeruns and 25 RBI’s. Freese was named NLCS MVP for his manhandling of Brewers’ pitching. The Cardinals also defeated everybody’s preseason pick to win the World Series in 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies in the national league division series three games to two. 
Despite an identity crisis for three quarters of the 2011 season in which their record hovered around the .500 mark the Redbirds discovered just who they were in late August to go 23-9 the rest of the way and make the playoffs in dramatic fashion. They scored 128 runs in 26 games during the month of September to overcome an 8.5 game deficit to the Atlanta Braves, one of the largest ever overcome by a team in MLB history.
Despite their brief World Series history the Texas Rangers are not, in the least bit, intimidated by the Cardinals, veterans of post season play. In fact, the Rangers are named the favorites to win the series by most baseball analysts in part due to their beastly lineup and their 59-28 record since July 4. The Rangers had the best batting average in the majors (.283). They finished second in the American League in homers (210) and slugging percentage (.460).
Three Rangers sluggers hit at least 30 homeruns this season, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler. Nelson Cruz, ALCS MVP came pretty close with 29.
The key for St. Louis and Texas to winning this World Series will be starting pitching and the bullpen. To state the obvious quality starts during the post season have been a real problem for both teams during post season play in 2011.
Texas’ starting pitching had a 6.59 ERA in the ALCS. Cardinals’ starters had a 7.03 ERA. If that stat doesn’t change in a big way this could be a long series. No Cardinals’ pitcher, with the exception of Chris Carpenter went past the fifth inning during the post season. Texas’ regular season success was in large part due to the success of their starting rotation. Each Rangers’ starter won at least 13 games during the regular season, which made their post season troubles even more mind boggling. No Texas starter won a game in the ALCS.
LaRussa named ace Chris Carpenter, 2-0 in post season, game one starter immediately after the Cardinals victory over Milwaukee in the NLCS. Texas will counter with their ace C.J. Wilson who is 0.2 during the post season with an 8.04 ERA in three starts. This one is destined to live up to its more popularly used nickname a Fall Classic. Let the games begin!
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