The St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers match up with one another in the World Series beginning on Wednesday. If you predicted this World Series a couple of weeks ago, well played. If you love offense, this series is going to be right up your ally. If you like great starting pitching with 2-1 scores and nail-biting games, I suggest you watch a hockey game Wednesday night instead (or “Happy Endings”; hilarious show).
St. Louis’ starting pitching numbers for the postseason are 3-4 with an ERA of 4.96. They have only struck out 41 batters in 54 innings. The Phillies and Brewers hit a combined .284 against Cardinals starters. Those numbers include Chris Carpenter‘s complete-game shutout in game five against Philly. When you break it down individually, it gets even worse. Jaime Garcia is 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA, Edwin Jackson is 1-0 with a 5.84 ERA and Kyle Lohse is 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA.
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This staff will now face the team with the best team batting average in the American League this year. As awful as the Cardinals starters have been, their bullpen has been astounding. The Card’s bullpen is 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA, and opponents have only hit .187 against them. The Cardinals won by playing tournament baseball in virtually every game, and you have to wonder if it will catch up with them. The Cardinals restructured their bullpen on the fly this year with a revolving door at closer (remember Ryan Franklin?) and the Colby Rasmus trade landing them Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski. They also acquired Arthur Rhodes from the Rangers in August.
If you’re a Rangers fan, you have to think “get to the starters as fast as you can.” Cardinals fans will say the same for Texas. The Rangers starters fared a little bit worse with a 3-4 record and an ERA of 5.62. They pitched fewer innings than the Cardinals’ starters did. Colby Lewis has been the Rangers’ Carpenter with a 1-1 record and a 3.86 ERA. Matt Harrison is 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA. Derek Holland is 1-0 with a 5.27 ERA. Then there’s their “ace” C.J. Wilson who is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA (probably costing himself $20 million as a free agent this winter). Their bullpen, like the Cardinals, has been outstanding with a 4-0 record and a 2.34 ERA. They also rebuilt their bullpen on the fly by acquiring Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez in separate trades with the Orioles and getting Mike Adams from the Padres.
These two teams are very similar. Both can hit the baseball and have great bullpens. If you like a lot of offense and a lot of pitching changes, you will enjoy this series. If you love starting pitching (and, if you’re FOX, if it’s a short series) you may not enjoy it as much.
Prediction: Rangers in six