Plain and simple it is Texas’ time to shine. The Texas Rangers will win the 2011 World Series 4 games to 3. Let me explain why…
The Texas Rangers are entering their second World Series in a row as the American League representative and this year they are much better. With the help of Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton they will be hoisting the Commissioner’s trophy in just over a week.
Game 1: Chris Carpenter vs. CJ Wilson
Someone recently said to me that Chris Carpenter is good but for some reason he seems to only pitch really well when he has to and by has to, this person meant, the season is on the line and the Cardinals have to win in order to move on. This was evident in both the final game of the regular season and the NLDS. In the last game of the season with the Cardinals playoff hopes still alive, Carpenter pitched a gem in a nine inning win over the Astros. In the NLDS, his first start was shaky, however his second start which was a must win for St. Louis, was brilliant. In the NLCS, even though Carpenter won, their season wasn’t at stake and as a result he pitched a mediocre game. This is all evidence as to how the Rangers can take advantage of Carpenter and jump out to an early series lead after game one.
While the Cardinals don’t have as many big bats as the Rangers do, they will put up an offensive fight. The Cardinals with the help of Albert Pujols and David Freese should be able to put up a considerable amount of runs however they will have to rely on their pitching to contain the Rangers. The Rangers batted Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Michael Young, and Elvis Andrus in the one through five spots in their World Series clinching game over Detroit however it was their number six hitter that won the MVP of the ALCS that helped them advance, Nelson Cruz. Cruz hit .364 with six homers and 13 rbis in the ALCS and he doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. In order to match up with these six bats, the Cardinals would need two more Albert Pujols’ to even up the hitting. ADVANTAGE – RANGERS
“The Rangers had a starters’ ERA of 6.59 in the American League Championship Series, the second-highest for an AL team that went to the World Series.” (mlb.com) This statistic is mind blowing. The fact that the Rangers pitching gave up on average six and a half runs per game and somehow managed to win the series doesn’t help their chances when it comes to defeating a pretty impressive pitching staff in St. Louis. St. Louis on the other hand has three pitchers in Carpenter, Garcia, and Jackson who are much more impressive then the Rangers top three. The only thing standing in their way from taking the series however is the Rangers offense. In the end, if the offense was more balanced than the Cardinals pitching would carry them to their eleventh title. ADVANTAGE – CARDINALS
The biggest question mark of the series is, will Jason Motte be able to close out games? He is the fourth closer the Cardinals have used this season and he is not as impressive as the Rangers’ Neftali Feliz. The Cardinals did make important acquisitions throughout the season to help their bullpen such as Octavio Dotel, Arthur Rhodes, and Marc Rzepczynski however they do not compare with the likes of Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams, Darren Oliver, and the rest of the Rangers bullpen. In the end, it is the closers that will decide which bullpen succeeds and as of now the edge goes to Feliz. ADVANTAGE – RANGERS
MVP Prediction: Nelson Cruz or Josh Hamilton I can’t decide.
In the end I do believe the Cardinals have the better manager in Tony La Russa however the fact that the Rangers have not only a better bullpen but also a much better offense will help the Rangers claim their first title. The Texas Rangers will win the series in seven games unless three of the Rangers top six hitters are knocked out of the series. For that to happen however, the Cardinals would have to strike gold and pull off another rally like they did in September.