SWB World Series Preview

Well..it all comes down to this. Texas Rangers. St. Louis Cardinals.  107th World Series.

The Texas Rangers easily won game 6 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers 15-5 to win their second consecutive AL pennant.  The Rangers’ nine run 3rd inning did the Tigers in as the Rangers had 17 hits in the game. Nelson Cruz was named ALCS MVP after hitting six home runs along with 13 RBIs. In the ALDS, the Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in four games. Things did not look great for the Rangers after their ace CJ Wilson got blasted for six runs in a 9-1 loss in Game 1 of the ALDS.  However, after falling behind in Game 2, the Rangers went on to win the next three games and take the series in four. A five run 4th inning in Game 2 off of James Shield was enough to tie the series. The Rays had another lead in Game 3 but Texas used another four run inning to pick up a 2-1 series lead.  In Game 4, the Rangers hit four solo home runs including three from Adrian Beltre to propel themselves to their second straight ALCS.  The Cardinals put up nine runs in the first three innings of Game 6 of the NLCS against the Brewers and cruised to a 12-6 win. With the win, the Cardinals advanced to their first World Series since 2006.  David Freese won the NLCS MVP after hitting .545 in the series with three home runs and nine RBIs. In the NLDS, the Cardinals shocked the baseball world by upsetting the Philadelphia Phillies in five games. After getting blasted by the Phillies in Game 1, the Cardinals won Game 2 as Cliff Lee blew a four run lead. Ben Francisco won Game 3 for the Phillies on a pinch-hit home run, but the Red Birds and their stupid squirrel got to Roy Oswalt in Game 4 to tie the series.  The Cardinals scored just one run off Roy Halladay in Game 5, but it was enough as the Phillies’ bats went ice-cold.

Who are the Texas Rangers?

In the regular season, the Texas Rangers absolutely mashed the baseball. As a team they hit 210 home runs (3rd in the American League), scored 855 runs (Also 3rd in the American League), hit .283 (1st in the American League) and had a .800 OPS (2nd in the American League). In a shocking development, Michael Young led the team in batting average at .338.  It’s the sixth season in Young’s career of over 200 hits.  However, despite the succesful regular season,  Young is only hitting .209 in 43 postseason at bats. The Rangers had four players hit at least 25 home runs and five players with at least 242 total bases.  Adrian Beltre was tied for the team lead  in home runs and led the team in RBIs while only playing in 124 games. Beltre has three home runs in the playoffs, all in Game 4 of the ALDS, but is only hitting .238. CJ Wilson was the ace of the pitching staff, winning 16 games, with 206 strike outs and a 2.94 ERA.  Wilson has struggled mightily in the postseason, posting an ERA over eight in three starts. All five starters in the Rangers’ rotation won at least 13 games.  Derek Holland, who is starting Game 2, went 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA.  Neftali Feliz is the closer for the Rangers and saved 32 games in the regular season. However, fans were worried because his strikeouts were down and his blown saves were up .  Feliz has been wonderful in the postseason, saving four games along with a 1.17 ERA. He has finished six games in the playoffs including Game Six of the ALCS. Mike Adams, the great set up man acquired from San Diego at the trade deadline, posted a 2.10 ERA in 27 games in Texas.  Alexi Ogando, who was a starter during the season, will be put in the bullpen to solidify an already great group of relievers. Ogando was the winning pitcher in Game Six of the ALCS.

Who are the St.Louis Cardinals?

On September 1st, the St. Louis Cardinals were 8.5 games behind the Braves for the NL Wildcard.  However, after a magic month, they caught the Braves and overtook them on the final day. They are loaded offensively with Yadier Molina,  Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols. Berkman had a bounce back year, hitting 31 home runs and 94 RBIs, all the while slugging .959. Berkman is only hitting .237 in the playoffs, but hit a monster three run home run in Game One of the NLDS. Albert Pujols  had a down year for him, but a very good year for anyone else not named Pujols.  Albert hit 34 home runs, with 99 RBIs, and hit .299. It was the first time in 11 years, he didn’t hit .300, hit 30 home runs and have 100 RBIs.  Pujols took out his frustrations of a bad year on the Phillies and Brewers. Albert has hit .419 in the playoffs, slugging .721 and has 10 RBIs. Matt Holiday had a .388 OBP in 124 games, but was injured off and on all season. He started the last two games against the Phillies in the NLDS and has hit .375 in the playoffs.  Yadier Molina led the team in hitting at .305 and you know about the defense he provides.Former Phillie Kyle Lohse had 14 wins with a 3.49 ERA to lead Red Birds in both categories.  However, he’s been awful in his two postseason starts, giving up 8 earned runs in 9 and 2/3 innings. Chris Carpenter had a down year for his standards. He went 4-7 with a 3.85  ERA in the first half of the year, but rebounded to go 7-2 with a 2.98 ERA in the second half. He was magnificent in Game Five of the NLDS against the Phillies, throwing a three hit shutout. Jaime Garcia went 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA this season.  Garcia slowed down in the second half. After going 9-3 with a 3.22 ERA in the first half, Jaime posted a 4.07 ERA in the second half. His average 2nd half has continued into the postseason as he has posted a 5.74 ERA in three starts.  The Cardinals’ bullpen was absolutely dreadful in the regular season, finishing second in all of baseball in blown saves.  However, guys have Arthur Rhodes, Jason Motte and Lance Lynn have been eating their Wheaties as they have posted 0 ERAs.  Even Octavio Dotel, who has been traded to almost every team in baseball, has managed to get people out with a 1.35 ERA.

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2 thoughts on “SWB World Series Preview

  1. Pingback: SwBS 2011 World Series Picks « Sports With Balls Blog

  2. Pingback: World Series Game 7 Links « Sports With Balls Blog

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