St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers
It’s game one of the 2011 World Series as the St. Louis Cardinals host the Texas Rangers. The Cardinals are -125 favorites over the Rangers with an over/under run total set at 7.5.
While the St. Louis Cardinals were the Wild Card Team who a little over a month ago didn’t even look like a team that would be playing in the post season, they find themselves in the Fall Classic and with the home field advantage. I’m not sure if there have ever been to many better jobs of managing a team through the final month of the season than Tony LaRussa and really his entire staff have done as the Cardinals went from being out of it to knocking off the favorites when they beat the Phillies and then beating the team who won their own division, the Milwaukee Brewers. Most of the news surrounding the Cards heading into the season had to do with Albert Pujols and his expiring contract and then injuries to the pitching staff when Adam Wainwright went down in Spring Training, but this team has endured and are four games away from being World Champions. While Pujols has been the star of the post season and he is the superstar of the Cardinals organization, it’s been players like Matt Holliday and David Freese coming up with clutch hits and Yadier Molina and Lance Berkman showing one more time why they are among the game’s elite. Chris Carpenter gets the ball for game one while he struggled for the bulk of the season he has come through in the clutch in the post season three hitting the Phillies in Philadelphia to close out that series and then putting together strong performances against Milwaukee. While Carpenter hasn’t looked like a former Cy Young Award Winner for the bulk of the season, he has of late and that’s when it has counted.
The Texas Rangers fell off of most people’s list of favorites to make the World Series when Cliff Lee decided not to resign with them after the end of last season but it is Lee who is watching the Series at home and the Rangers who are on Baseball’s biggest stage. The Rangers have played most of the season like a team on a mission to get back to the World Series, where their season ended in disappointment a year ago, and though they were in the tightest of all of the divisional races in baseball, it was more of a byproduct of the competition, not anything they did poorly. The Texas lineup has been on a tear from top to bottom as Ian Kinsler has been getting on base and stirring the pot, Josh Hamilton coming through with clutch hits and RBI’s , and Nelson Cruz hitting demoralizing home runs. While we can talk about the chemistry the Cardinals have, the Rangers team chemistry takes a back seat to none and Ron Washington has his team loose as they are a tightly knit bunch. For game one the Rangers give the ball to C.J. Wilson who has been their number one this season. Wilson hasn’t pitched like a number one of late but his numbers are somewhat inflated as he simply ran out of gas in his last outing at Detroit when the bullpen was depleted and he may have been left in just a bit too long. This stage shouldn’t bother Wilson too much as he’s been there before.
I expect both teams to come out swinging here and while the total is set at 7.5, this number is just way too low. We have to quality pitchers going but with adrenalin running sky high, the hits should be there. Take he over 7.5 here.