“Show Me” the way to a “Lone Star” champion

2011wsIt all comes down to this.

Two unlikely league victors do battle for the top spot in the greatest sport on Earth. One is a wild card, literally. The Cardinals were just an afterthought until September, but have beaten the best get here. The season has come fairly easy to the Rangers.They have been at the top virtually all year, but still were counted out when the pressure was on.

Well, the bright lights are on and all the naysayers sitting at home can only sit back and watch. Hopefully, they’ll watch because this isn’t exactly a must-see, casual baseball fan chomping at the bit type of World Series. But it should be. The Cardinals and Rangers deserve to play in this. Even though St. Louis does have 56 World Series game victories and Texas just has one, the two are near equivalents on the field. The 107th edition of the Fall Classic will indeed be one to remember.

It’s written the stars.

Only these aren’t a million miles away. Actually, they’re just 650 miles apart; the distance between Arlington and St. Louis.

Both lineups are full of star power. From top-to-bottom, they each sport a deep lineup.

With Ian Kinsler and David Murphy, the Rangers have guys that get on base. Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young bring them in.

Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina have been heating up for the Cardinals, while Jon Jay and David Freese have emerged as clutch performers.

If each had their go-to star, though, it’s Albert Pujols and Nelson Cruz.

Pujols is Pujols. It can only be predicted, on baseball’s biggest stage, that he will deliver and adapt to anything thrown at him. Pujols tallied six extra-base hits and nine RBI in the NLCS. So, he’s going to do what he does best. After all, he is a machine.

Cruz is Cruz. He’s quite intriguing. The power hitter does just as the title suggests and Cruz surely made a name for himself with clutch HRs in the postseason. That’s exactly what it takes to win this time of year. Cruz has proven he has it and a .364 ALCS BA.

While the offenses are potent, pitching will do its best to silence the bats. Both staffs surely can.

Nothing really jumps out about the starting pitching.

Chris Carpenter

and

C.J. Wilson

are the aces and get the nod for Game 1. Carpenter is the more polished of the two and has found his success already with a complete game shut out of the Phillies in the NLDS. Wilson, on the other hand, has found his way into struggles. He’s pitched just over 15 innings in the postseason, but has surrendered 14 earned run. The bullpens are relatively dismal but each has guys that are trusted to get the job done. It’s Mike Adams, Neftali Feliz and Darren Oliver versus Marc Rzepczynski, Fernando Salas and Arthur Rhodes. A unique mix of old and young may give way in the Rangers favor.

At the end of the day, there really couldn’t be a more evenly matched match up. The everyday lineup of the Rangers proves to be stronger. Especially after losing it last year, they’re hungry to fit a shiny ring on their finger. The Cardinals seem to be more consistent, all around. The “us against the world” mentality is working for them. I think it will in the end, too.

St. Louis in six.

photo credits: betvega.com, yahoo.com, nyd.com, redbirdrants.com, bronxbaseballdaily.com, freeextras.com

4 Comments

I saw a few of your Pirates prospects in AZ last weekend like Cole and Baker. It was so good to be able to watch baseball.
Hope you are doing well Matt.
Emma

So, I don’t know if you remember this, but you commented on my articles before last season started. I haven’t been back to write since then, but I am again. I’ve got one question, though: How do you write the way you do? Also, how do you add pictures? I’m only a high school student, so don’t be too surprised I can’t do all these things, but I do enjoy writing. Ha ha. Thanks!

-Brett Barnett a.k.a. pittsburghbaseball

Brett, email me mpeaslee@vindy.com. It won’t let me click the link to your blog.

Happy New Baseball Year, Matt! 42 days ’til pitchers & catchers report.

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