If you're laughing at me while you're reading this preview, you have the right to. It seems that I know as much about who will win in the playoffs as I know about the politics of Nepal. Anyway, the Texas Rangers are in the World Series for the second straight year, and the Cardinals are in for the first time since 2006. One team is much better than the other, but the team that is worse has a ton of momentum going for it. What will hold up in this series?
Pitching: It would seem that the Rangers have a clear advantage pitching wise on paper, and they do. The starting rotation is better than the rotation of the Cardinals sans Chris Carpenter, and it also stems from their overall horrible performance in the NLCS against Milwaukee. But, the staff was very good in the NLDS against Philly, so it seems like a wash right now. The Cardinals bullpen had been much maligned, but stepped up big time against the Brewers, but has the possibility of flaming out. I don't think that is happening so fast. The Rangers bullpen has been very good this postseason, with guys like Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Neftali Feliz shutting the door at the closer spot. Even though the Cardinals have been pitching pretty well this postseason, it just feels that the Rangers are a better bet pitching wise.
Hitting: The Rangers had some hitting troubles in the ALDS, but those were quickly erased in the ALCS when the bats exploded, especially that of Nelson Cruz. They are a consistent hitting team and have many weapons with which to use, which is similar to that of St. Louis. Their offense was on fire in the NLCS after having some issues in the NLDS. The Cardinals are getting more production from unsung guys like John Jay and David Freese, and even though the Rangers have possibly a better offense on paper, the Cardinals right now are a more potent and cohesive unit.
Advantage: St. Louis
X-Factor: Home field advantage has some value in the World Series, and the Cardinals have it, so it could play a role down the stretch, even though there hasn't been a Game 7 in the World Series since 2002, but when there is, the home team is in a great position. The Rangers are 4-1 at home this postseason, compared to 3-2 on the road, and St. Louis is 4-2 on the road, compared to 3-2 at home. Since both managers have been in the World Series before and well know what's going on, this is a wash.
Pick: I think the Cardinals magical ride ends at the hands of a better team in Texas. They deserve it.
Rangers in 5 (Sorry Rangers Fans)