This is what all baseball fans wait for since the start of Spring Training and even t..."/> This is what all baseball fans wait for since the start of Spring Training and even t..."/>

Series 6 Pack: World Series Edition

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This is what all baseball fans wait for since the start of Spring Training and even though the Red Sox aren’t playing in the World Series, it’s still intriguing to watch.  There is nothing like the Fall Classic as it brings exciting plays, lights out pitching and heart stopping moments late in the games.  Yes, the World Series is upon us and it’s setting up to be a dandy.

Both the Cardinals and Rangers have been there before, but only the Cardinals know what it takes to win it all.  Does that play into the Cards advantage?  Considering the Rangers were at this point one season ago, it’s too close to call.

It’s one final Series 6 Pack for the 2011 season and this one is focusing on the two clubs.  A huge thanks to Alex from the Fansided Cardinals site, Redbird Rants for answering the 6 Pack.  We’re talkin’ bullpen comparisons, managerial decisions and of course, series predictions.  Enjoy!

1. Which team in your opinion has the advantage when comparing the starting rotations?

This is a much tougher question than I think many people realize. It’s a close call for sure, but I think I’d have to give the Rangers a slight edge in the starting pitching department. The reason I call this a tough question is because the starting rotations of both teams have been sub-par at best so far in the postseason. With that said, the Rangers posted 99 quality starts and a 19.8 fWAR during the regular season, which ranked third and second in MLB respectively. Texas has three playoff starters that are left-handed as compared to just Jaime Garcia (who hasn’t been incredibly effective) for St. Louis, which means that Berkman will be turned around to his weaker side and Jon Jay could struggle as the spark plug for that lineup. No matter what, I can’t imagine that either club is really all that confident at this point once they get past Carpenter and Wilson. 

2.  Both the Cardinals and Rangers’ bullpens have been brilliant this postseason.  When comparing the two, which one do you feel is stronger and provides a greater advantage?

I might confuse you with this answer, but I believe that the Rangers’ bullpen is stronger while the Cardinals’ bullpen provides more of an advantage. You could make the argument that Feldman, Ogando, and Feliz are all better than anyone in the St. Louis pen, and all have overpowering stuff. The Cardinals, on the other hand, don’t have guys in the bullpen that are going to intimidate hitters (other than Jason Motte), but all have simply gotten the job done to this point. The Cards bullpen is more of an advantage because they rely on it more than the Rangers do, and it can bail out the starter on any given night. However, many of these guys are in the latter half of their career, so the fact that they have logged a lot of innings scares me a little bit. 

3. Which players on the Cardinals must produce offensively in order for the Cards to win?

Obviously, Albert Pujols is going to have to live up to his reputation. If he does not, the Cards are in trouble. It’s probably foolish to expect another nine RBIs from David Freese, so Albert will be the go-to-guy for run production. This lineup doesn’t necessarily live and die with his production, but every guy certainly feeds off of his performance. The other two guys who must step up are Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina. Holliday looked bad at times in the NLCS, so he needs to prove he’s healthy to protect the aforementioned Pujols. Molina needs to continue his red-hot performance by taking solid at-bats (which doesn’t always mean a hit) to pose a threat in the bottom third of the order.

4.  If the series goes seven, do we see Carpenter three times and most likely on short rest?

Absolutely not. Tony La Russa made that mistake in game two of the NLDS, and he won’t make it again. Carpenter is no doubt a workhorse, but at some point, 250+ innings starts to catch up with you. We should be mindful of the fact that much of this decision rests on how well the other three starters pitch early in this series.

5.  Tony La Russa appears to be making the right moves at the right times and is even being rewarded for the risky moves.  How important will the managers role play in this series, seeing how one wrong move could cost the team a championship?

I have always been one who believes that the manager gets too much credit when the team succeeds and not enough when the team fails, but I don’t think there’s any denying that La Russa and Washington will have significant impacts on this series. While pinch-hitting and bullpen moves will be important, there is also a lot at stake as far as who to start. It should be interesting to see who plays and who doesn’t play against three Texas lefties, and it will also be interesting to see how short of a leash these starters are on. These two managers are typically quite active in the game, but at the end of the day, the players need to execute.

6.  Prediction for the series.  Who wins the 2011 World Series?

I kinda have to say the Cardinals win the series, but I actually believe deep down that they will be the champs in seven games. These two teams are so close in every facet of the game that it’s impossible to call, but I just can’t imagine the Cards falling short with all of the momentum in the world on their side. Anything can happen, and that’s why it’s the World Series. I’m not sure if the Cards can out-slug the Rangers, so there’s no question in my  ind that it will come down to starting pitching. And oh-by-the-way, home field advantage is extremely important if you ask me.

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