Pujols Leaving on a High Note? (World Series Preview)

The Fall Classic is set and it will be a thriller as both teams have come this far through their offence. Both the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals have out hit their opponents in the playoffs and have relied on some key pitching to win their games. With two offensive powerhouses in the World Series the Fall Classic should be a lights out series with plenty of offence to keep the fans interested. The Texas Rangers will be looking to improve on last year’s performance where they came up just short of winning the World Series. After some years of mediocrity the Rangers moved back into the forefront in 2010. They won the AL West in 2010, a first since 1999, and moved into the playoffs. While in the playoffs the Rangers moved through the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees to earn the AL Pennant and a spot in the Fall Classic. They came up just short as they were beat out by the San Francisco Giants in 5 games. This year the Rangers would try to repeat this performance and take it one step further in 2011 but would have to do it without their ace Cliff Lee who left for Philadelphia in the offseason. The Rangers regular season without Lee was mediocre at best with the team above .500 but not very far. In July the Rangers began to pull away in the race for the West with an 18-9 record and they finished the season with another great month in September with a 19-6 record. With these two great months the Rangers ensured their spot as the AL West Champions and moved into the playoffs. The Playoffs saw them face a familiar foe in the Tampa Bay Rays who put a scare into them in-game one but were not enough to knock them out. In the ALCS the Rangers faced Detroit and thanks to a great series by Nelson Cruz the rangers were able to beat the Tigers in 6 games. The Rangers will return the World Series and will look to earn their first World Series after winning their second AL Pennant behind their strong batting and bullpen. Meanwhile the Cardinals will be looking to give Albert Pujols a reason to stay with the club next year when he becomes a free agent. Many believe that Pujols will leave the Cardinals franchise as a free agent and if he does decide to leave he will want to go out with a bang and a World Series to boost his price in the offseason. The Cardinals will attempt to sign him in the offseason as he has been a big part of the club this season. The Cardinals are one of the oldest teams in the MLB and one of the most successful with 10 World Series and 18 NL Pennants to their names. The last World Series came in 2006 with some of the same cast as they had this year. The Cardinals had a much different path to the World Series as they struggled throughout the season with an up and down year. Entering the last month of the season the Cardinals were eliminated from the NL Central race and many assumed they would not make the wild card too as they were down 10 ½ games on August 24th to the Atlanta Braves. With a 17-8 record in September the Cardinals were able to overcome the deficit and make the playoffs in a wild race for the wild card. In the playoffs the Cardinals rode their superstar Albert Pujols and the rest of their offence past the Philadelphia Phillies in 5 games and then the Milwaukee Brewers in 6 games. The Cardinals will go into the World Series against the Rangers to win another World Series and possibly Albert Pujols’ last World Series with the team. Both teams have powerhouse offences and a shutdown bullpen but the pitching will win this series as both teams look to win the 107th Fall Classic.

The Series will come down to the starting pitching as both teams do not have the best rotation but do have explosive offences. On offence the Cardinals are very good at the top with Rafael Furcal, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, and Matt Holliday as well as the emerging David Freese who won the NLCS MVP. From then on the Cards are pretty weak with a few players that can hit for average but are rarely a threat to put together a lot of runs. The Rangers are so deep that it is scary with almost every spot in their lineup a threat to score. With the speedy Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus at the top and Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, and Mike Napoli in position to hit anyone home with one swing of the bat the Rangers are dangerous and that is before their MVP power hitter steps to the plate. Nelson Cruz came out big in the ALCS showing his power hitting 7 HRs batting in the 7th spot. The offences are both powerful but with few weak spot in the lineup the Rangers seem to be the better lineup. The rotations are a soft spot for both teams as they have both struggled to keep the opponents offence in check. The Rangers will have C.J. Wilson as their ace starter but he has been in trouble this offseason with a 8.00 plus ERA. The rest of the Rangers lineup has been able to keep the Rangers in games with Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, and Matt Harrison but none have been lights out. The Cardinals will ride their ace starter Chris Carpenter who has been the ace they need throughout the playoffs. The rest of the rotation is good enough with Edwin Jackson, Jaime Garcia, and Kyle Lohse filling it out. All of the other pitchers for the Cards are slightly better than the Rangers and with Wilson struggling and Carpenter pitching well the Cards seem to have the edge in the starting rotation. The Bullpens will be another key part to both teams especially if the rotations cannot hold up against the offences. The Rangers have two very good shutdown pitchers that will close out the games and frustrate the Cards. Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando will be the shutdown pair for the Rangers in the bullpen with Mike Adams acting as a setup man for Feliz in the late innings. The Cardinals will have a host of bullpen pitchers that can come in and end any rally by a team. With Jason Motte taking the 9th inning the Cards look to Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepcynski, Octavio Dotel, and Lance Lynn to fill in the other innings as needed. With more depth in the bullpen the Cards take the matchup although the pair in the Rangers is very good and could be as good as the committee in St. Louis.

 

World Series Prediction:

St. Louis Cardinals 4 vs. 3 Texas Rangers

– Both teams have powerful offences that can break out at any time and because of this the team with the better pitching will win this series and this is the St. Louis Cardinals but the Rangers won’t make it easy

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