MLB Betting – Rangers vs Cardinals 2011 World Series Preview & Pick
If you saw a Rangers/Cardinals World Series coming before this season started, I suggest you enter the psychic business. A return to the Fall Classic was certainly conceivable for Texas but few handicappers gave St. Louis a chance after it lost Adam Wainwright to Tommy John surgery.
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Will the Cards’ underdog status finally catch up to them or will they complete an improbable championship run?
2011 WORLD SERIES: Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
World Series odds: Rangers -155, Cardinals +135
Game One: Wed., Oct. 19th – Rangers at Cardinals – 7:05 PM CT
Game Two: Thurs., Oct. 20th – Rangers at Cardinals – 7:05 PM CT
Game Three: Sat., Oct. 22nd – Cardinals at Rangers – 7:05 PM CT
Game Four: Sun., Oct. 23rd – Cardinals at Rangers – 7:05 PM CT
Game Five*: Mon., Oct. 24th – Cardinals at Rangers – 7:05 PM CT
Game Six*: Wed., Oct. 26th – Rangers at Cardinals – 7:05 PM CT
Game Seven*: Thurs., Oct. 27th – Rangers at Cardinals – 7:05 PM CT
Here’s a breakdown of the 2011 World Series across six key categories, followed by my pick to win it all.
Both teams have showcased plenty of pop throughout the postseason but the edge has to go to Texas.
It seems Nelson Cruz almost singlehandedly gives the Rangers an edge in the Fall Classic. He just completed the greatest power output of any player in a Major League Baseball playoff series and did it in six games. Cruz set major-league records with six homers and 13 RBI in the American League Championship Series against Detroit.
In realty, of course, the Rangers are far more than just Cruz. They have one of the game’s best power/speed combinations in Josh Hamilton; baseball’s best hitter after the All-Star break in Mike Napoli; and baseball’s best hitter in the regular season’s final month in Adrian Beltre. All that and we haven’t even touched on Michael Young or Ian Kinsler. Texas’ lineup is stacked with powerful, patient, athletic hitters. Almost every guy in this lineup can take you deep but they all run the bases very well, too.
The pitching breakdown is similar to the hitting one in that St. Louis has the best starter on either team in Chris Carpenter just as it has the best hitter of all in Albert Pujols. Carpenter is still good enough to shut down even the toughest of lineups on any given night. But the rest of St. Louis’ starters, including Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson and Jaime Garcia, have struggled; of that trio, Garcia has the best playoff ERA at 5.74.
Meanwhile, even if Texas doesn’t boast a true No. 1, it has a stable of capable No. 2 types, including playoff warrior Colby Lewis, innings eater Matt Harrison, power pitcher C.J. Wilson and young gun Derek Holland. Texas’ depth is superior.
It’s no contest here. The Rangers just became the second team in playoff history to win all four games of a series with relievers. Neftali Feliz, Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, Mike Gonzalez, Darren Oliver, Scott Feldman – it wouldn’t be hyberbole to call this the bullpen the equivalent of the Phillies’ starting staff. Texas’ relievers are so good that the starters feel little pressure to last deep in games.
Again, the Rangers have the edge here. Adrian Beltre is a Gold Glover at third, Elvis Andrus is solid at shortstop, and Josh Hamilton is amazingly graceful playing center or left field as a big man. Meanwhile, the Cards deliberately let Lance Berkman play in the field. That alone puts them at a disadvantage whenever the series shifts to St. Louis and he can’t DH.
Ron Washington has done a fine job teaching the Rangers that they can play small ball and win games many different ways, not just with their power. But he’s up against Tony La Russa, one of the best of all time. St. Louis has to have the edge here.
St. Louis is an older, more experienced team. Pujols, Carpenter and catcher Yadier Molina won the World Series as Cardinals in 2006. Berkman, Ryan Theriot, Jackson, Rafael Furcal, Lohse and Nick Punto and Octavio Dotel all played for playoff teams previously in their careers. The experience and intangibles, which include the home-field advantage, point in St. Louis’ direction.
St. Louis certainly looks like 2011’s team of destiny and it will feel far less pressure to win after no one expected this team to go anywhere. But I still prefer the team of talent of the team of destiny.
The Rangers are absolutely stacked everywhere except starting pitcher and their starting staff is still solidly above average. I’m not convinced that St. Louis can keep up with this team’s combination of power, athleticism, defensive ability and phenomenal relief pitching.
2011 World Series prediction: Rangers in six
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2 replies on “2011 World Series Predictions: Texas vs. St. Louis Odds”
I don’t have a problem with the bullpen edge going to Texas, though I’d call it a draw. To say it’s “no contest,” however, is absurd! The Cards bullpen logged a ton of innings, too, and against a potent Brewers offense! Again, it’s not like the bullpen was good with a normal workload…it was damn near as historic – and definitely as able – as the Rangers’ bullpen. Had the Cards bullpen been that dominant all year, I’d even give the Cards the edge.
Other than that, though, I can’t disagree with your analysis. I’m a Cards fan, so I’m hoping you’re wrong, and the “intangibles” could certainly be the boost the Cards need. Overall, well done!
Ironically, the bullpens had a lot to do with the outcome!