2011 Fall Classic: Rangers vs. Cardinals
And so it's all set: The St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers.
Game 1 of the World Series is Wednesday night from Busch Stadium in the heart of downtown St. Louis. It'll be the Rangers' top gun C.J. Wilson (0-2, 8.04 ERA) against the Cards' ace Chris Carpenter (2-0, 3.71).
The Rangers wrapped up their second consecutive American League title with a 15-5 route in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. The Cardinals, who clinched the NL wild card on the last day of the regular season, put a similar Game 6 beating on the Milwaukee Brewers, 12-6, Sunday night.
Interestingly enough, the Cardinals can thank their World Series Game 1 opposing pitcher as well as LCS foe Prince Fielder for owning the home-field advantage in the Fall Classic.
Of course, everyone knows that home-field advantage is determined by the All-Star Game. The National League won it this season, 5-1, therefore the Cards have it, meaning they'll get Games 1 and 2, and, if necessary, 6 and 7 at their park.
Games 3, 4 and, if necessary, Game 5 will be played in Arlington on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
So, just how did the NL take the Mid-Summer Classic?
Well, in the fourth inning, Fielder, the Brewers' left-handed slugger, faced Wilson, the Rangers' No. 1 starter. On a 2-2 count, Wilson fired a fastball. Fielder swung and launched it 410 feet to center field for a three-run homer and a 3-1 lead. Wilson took the loss and now the Cardinals are the happy beneficiaries.
It's doubtful Albert Pujols will send either Wilson or Fielder a thank you note.
An oddity in this World Series are the pitching staffs. The Cardinals needed seven innings of relief work to close out Game 6 and its bullpen actually pitched more innings in the NLCS than the starting rotation. The Rangers had similar issues with no starter going deeper than six innings in the ALCS while bringing a combined 6.59 ERA into the series. That's the second-worst rotation ERA in the ALCS by any team that won the series to advance to the World Series.
Both bullpens are ready and so are two explosive batting orders.
This should be fun.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
Play Podcast Nelson Cruz joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' series in Oakland, his ups and downs at the plate and if the PED talks before the season were a distraction.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Oakland for his weekly visit.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss his role with the Rangers. Ryan says that he has not been in contact with the Astros about a possible opening and he doesn't think that he would be interested anyway.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit and wastes no time sounding off on MLB umpire Angel Hernandez.
Play Podcast Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland joins GAC from Milwaukee to discuss what it was like facing former teammate Scott Feldman, Texas' upcoming series and more.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Milwaukee for his weekly visit and discusses Nick Tepesch, the Rangers' rotation, interleague play and more.