Berkman is key to Cardinals' WS fate

Updated: October 18, 2011, 1:32 AM ET
By Buster Olney

The World Series begins Wednesday night, with the St. Louis Cardinals matching up against the Texas Rangers. But there are matchups within the matchup, and here are the 10 biggest:

1. Lance Berkman versus Rangers' left-handers: Three of the Rangers' starting pitchers are left-handers -- C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison -- and Berkman has been a very different hitter against lefties, with his OPS about 200 points lower. Against the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS, Tony La Russa opted to start Berkman against the lefties, and in those games, Berkman went 1-for-8. In the NLCS, Berkman was on the bench when lefty Randy Wolf started for the Brewers. It's possible that in the Cardinals' home games, La Russa may opt to start the right-handed-hitting Allen Craig -- who mashes against lefties, with an OPS of 1.000 during the regular season, and is better defensively than Berkman -- and have Berkman waiting on his bench as a weapon.