It’s time for the World Series. It doesn’t involve the “Big Market” teams that seem to get gushed over…it involves two Midwestern teams that are within fairly tight longitudinal confines. Going into last series there would have been an intense breakdown of the starting pitching matchups. Of course after these two teams combined for 12 starts with only 1 quality start and only 1 win by a starting pitcher, that may or may not be a fruitless endeavor. What we do know is that there are potent stars on these teams and they and the bullpens are very likely to determine this outcome. Here’s the completely scientific breakdown of how this series will play out:
Furcal vs. Kinsler – Advantage Kinsler – Better average and better power are the keys here
Jay vs. Andrus – Push – Neither guy has been great at the plate and both are a plus defensively
Pujols vs. Hamilton – Advantage Pujols – Hamilton has been good, but Pujols has been outstanding. You do not want a piece of him this postseason.
Berkman vs. Beltre – Advantage Beltre – They are both putting up similar batting average numbers, but Beltre’s OPS is a good deal better because when he hits, he tends to go for extra bases.
Holliday vs. Cruz – Advantage Cruz – Both men were less than stellar in the division series and then caught fire in the LCS. And against anyone else, the edge would go to Holliday, but Cruz was otherworldly with 6 HR’s including 2 in extra innings of which 1 was a walk-off grand slam. He is on fire.
Freese vs. Young – Advantage Freese – Freese has been one of the 4 best players on these two teams this postseason. He crushed the ball in the LCS and looks like he will continue the trend.
Molina vs. Napoli – Advantage Napoli – Had his defense not been so stellar last round, this would have been a push. Molina is a phenomenal defensive catcher that hits for a good average. Napoli however has game-changing offensive abilities and has been playing at an above average defensive level.
Schumaker/Punto vs. Murphy – Advantage Murphy – For some reason David Murphy is loving the postseason. He is hitting over .350 and the further in they’ve gotten, the more extra base hits have been flowing.
Starting Pitching – Advantage Cardinals – This would be an even bigger difference if Wainwright hadn’t been lost this season, but Carpenter is the one guy on either team that you circle as having the ability to dominate single-handedly.
Relief Pitching – Advantage Rangers – The Rangers did a spectacular job of fortifying their bullpen down the stretch and it could really be a difference-maker.
Managers – Advantage Cardinals – LaRussa has all of the experience. He’s also annoying, and Ron Washington was funny in Moneyball, so here’s hoping.
X-Factor Most Responsible for World Series Matchup – Advantage Braves – Not only did the Braves melt down and allow the Cardinals to even make the playoffs, they also sent Elvis Andrus (SS), Neftali Feliz (Closer), & Matt Harrison (SP) to Texas a few years ago for Mark Teixeira which helped transform Texas into the team they have now.
And the Winner is…. The Texas Rangers!! (4 games to 2). They get the franchise’s first title and take Nolan Ryan from Texas Icon to the likely image on a new Texas state flag! Combine that with the Mavs getting to spend 2 years as NBA champs (courtesy of the lockout) and the Dallas/Ft. Worth/Arlington area is flying high!!