THE CARDINALS WILL WIN IF ….
(*)The bullpen holds up. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa says his quick hook “could not be sustained in the regular season,” but it helps he’s carried eight relievers. Octavio Dotel has nice numbers against Rangers sluggers Adrian Beltre (5 for 22) and Michael Young (3 for 12).
(*)They go hunting for fastballs. After allowing an average of 0.94 home runs per nine innings during the regular season, Rangers starters have allowed 14 home runs in 49 2/3 postseason innings, an average of 2.54 homers per nine. Mistakes will be made; release the hounds!
(*)Yadier Molina wins the World Series MVP award. He can play a supporting role to Albert Pujols offensively and shut down the Rangers on the basepaths while keeping track of the bazillion pitching moves his manager will make.
THE RANGERS WILL WIN IF ….
(*)They forget 2010. They won’t be facing the likes of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain this time around. But the Rangers were supposed to have an offensive edge in the 2010 Series, just like this year, and ended up hitting .190 as a team.
(*)They get a quality start from C.J. Wilson in Game 1. True, man apparently can win on bullpen alone, but imagine what shape the Rangers will be in with a good start from Game 1 starter C.J. Wilson. The left-hander is facing the Cardinals’ best in Chris Carpenter and is 0-4 (6.42 ERA) in his last six playoff starts.
(*)They play clean defence: Ask the Brewers what the Cardinals can do if given extra outs.
- Jeff Blair’s prediction: Rangers in six.