After 2,460 Major League Baseball games, the sport's grand finale is finally here. It all comes down to the best of seven between the St. Louis Cardinals (who have home field advantage) and the Texas Rangers. Chris Carpenter will get the ball for Game One and will be opposed by C.J. Wilson. Both pitchers are their teams' ace. Both have struggled in the post season thus far. There is almost no history of play between the two teams as they have mostly managed to avoid each other in interleague play. So anything that happens is a complete surprise. Odds makers have the series slightly in favor of the Rangers, but this writer thinks it is too close to call. It seems to be one of the most evenly matched World Series events ever.
This post season has been all about hitting. Starting pitching has been nonexistent. But it seems time for the starters to get themselves back into the story lines. Hey, they have to be well rested to this point, right? So this picker is looking for a pitching match tonight with plenty of zeroes on the board. Wilson and Carpenter both have shut down capabilities. There was some talk of a bad elbow for Carpenter last week. But he says he's fine. We'll see. The slight Wilson has always been a concern for this picker. Here he's gone from a relief specialist throwing seventy innings a season to two straight seasons over 200 innings. Many experts see no trouble with this, however, so perhaps the Fan worries needlessly. Let's just say that if he doesn't come up big tonight, the Rangers might never recover because their rotation goes somewhat downhill from here.
Okay, we have to have a pick tonight, right? Here it is:
- The Cardinals over the Rangers: In a big first game, Chris Carpenter has the edge, especially at home. His early season struggles have to be cataloged in the bad defense category. Since Rafael Furcal came along, Carpenter has been much better. There is no coincidence there. John Jay in center also helps as he's stronger in the field than Colby Rasmus. Key match ups in this game include Wilson versus a right-handed hitting Lance Berkman, Carpenter versus Josh Hamilton and Yadier Molina versus the Rangers' running game. The Cardinals have a lot of powerful right-handed hitting bats to counter Wilson's lefty tosses. The only way the Rangers win this game is if they jump on Carpenter early and often.