Two reasons I’m picking the Rangers to win the World Series.
First of all, I made the awful mistake of choosing hitting over pitching in last year’s Fall Classic. Not smart.
Any good baseball fan knows good pitching beats good hitting, especially in the postseason, and that was more than evident with San Fran’s dominate staff last October.
Secondly, I just can’t bring myself to pick St. Louis seeing as they’re the Cubs’ biggest rival. I know that’s not the most sound prognostication, but I’d rather not jeopardize any good karma choosing the Cards to win it all.
Wishful thinking aside, there’s no clear evidence suggesting either club has better starting pitching.
So why choose Texas?
The bullpen. That’s why.
The Rangers relief corps was solid for most of the year, far more so than St. Louis’ recently found success in the late innings.
The Texas pen’ dominated the ALCS allowing just 2 runs in 22 innings, a huge success for a club that became the first team to win a League Championship Series without a quality start since both leagues went to a best-of-seven LCS format in 1985.
Alexi Ogando, in particular, could prove to be the ultimate difference-maker. The hard throwing righty appeared in all four of the Rangers ALCS wins, winning two of them.
You also consider the Rangers are throwing three lefty starters against a predominately right-handed hitting Cardinals lineup, meaning manager Ron Washington is likely to go to Ogando early and often.
St. Louis’ starting staff was actually worse than the Rangers, at least statistically, against Milwaukee in the NLCS posting a whopping 7.66 ERA.
According to STATS, St. Louis became the first team to win a postseason series without a starter reaching the sixth inning. Again, stunning either of these teams made it this far.
Similar to Texas, however, the Cards’ bullpen was absolutely terrific throughout the first two rounds, including a 3-0 record and 1.88 ERA over 28.2 innings of the NLCS.
For all intents and purposes, the starting staffs are a wash. They’re both equally bad outside Game 1 starters C.J. Wilson and Chris Carpenter.
On one hand there’s a case to be made that whoever’s starters stink-less will win the series. But I get the feeling this series will stick to the current script and be decided by the bullpens.
For that matter I like the Rangers, only slightly, but more so because I can’t stomach the idea of the Cardinals winning another world championship.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see.