FanPost

The Worldy Serious - Team Comparisons



It's interesting... Everyone keeps talking about how "hot" the Cardinals were coming to the end of the regular season.  No one notes that their opponents in the World Series were even hotter.
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Texas finished the season on a 6-game win streak (and 10 of their final 11 games with the last three against the contending LA Angels of Anaheim) while St. Louis finished on a 2-game win "streak" against... the Houston Astros.  They only won 8 of their last 11 and that included the final 3 series against non-contenders.  Granted, 3 of Texas' final 4 opponents were also non-contenders.

St. Louis finished September with an 18-8 record (winning 7 of 8 series in that month) while Texas finished a game-and-a-half better with a 19-6 record (also with a 7-1 count in series wins).
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In its hottest (temperature) month (August), Texas was only 16-12.  St. Louis was only 15-13.  So, in the final TWO MONTHS of the season, Texas was a combined 35-18 (.660 winning percentage) while St. Louis was 33-21 (.611).
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Texas finished the LDS and LCS with the same number of wins (duh!) as St. Louis, but one fewer loss beating Tampa Bay in 4 games while St. Louis had to go the full five against, arguably, the best pitching staff in baseball.
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Texas offers Josh Hamilton.  St. Louis counters with King Albert.  Edge:  St. Louis.  Easily.
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Texas offers Adrian Beltre.  St. Louis counters with Lance Berkman.  Edge:  I think I'd have to call this one even; although, defensively, Beltre is premier at his position while Lance is below average.
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Texas offers Mike Napoli.  St. Louis counters with Matt Holliday.  Edge:  I'd give the edge to Napoli who has been healthier, but that edge is coming down as Matt continues to recover.  Both are unbelievably strong and either could bench press a truck over the centerfield wall.
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Texas offers Nelson Cruz.  St. Louis counters with David Freese.  Edge:  Texas.  Cruz has the experience and can absolutely carry his team now that he's healthy.  But, it's close.  Both can make their presence known on defense, too.
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Texas offers Ian Kinsler.  St. Louis counters with Yadier Molina.  Edge:  Texas.  Ian is far superior on the bases and has more power and is on base more (.255/.355/.477/.832) to (.305/.349/.465/.814) than Molina and routinely takes the pitcher to 7+ pitches per at bat while Molina is more a free-swinger.  And, Ian won't clog the basepath.
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Texas offers David Murphy.  St. Louis counters with Jon Jay.  Edge:  Even; although, Murphy can make his presence known right at that time when the opposing pitcher has begun to cruise and the rest of the Rangers' lineup has been lulled to sleep.  Murph is more likely to strike "out-of-the-blue" than any other player in either lineup and he does it with regularity.  Plus, his season second half was electric.
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Texas offers Elvis Andrus.  St. Louis counters with Rafael Furcal.  Edge:  Texas.  Elvis is a little better with the bat (bunting, average, gap power, working the count) and much better, at this stage of their careers, on the bases.  Elvis has more range, defensively, while Furcal is less likely to make a mistake.
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Finally,

Texas offers Michael Young.  St. Louis counters with a collage of second basemen who, in their wildest dreams would never be Michael Young.
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Texas lineup also will challenge the St. Louis pitchers driving them deep into counts.  All of the Texas hitters (with the exception of Hamilton) are expert in this.  If the Ranger pitchers (particularly their starters) will just throw strikes, the Cardinals are far less patient and the Texas pitchers should be more successful than their counterparts.
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The list is not in batting order position or defensive position order... just in order of their importance to the team as lined up against the other team's more similar hitter.
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Pitching-wise, neither team has shown any ability in this post season in their starters other than Chris Carpenter and, possibly, Matt Harrison.  Regular season comparisons would tend to marginally favor the Rangers.  And, both bullpens are premier.
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It all comes down to how well the managers use them.  Tony Larussa shows historic abilities there with input from a top-of-his-craft pitching coach in Dave Duncan.  Ron Washington sometimes doesn't appear to have a clue what he is doing, but he also has a top-of-his-craft pitching coach in Mike Maddux.  If he listens to his pitching coach and doesn't rotate his relievers like Chiclets looking for that guy who will absolutely blow up, he may well survive and see his team win the World Series.  If not?  Larussa will have the last laugh.

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