2011 World Series Prediction

Although he's just 0-2 in the postseason, Jaime Garcia is my choice for World Series MVP, after the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers in seven games. (AP Photo/Tannen Maury, Pool)
Although he's just 0-2 in the postseason, Jaime Garcia is my choice for World Series MVP, after the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers in seven games. (AP Photo/Tannen Maury, Pool)

And then there were two. Two teams that were the best in their leagues. Two teams filled with compelling, heartfelt stories of perseverance. Two teams so plucky and exciting they are sure to captivate the country, nay, the world as they compete for the World Series championship.

Bullshit. It’s the St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Texas Rangers.

No one outside of Missouri and Dallas gives a crap about these teams. But here’s who I think will win.

Game 1 pairs Texas’ C.J. Wilson with St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter. Wilson had the better regular season, winning five more games, striking out 15 more batters and posting an ERA a half-run lower. To help him out, only four Cardinals have ever faced him. Comeback Player of the Year Lance Berkman has seen Wilson the most with 18 appearances, but he’s batted just .214. No Cardinal has homered off Wilson, and such inexperience will mean the Cardinals will have to be dependent on game film more than personal experience.

While Texas’ Mike Napoli is the only Ranger to ever homer off Carpenter, seven have at-least faced him. That might give Texas a slight offensive advantage. They’ve also had the slightly stronger bullpen, so I’m giving Game 1 to Texas in a tight one on the road.

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MLB Playoff Predictions: Championship Series

Justin Verlander should pitch the Tigers into the World Series, possibly winning ALCS MVP honors in the process.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

I was a rainstorm and a Chris Carpenter three-hitter away from sweeping the opening round of the MLB playoffs. Instead, another .500 showing, with my pick for the World Series – the Philadelphia Phillies – not among the winners. Oh well, always move forward. Here are my picks for the ALCS and NLCS (home-field team second).

ALCS: Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers

Tigers coach Jim Leyland rolled the dice in Game 5 of the ALDS by keeping out Justin Verlander. The gambit paid off, because now the Tigers start the best pitcher in the majors in Game 1. Verlander is 6-2 lifetime against the Rangers, and he’s never lost in Arlington (3-0, 1.29 ERA). C.J. Wilson is a great pitcher, but Verlander is just better. Tigers take Game 1 on the road.

Not helping matters is the Rangers’ offense. More specifically: there lack thereof. The Rangers are the weakest-hitting team left in the playoffs. They hit the worst, they get on base the least, and they drive the ball the least often. They’ve hit as many home runs as any remaining team, but that’s where the offense stops. And while Doug Holland may beat Max Scherzer at Rangers Ballpark – a hitter’s park – in Game 2, that lack of offense is sure to influence Games 3 through 5 at Detroit’s cavernous Comerica Park.

The Rangers sport a mediocre .278 combined average against Doug Fister, who will start game 3 for the Tigers. Fister will still be amped from his ALDS Game 5 win over the Yankees, and that’s bad news for a Rangers team with such paltry on-base (.303) and slugging (.406) against him. If Fister can stay on top of Nelson Cruz (.500 avg, 1.390 OPS, home run), he should hold the Rangers in check long enough for the Tigers to get the better of Colby Lewis. The Tigers bat a combined .356 against Lewis, and everyone but backups Brandon Inge and Omir Santos has driven in at least one run.

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Kinsler and Hamilton Each Drive in Three as Rangers Crush Red Sox

Adrian Beltre connects on a single, the 2,000th hit of his career, during the Rangers' seven-run sixth inning of Sunday's game at Fenway. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

If the Red Sox and Rangers face each other in the playoffs, the scorekeepers had best prepare: there will be runs, and lots of them. Sunday afternoon at Fenway was no exception.

The Rangers banged out 15 hits and 11 runs against John Lackey and the Red Sox bullpen Sunday, winning the game and the series, 11-4.

The Red Sox fell to 1.5 games behind the Yankees, who beat the Blue Jays 9-3 Sunday, in the AL East. They still lead the Rays in the wild card race by eight.

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