A look at how the two teams compare in pitching, fielding, batting, and more
The 107th World Series starts Wednesday when the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals host the American League pennant-winner Texas Rangers in game one of the best-of-seven series. It's a matchup few (any?) people predicted when baseball season began back in March. The Cardinals lost their best starting pitcher, Adam Wainwright, to a season-ending injury in spring training, and as late as September 1 the Cardinals were eight and a half games behind Atlanta in the Wild Card race. Meanwhile Texas, which reached the World Series last year and lost to San Francisco, entered this season minus their best pitcher as well, with Cliff Lee departing to Philadelphia as a free agent. Just consider how well the Yankees would have done without CC Sabathia this year, or the Tigers without Justin Verlander. These types of developments normally devastate a team's fortunes. But the Rangers and Cardinals both compensated for the loss of their number one starting pitchers by developing other strengths. Let's see how the Fall Classic participants measure up in regards to starting pitching, hitting, fielding, base running, and relief pitching.
1. Starting pitching is not a strength for either team ...
When the Yankees were in the midst of winning three straight World Series between 1998 and 2000, the team's strength was its starting pitching. With Andy Pettitte, David Cone, and David Wells (and later Roger Clemens, who was traded for Wells), the Yankees were flush with either three borderline Hall of Famers or two borderline Hall of Famers and one pantheon-level pitcher (who might have talked his way out of Cooperstown thanks to that messy business with Congress). If you look at the Rangers and Cardinals, you notice that the strength of both teams does not lie with their starting rotation. Both have fine number one pitchers (C.J. Wilson for the Rangers, an All-Star this season; Chris Carpenter for the Cardinals, a former Cy Young Award winner who's finished in the top three in voting on two other occasions). But Wilson has been shoddy in this postseason (0-2 with an 8.04 ERA) and Carpenter is the lone Cardinals starter with a postseason ERA lower than 5.74.