at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
World Series Game 1
First pitch: Wednesday, 8:05 p.m. EDT
Line: St. Louis -120, Texas +110, Total: 7.5
The Rangers find themselves in the Fall Classic for the second straight year and the Cardinals look for their 11th World Series title (second to the Yankees 27) when they face off in Game 1 on Wednesday night.
Getting the nod for the Rangers will be C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA in regular season). Wilson had a career year, but has struggled mightily in the playoffs going 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA. The lefty has averaged just five innings per start in the postseason and will need to go longer to save the bullpen for a potential lengthy series. Opposing Wilson for the Cardinals is ace Chris Carpenter (11-9, 3.45 ERA in regular season). Carpenter went 5-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his final five regular-season starts, which has carried over into postseason success (2-0, 3.71 ERA). Texas has been very good against right-handers this year going 76-46 (62%) and has thrived against teams with a winning record (50-35, 59%). The Rangers are a team that feeds off momentum, going 60-43 (58%) after a win, while St. Louis might have used up all its runs, considering it is 0-8 over the past two seasons after having two straight wins by six or more runs. The Cards also have struggled at home against lefties, going just 8-15. Expect TEXAS and its powerful lineup to be too much for Carpenter and the Redbirds.
The FoxSheets also expect the Rangers to prevail with this pair of highly-rated trends:
Play On - Road teams (TEXAS) - having won 12 or more of their last 15 games, in October games. (45-19 since 1997.) (70.3%, +31.8 units. Rating = 3*).
TEXAS is 53-32 (62.4%, +16.9 Units) against the money line when the total is 7 to 8.5 this season. The average score was TEXAS 4.7, OPPONENT 3.6 - (Rating = 2*).
Ironically enough, C.J. Wilson is a big reason for the Cardinals having home-field advantage. Back in the All-Star Game in July, Wilson pitched one inning and gave up three runs. He was tagged with the loss, which gave the National League home field for the World Series. Other than his All-Star game hiccup, Wilson had a career year, ranking fourth in the AL with 16 wins. The lefty has only faced a handful of Cardinals, but has handled slugger Lance Berkman well, who is only 3-for-13 (.231) against him. Wilson might be happy to pitch away from Arlington where his ERA is 3.69 compared to his sparkling 2.31 road ERA, which includes three complete games.
Carpenter had a rough first half of 2011, going 4-7 with a 3.85 ERA. But after the All-Star break, the big righty went 7-2 with a 2.98 ERA. Carpenter is also happy that he’s pitching at night, where he is 11-5 compared to 0-4 during day games in 2011. The Cardinals could use Matt Holliday to keep up his hot hitting in the middle of the lineup behind Albert Pujols. Holliday struggled early in the postseason, but has come on strong, going 7-for-13 his past three games.