2011 World Series Predictions

We gave you our entire playoff prediction a few weeks ago, but since neither of us were right, we figured we’d take a mulligan and give you our World Series predictions

Second Time’s a Charm

By Jeremy Sickel

To be completely honest with you, this year’s World Series actually snuck up me. How could the pinnacle of quite possibly the greatest season that anyone has ever witnessed have approached me in such a way that I had no idea that it was literally right around the corner? Its like when I was a child and used to hide behind the wall near the door opening and right before my Grandma would get there I would jump out and scare the living heck out of her; got her every time too. She knew I was there, but for some reason, for that tiny split second, it slipped her mind and I was able to execute my attack flawlessly. That is what this year’s Fall Classic has done to me. Don’t get me wrong; I am the biggest fan of baseball that you will come across, so for that, I apologize to the Baseball Gods.

Maybe the reason is that we were anticipating a heavyweight face-off between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies; the brawn of the American League versus the finesse of the National League. Or is it the fact that both League Championship Series would be classified as very anticlimactic? Whatever the reason behind the fact that this year’s World Series seems very bland, somebody has to win.

The St. Louis Cardinals are the Cinderella team this year. Left for dead once the Milwaukee Brewers lapped them in the NL Central, the Red Birds finished off one of the most amazing comebacks in baseball history; or was it a collapse by the Braves? Either way the Cardinals have taken full advantage of their opportunity. They baffled the Philadelphia Phillies in the LDS before forcing the Brewers to tap out, thus punching their ticket for a chance at October glory.

There is one problem that I have with the Cardinals though. While they seem to have fate on their side, they also have vividly glaring holes that are hard to overlook. The LCS gave their offensive numbers a boost and I assure you they aren’t capable of prolonged success like they endured against the Brewers. They scored almost one hundred less runs than the Texas Rangers did this season while their pitching was very comparable. Sure you can name players from the Cardinals squad, but not a lot of the players are holdovers from their most recent World Series teams in 2004 and 2006.

To counter that point, the Rangers were here last year. The postseason mindset is very fresh in their minds, and along with not having any obvious liabilities, they come in as the overwhelming favorite. The offense is epic and they spent the trade deadline stock piling bullpen arms. Although the NL was granted home field advantage with their win in the All Star Game, that won’t be enough to assist in the on field results. If you were to compare position by position this thing isn’t even close, so I won’t disrespect the Cardinals like that and will just use the “face value” facts to declare that the Texas Rangers will win the 2011 World Series. Rangers in 6!

Guess Who’s Back?

By Geoff Ratliff

For those who read my National League playoff predictions, you’ll know that I picked the Milwaukee Brewers to win the World Series. I have never been more glad to be wrong! Seeing my hometown St. Louis Cardinals make their third World Series appearance in the past eight seasons has been quite a ride. Forget the amazing regular season comeback they made just to make the playoffs, the playoff ride alone has been incredible!

I actually attended Game 2 of the Philadelphia series and our chances looked dim with the Phillies jumping out to an early 4-0 lead after two innings and Cliff Lee looking great early. But that game marked the beginning of the Cards epic bullpen run that has been the main contributor to them hosting this year’s finale.

I know that much of the statistical analysis leans heavily towards Texas, but if this year’s Major League Baseball playoffs have taught us nothing else, we’ve learned that you can take your damn numbers and throw them out the window. I was still living in St. Louis during our last improbable World Series run in 2006 when they became the worst team in MLB history – according to regular season winning percentage – to win the championship, so we’ve seen this before from the Cards. Sure Texas’ lineup is as good as any you’ll ever see, but the Cardinals haven’t exactly been squeaking out 2-1 victories themselves. Ultimately, I see a bunch of fairly high scoring affairs with the Cardinals pulling out a dramatic Game 7 at home, but other than relying on my hometown emotions, let me give you some solid baseball analysis to support my belief.

On paper, C.J. Wilson should match up well with the Cards’ ace Chris Carpenter, but Wilson has struggled this postseason, and while Carp hasn’t exactly been his former Cy Young self, I’ll take three starts from a seasoned veteran who’s succeeded on this stage before. Secondly, the Rangers lineup, while formidable, is much more susceptible to the strikeout than the Cardinals are, so they can be pitched to. I know the Tigers didn’t exactly provide great support for that claim, but they also don’t have the best pitching coach in the history of major league baseball – Dave Duncan – sitting in their dugout. But the main reason I see the Cardinals winning this thing – and trust me when I say that I never thought I’d be writing this over the past two or three seasons – is Tony LaRussa.

This man has driven Cardinals Nation crazy over the past few seasons with completely inexplicable managerial moves, but somehow Tony has morphed into Tom Cruise during this postseason run by pulling out all the right moves. I love Ron Washington – Uncle Ron as he has affectionately been named on Twitter – and am so happy that he has been able to overcome some personal demons to become one of the games best managers – but ultimately, I’m going with a craps strategy and rolling with the hot hand. Bring number eleven home for us boys, and then quickly show Pujols the money!

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