Published October 19, 2011
| Sports Network
That shouldn't be the case this year, as the Rangers not only enter their second straight Fall Classic with some experience, but on paper they are just better than the St. Louis Cardinals.
Texas has a better lineup, aside from St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter, it has a better rotation and as good as the Cardinals' bullpen has been here in October, do you really trust it in a big spot against this lethal offensive attack of the Rangers?
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa loves to use his bullpen. That much was evident in the NLCS, as La Russa made a record 28 pitching moves and Cardinals relievers pitched in just over 54 percent of the team's innings in their six- game win over the Brewers.
Milwaukee has a good lineup, but it is nowhere near relentless as the one the Cardinals will face in this series.
The Rangers' lineup is loaded from 1-through-9 with former MVP Josh Hamilton leading the way, along with the likes of Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and the incredibly underrated Michael Young, who was the team's best player this season.
This is a group that scored the third most runs in the league with 855, had five players with 25 or more home runs, six players with an over .800 OPS and .340 OBP and had just one player who struck out more than 100 times.
Not exactly an ideal situation for a Cardinals pitching staff that might be running on fumes.
Just how deep is the Rangers lineup? Well Cruz, who just set an ALCS record with six home runs and 13 runs driven in, bats seventh.
The Rangers aren't just about the long ball either and had two players with over 30 stolen bases this season. They may not be as opportunistic as they were on the basepaths a year ago, but they can still manufacture a run when needed.
As impressive as the lineup is the biggest thing that could push the Rangers to their first-ever World Series title is their bullpen, a unit that has carried them here in the postseason, as Texas starters have produced just one quality start in 10 games.
Alexi Ogando was the Rangers best starter for a time during the regular season, but after running out of steam late in the year he has once again found his groove in October and has been the most dominant reliever in this postseason.
Ogando, a 13-game winner and an All-Star this year, is 2-0 in these playoffs and has allowed just one run and struck out 12 in 10 1/3 innings.
When Washington needs to get Albert Pujols out late in a game, bet your bottom dollar that Ogando will be the one facing him. And if it's not him then it will be another more-than-capable righty in Mike Adams, who has served as the perfect bridge to closer Neftali Feliz since being acquired at the trade deadline from San Diego.
Speaking of Feliz, the second-year closer has allowed just one earned run in 7 2/3 innings this postseason.
Even without Cliff Lee this Rangers club is a team that is just better all- around than the one that lost the to the Giants last season. Plus they are facing a Cardinals club that doesn't exactly boast Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez at the top of their rotation.
Everything on paper suggests the Rangers will win this series. But as they say, that is why they play the games. Texas' biggest obstacle might be having to overcome the mojo this Cardinals' club seems to have. They've been counted out every step of the way but somehow keep prevailing. How much longer can that magic continue?
Either way, Texas' depth throughout should deliver the city of Arlington its first-ever championship.