Cardinals take game one in Fall Classic 3-2

By Gus Bode

L.G. Patterson/

It seems Lance Berkman was destined to play in the 2011 World Series.

Once his time was up with the New York Yankees at the end of the 2010 season, Berkman looked to the west to arouse his career after he struggled to rebound from his ailing knees.


He narrowed his decision to two teams: the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals.

He chose St. Louis because he thought he would have a better chance of getting back to a World Series, but as it turns out, he might have ended up there either way.

Perhaps it was his performance that got the Cardinals to this point of the season. Berkman finished the regular season with a .301 batting average, 94 RBIs, 90 runs and 31 home runs.

As for the rest of the team and the Series, it could be expected to be an offensive showdown.

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has hit .419 throughout the postseason, with third baseman David Freese hitting 4.25 and left-fielder Matt Holliday hitting .375.

The Rangers’ offense is led by right-fielder David Murphy with a .391 batting average, catcher Mike Napoli with a .316 average and left-fielder Josh Hamilton hitting .2933 throughout the postseason.

Through the Division Series to the Championship Series, both teams’ hitters continued to warm up the further they got into October. Texas averaged four runs per game in the Division Series while the Cardinals averaged 3.8. This was a Cardinals lineup against the Philadelphia Phillies, perhaps one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.


In the Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, the Rangers bumped up to an average of 6.5 runs per game, while the Cardinals did the same with their average of 7.2 against the Milwaukee Brewers’ pitchers.

Before the start of the postseason, the starting pitchers for both teams have been shaky at best. The top four starters for the Cardinals have a combined 5.68 ERA in the postseason, while the Rangers’ top four have a 5.35 ERA.

The most promising feature these two teams have is their bullpen. Of the pitchers who have made at least three appearances, the Cardinals have a 2.39 ERA with a 1.54 batting average against in 42 innings, while the Rangers have a 5.84 ERA with a .244 batting average against in 39.2 innings pitched.

What is even more impressive about the Rangers’ bullpen is what the numbers look like without right-handed reliever Koji Uehara, who is the outlier with his 33.75 ERA and .556 batting average against in his 1.1 innings pitched.

Without Uehara, the Rangers bullpen posted a 1.18 ERA and .192 batting average against.

As the Rangers and Cardinals closely match up all through the board, both team’s closers have also had similar success this postseason. Texas’ closer Neftali Feliz has had four saves in four opportunities and has a 1.17 ERA in his 7.2 innings pitched. He has allowed only one earned run on three hits, with four walks and five strikeouts.

The Cardinals’ Jason Motte has been even more savvy with his non-existent 0.00 ERA and .040 batting average against in his 8.0 innings pitched.

With the way these two teams match up, nothing less than interesting should be expected for this series.

Though baseball is a game of numbers, everybody knows that anything can happen in October.