World Series preview (Texas Rangers)

Lucas Snider

 

 

Offensively, the Rangers boast one of the best lineup’s in baseball. Whether at home or on the road, there aren’t many easy outs in their lineup.

They can hit for contact, power and are aggressive on the base paths.

Table-setters Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus combined for over 200 runs scored and both had 30 or more stolen bases.

In the middle of the lineup, the Rangers had four hitters with 25 or more home runs. As a team, they were second in the American League with 210.

But with groin and knee injuries to Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre respectively, clean-up hitter Michael Young will be relied on heavily to produce. Young hit .338 with a team-best 106 runs batted in during the regular season.

Mike Napoli, their best power hitter, could see good pitches to hit with the power surge of the ALCS Most Valuable Player Nelson Cruz hitting behind him.

Defensively, the Rangers are fundamentally strong – particularly in the infield. They turned the most double plays of any team in baseball.

The Rangers pitching rotation for the series in order will be C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison. Lewis is the only right-hander amongst the four.

Wilson has been the most consistent starter at home and away. He’ll be very tough to beat. He generates a lot of weak contact through good movement and command of his fastball.

Holland enjoyed a fine second half of the season in 2011. He lowered his earned-run-average a run and a half lower after the all-star break. When he’s going strong, he utilizes a good fastball, changes speeds and locates the ball well.

Lewis and Harrison are two big-bodied arms that manager Ron Washington is hoping to get more quality innings from. The Rangers bullpen notched all four wins and a save in the ALCS, allowing just two runs in 22 innings against the Tigers.

Neftali Felix, Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Scott Feldman each provide shutdown stuff from the bullpen in case a starter gets knocked out of the game early.

The series hinges on starting pitching. Both the Cardinals and Rangers are tearing the cover off the ball and their bullpens are what have got them to the World Series.

I predict that the Cardinals starting pitchers outduels the Rangers pitchers in six games. The matchups slightly favor them and they’ve been the hottest team in baseball for the past month. They also have a manager who’s on top of his game and is making his sixth trip to the World Series.