COMMENTARY | The St. Louis Cardinals lead the Texas Rangers one game to none in the 2011 World Series. The Rangers will look to salvage a road split in St. Louis on Thursday. Colby Lewis will take the mound for Texas while the Cardinals will counter with Jaime Garcia.
Lewis has pitched well thus far in the postseason. In two starts covering 11.1 innings Lewis has posted a 3.86 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He has struck out 12 compared to just four walks. However, Lewis is prone to the longball. He surrendered 35 home runs in 200.1 innings in 2011. Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, David Freese and Matt Holliday could make it a long evening for Lewis.
Jaime Garcia will look to give the Cardinals a home sweep and two-game advantage in the series. Garcia followed up his strong 2010 rookie season with another solid campaign in 2011. In contrast to Lewis, Garcia allowed just 15 home runs in 194.2 innings this season. While Garcia is not overly susceptible to the home run he did allow 207 hits and another 50 walks to compile a 1.32 WHIP for the season. Garcia has struggled in his three starts this postseason, in 15.2 innings Garcia has allowed 19 hits and five walks.
In Game 1, St. Louis manager Tony La Russa predictably went to his bullpen early and often. After starter Chris Carpenter posted six solid innings La Russa used five relievers to get the final nine outs of the game. No Cardinal reliever threw more than ten pitches, so the skipper should have his full bullpen at his disposal. La Russa’s ability to push the right buttons was evident again in the bottom of the sixth inning when pinch hitter Allen Craig delivered a single to drive in the eventual winning run.
Rangers manager Ron Washington will also have a full complement of relievers for game two. Scott Feldman pitched 1.2 innings in game one and could be unavailable but Mike Gonzalez, Mike Adams and Alexi Oganda should be well rested. Ogando, a starter throughout the regular season, threw just nine pitches in Game 1 of the series and could be called on for an extended appearance should Colby Lewis struggle.
*All stats obtained from http://espn.go.com/
Dan Soderberg is a freelance writer and lifelong baseball fanatic. You can read some of Dan’s other work at http://www.mudville9.blogspot.com/. Follow Dan on Twitter @dan_soderberg