The St. Louis Cardinals still hold home field advantage in the World Series, but now, they have to win their final two games at home to lock down yet another title. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers are just one win away, and they'll be looking to get that victory on Wednesday night.
Last year, the Rangers got themselves at least remotely close to a title. Now, they are so close that they can taste the champagne. Thanks to some timely late inning magic (and some miserable managing by Tony LaRussa), Texas is up 3-2 instead of down 3-2 in this series. However, things aren't going to be all that easy to finish off this series. Colby Lewis has led the Rangers to 19 wins this season including in the playoffs, and if he locks down No. 20 in his final appearance of the year, he'll have the whole Lone Star State in celebration. Lewis has a 4.28 ERA in his 218.2 innings of work including the playoffs though, numbers which aren't all that encouraging. He did pitch well in Game 2 right here at Busch Stadium though, allowing just one run in 6.2 innings of work against a game St. Louis lineup that turned around and put up 16 runs just two nights later in Arlington. Should the World Series end on Wednesday without all that much more drama, C Mike Napoli will almost certainly be the World Series MVP, as he has had three tremendously clutch hits in this series, and he has certainly been the best batter that the Rangers have had.
The last time that the Busch Stadium faithful saw 1B Albert Pujols, he was committing the error that ultimately cost the Cards Game 2 of the World Series. Since that point, he has had one great game in which he blasted three homers, had six hits, and knocked in six runs, and two forgettable ones in which he hasn't gotten on base. Now, St. Louis hopes that this isn't the last time that arguably the greatest hitter of our generation is playing in a Redbirds uniform. It'll be up to Jaime Garcia to keep the Cardinals' season alive on Wednesday. He had without a shadow of a doubt, the second best pitching performance for St. Louis from a starter in this postseason, coming just short of Chris Carpenter's complete game shutout in Game 5 at the Philadelphia Phillies. Garcia tossed seven scoreless frames, but the bullpen couldn't hang on in the ninth inning with two relatively soft runs being scored thanks to some uncharacteristic small ball by the Rangers. For what it's worth, the Cards have won 13 of their last 18 home games though, though they have been splitting games at home all over the place in these playoffs, going just 4-3 in their games here at Busch Stadium.
Texas Rangers @ St. Louis Cardinals Pick: We just refuse to think that this series is over with. The Rangers are probably slightly the better team, and though they are the favorites to win the title now, they are going to be underdogs in both Game 6 and Game 7 if there is one. Deservedly so. Take the Redbirds to force this to Game 7.
MLB Pick: St. Louis Cardinals -115 at Bookmaker Sportsbook.