With Game 1 going to the St. Louis Cardinals last night, the focus is on the Texas Rangers to even the series at 1 game apiece in the 2011 World Series, before the series heads back to Arlington, Texas for what will be the last three games played at the Rangers’ Ballpark this season. After getting a clutch 3-2 win last night, the Cardinals hope to have a better performance from their 25-year old left-handed starter Jaime Garcia (0-2, 5.74 ERA this postseason), who gets the call in opposition to Colby Lewis (1-1, 3.86 ERA), who has pitched well in road game situations thus far in his career (4-1 lifetime in the postseason.
The tale of the tape between these two starters certainly is the opponents’ batting average, which could make or break either one of them against two Top-5 batting orders in this year’s Major League Baseball campaign. While Garcia did pitch reasonably well in his last outing, a 4 1/3 inning, 1 run allowed performance, his .297 opponent’s batting average is startling, especially when up against the likes of the Rangers, who are stacked throughout their line-up with talented, powerful hitters. Colby Lewis on the other hand is just what the Rangers would like to see coming to the mound in a critical Game 2, sporting a .205 opponent’s batting average despite having a rough outing in Game 3 against Detroit in the ALCS (4 runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 5-2 loss for the Rangers. In tonight’s game, where simply a couple of bad pitches could make the difference with big, powerful hitters in both lineups, Garcia will need to have his slider working very well at home (where traditionally he’s been very good), and keep the ball down in order to get a good start in. Luckily for him tonight, Garcia has a slight advantage in that no one in the Texas starting line-up has seen him pitch in opposition, but against a proven playoff starter in Lewis, it could be Garcia’s game to win or lose depending on how well he can keep pace.
After a very quiet night at the plate for the big hitters of St. Louis and Texas in Game 1, tonight looks to be a chance to catch the big bats breaking out at Busch Stadium for Game 2, after the two line-ups combined for just 12 hits, and all 5 runs scored coming off just two hits. With the St. Louis order not getting to C.J. Wilson as we had expected (even though pulling out the win), we fully expect to see at least one Cardinal go deep tonight, but with Colby Lewis’ control and experience in play on the mound, we don’t expect too much damage to be done from either a solo or a 2-run shot this evening. Lewis for starters will want to limit the walks in tonight’s match-up, which cost the Texas Rangers 6 base runners last night, including the first run scored by Albert Pujols who went 0-for-2 but wound up making a big difference just by being on base. Garcia on the other hand simply needs to limit the hits tonight, especially from quality hitters like Michael Young (0-for-4 last night) and David Murphy (0-for-2) who capitalize well off pitchers making mistakes. Texas’ power section (Hamilton, Cruz, Beltre) wasn’t able to get going last night (3-for-11 combined, 1 run scored), but fully expect one of these big bats to do some damage against Garcia tonight, if the young starter gives off the smell of fear at any given point.
Betting Lines for St. Louis vs. Texas, World Series Game 2
WagerWeb.com Sportsbook gets our call for online sportsbook betting on the World Series today, where the Texas Rangers behind Colby Lewis get the favorite pick at -123 odds to win while the host St. Louis Cardinals lie at +103 odds behind Jaime Garcia. The over/under edges up just slightly today at 8 runs (-110 odds either way) while the Rangers give up 1.5 runs at +140 odds, and the Cardinals get 1.5 runs on the spread at -160 odds. After a close Game 1 that ended with a 3-2 score on very solid pitching, we might see the tides turn tonight as the big bats in both line-ups should be expected to do a lot more damage in Game 2, as seems to be inevitable with so much talent coming to the plate.
Our Pick to Win Game 2:
Texas puts out their proven postseason starter in Colby Lewis, and against Jaime Garcia tonight we think he has the better chance of picking up a win especially provided that the Rangers bats can come alive early and give Lewis confidence in run support. While Garcia has pitched his best at home this year (9-4, 2.55 ERA), Colby Lewis has been good on the road as well (9-5, 3.43 ERA), is more experienced in big games like this one tonight, and has been more consistent in the postseason over his career. Where the Cardinals benefitted from Chris Carpenter’s veteran postseason experience in Game 1, the Rangers will do the same with Lewis on the mound, and Texas will prevail this evening 6-3.