Cardinals Visit Rangers in 2011 WS Rematch

IT'S A REMATCH FROM THE 2011 WORLD SERIES WHEN TEXAS VISITS ST. LOUIS IN SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN

Sports fans in Texas hanging on every second of the San Antonio Spurs/Miami Heat World Championship series this week were having flashbacks to another sport. It was just two seasons ago when the Texas Rangers were just seconds away from a champagne celebration when fate intervened to send the 2011 World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Those two teams meet for the first time since Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in a series that will get significant TV coverage this weekend (including the prime time spot Sunday Night on ESPN). Not only is it a rematch from the 2011 World Series, it's possibly a preview of the 2013 World Series! St. Louis is clearly one of the class teams in the National League right now, while Texas is once again on pace to reach the postseason in the American League...where they'll be a favorite to do well if they can get some of their starting pitchers healthy.

Here are the projected starting pitchers for the weekend set...

FRIDAY'S PITCHERS
Texas... Holland: 5-4, 3.30 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
St. Louis...Lyons: 2-3, 4.65 ERA, 1.16 WHIP

Holland had surpassed Yu Darvish as the de facto ace of the Rangers staff through the early stages of the season. He was mowing down opponents in very consistent fashion. But, he's fallen off the pace recently, allowing four runs earned runs in each of his last two starts, and only posting three quality starts in his last seven tries. Part of the reason Texas had a long slump is because their pitching and hitting hit the skids at the same exact time. They did start to pull out of that the past few days against Oakland.

Lyons threw two gems to start is Cardinal experience this year, and everyone raved about what a great job the franchise does with young pitchers. In his three starts since, he's allowed 14 earned runs in 17 innings, and is in danger of losing his spot in the rotation. You would have to give Holland a clear edge on the mound, though we may be looking at an Over scenario given the recent form for both of these starting pitchers.

SATURDAY'S PITCHERS
Texas ...Tepesch: 3-6, 4.84 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
St. Louis ...Miller: 8-4, 2.08 ERA, 0.96 WHIP

Texas is 1-5 in Tepesch's last six starts...as he's been getting rocked while not getting run support. A horrible combination. He's generally been overmatched by good offenses this year. And, the hot temperatures of summer in Arlington were the last thing he needed to see. Maybe he'll be okay on the road...but the Cards do have one of the best offenses in the NL however you slice up the numbers.

Miller has made a very strong case for Rookie of the Year, though there are concerns that he left his last start after only five innings with what's being called a leg cramp. If that was just dehydration, then he should be fine and able to continue his stellar form. In the numbers...a pitching mismatch for the Cards in this Saturday Night affair that will be televised to parts of the country on FOX.

SUNDAY'S PITCHERS
Texas ...Darvish: 7-3, 2.84 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
St. Louis ... Wainwright: 10-4, 2.37 ERA, 1.01 WHIP

What a dream pitching matchup for the prime TV spot Sunday! That's going to feel like a World Series game regardless of how the rest of the series goes.

If Darvish is going to have a WHIP that low, he's going to be a star for years to come in this sport. His problem when he first came over was control. He'd walk so many hitters that he'd constantly be trying to pitch his way out of jams. He's become a bit more home run prone, but that will be okay if he keeps his ERA and WHIP in those ranges.

Wainwright had been having a stellar season until a rare bump in the road against the Cubs earlier this week. He's definitely Cy Young material, and will be in the hunt for that award as long as St. Louis keeps making a run at 100 victories. What a great matchup. Definitely worth thinking about the Under because both pitchers have shutout potential...and Sunday Nights tend to skew Under anyway because at least one team is always travelling afterward.

JIM HURLEY is likely to have at least one big play in this series over the weekend. He's also looking at the following for serious play:

Boston at Detroit
Tampa Bay at NY Yankees
Baltimore at Toronto
Cincinnati at Arizona

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