World Series 2011: Did You Know…
If the first 2 games are any indication, we are in for a lot of excitement in the World Series 2011!
Did you know that Allen Craig for the Cardinals is the first player to have a pair of pinch-hit RBIs in the same World Series since the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Jay Johnstone in 1981? He is also one of only two players in MLB postseason history to RBI in three consecutive games as a pinch-hitter. The other was Dusty Rhodes of the 1954 New York Giants. Craig can flat wear out fastballs at the plate. And, his teammate, David Freese, now called the “Big Chill’, has extended his postseason hit streak to 12 games. Yes, the Cardinals can hit. Remember, their lineup already includes the potent Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday. And, don’t forget Skip Schumaker and Ryan Theriot, some of the better contact hitters around.
A word about Cardinals’ utility player, Nick Punto, playing mostly 2B at the moment. He has a well-known track record as a superb defender. In fact, we rate him almost as significant a defensive presence as the Redbirds’ perennial Gold Glove catcher, Yadier Molina. No threat at the plate, Punto nevertheless often saves more runs on defense than other players knock in.
Since 1905, the World Series has followed the best-of-seven format–except from 1919-21, when it returned briefly to best-of-nine.
How about those two defensive gems turned in game 2 by the Texas Rangers’ keystone combo, 2B Ian Kinsler and SS Elvis Andrus? While neither are rated Gold Glove-level, they do play well together. Andrus has as much range as any SS and is working to cut down on his errors. When it counted most, in game 2 of the World Series 2011, Andrus and Kinsler came through in spectacular fashion.
One oddity is the Rangers’ pitching, in that Colby Lewis, their game 2 starter, was the first starting pitcher in the postseason to last at least 6 innings for them. Not exactly how the Rangers’ field brain trust drew it up. Of course, their bullpen has been superb, but their starting pitching will have to go deeper in games in order for Texas to do well.
For the second consecutive season, a player will win a ring no matter which team wins the World Series. Arthur Rhodes is in his 20th MLB season and has pitched for many teams, including the Rangers and Cardinals–in 2011 alone.
Colby Lewis is an amazing story–he is now on his 3rd foray to the Major Leagues. In 2008, he could not get a job pitching in the American or National Leagues, so he traveled to Japan to join the starting rotation of the Central League’s Hiroshima Carp (same team the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda pitched for; also, the great Sachio Kinugasa, one time holder of the baseball world’s consecutive games played streak, now held by America’s Hall Of Famer, Cal Ripken, Jr.). In Japan, Lewis learned how to stay in balance, and repeat his delivery, thereby, becoming a winning pitcher. He also honed his hitting skills as a pitcher–the Central League doesn’t use the DH. Where would the Rangers be without him?
Can’t wait for game 3!
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