Alexi Ogando reacts after striking out Jhonny Peralta in the sixth inning of Game 6.
Remember last season at this time?
Rangers fans were going crazy with visions of a World Series title dancing in their heads.
"The Giants? Please. They have like three guys that aren't even hitting .200. There's no way they can beat the Rangers and their powerful lineup. Besides, we have Cliff Lee."
It went something like that.
Then the Rangers ran into the pitching buzzsaw of the Giants and were beaten in 5 games, with Lee losing twice.
Now, the Rangers are facing the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, one that features two teams who are basically mirror images of each other with the Rangers pretty much winning every matchup of on-field matters, including pitching.
Neither teams' starting pitching was particularly good in their respective championship series, as the Cardinals' bullpen actually pitched more innings than their starters. The Rangers didn't get a single win by a starter and got two from reliever Alexi Ogando, who was a starter in the regular season.
The Cardinals have Chris Carpenter, who could be considered a true "ace" and has had a phenomenal postseason, including a Game 5 win over Roy Halladay to eliminate the Phillies in the NLDS. He's probably a notch above C.J. Wilson. But after that, the Rangers have the advantage when it comes to starters, and it's not real close.
Since the trade deadline acquisitions of Mike Adams (yay!) and Koji Uehara (ugh...) the Rangers bullpen has been solid, and the addition of Ogando has made it great. Ogando to Adams to Neftali Feliz is much better than what will roll out for the Cardinals, who have blown nearly 20 ninth-inning leads this season.
Both lineups are incredibly solid and numbers would suggest each game will be a 13-10 score, but when the numbers say that, the pitching usually steps up. Good news for Rangers fans is that their pitching is just better.