2011 World Series: 6 Keys to a St. Louis Cardinals Victory
With their win over the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 6 of the NLCS, the St. Louis Cardinals will be representing the National League in the World Series against the AL-champion Texas Rangers. There are a number of key players that will be very important if the Cardinals are going to win the World Series.
Some of the keys to the World Series are players that you would expect. Others are guys that will need to step up on the game's biggest stage.
Winning Game 1
Getting off on the right foot is incredibly important. The winner of Game 1 of the World Series has gone on to win the title 65 times, a 61-percent success ratio.
The momentum that comes from a Game 1 win is incredibly valuable. Since the Cardinals open the World Series at home against the Rangers, this has even more meaning, since it will allow them to get the crowd into it early.
There is a chance that the World Series could the last time that Albert Pujols wears a St. Louis Cardinals jersey. It is possible that he can help the team bring a title back to the city.
Pujols has been absolutely dominant in the postseason and has continued to show why he is one of the best players in baseball. If Pujols gets cold in the World Series and isn't able to deliver, then the Cardinals could be in big trouble.
David Freese has been one of the biggest surprises of the postseason thus far. He has gotten hot at the right time and has been a key ingredient of the Cardinals' success throughout the playoffs.
Freese is batting over .400 in the playoffs with four home runs and 14 RBIs. If he is able to keep up this level of performance, he could play a big role in the Cardinals bringing home the World Series trophy.
The Cardinals were not able to get everything they expected out of Edwin Jackson in Game 6 of the NLCS. He only lasted two innings and he gave up four runs.
But the Cards won anyway, and Jackson will make his next start in the World Series. The Cardinals know that they can trust Chris Carpenter and Jamie Garcia, but they need Jackson to step up and pitch well if they are going to beat the hard-swinging Rangers.
When the Cardinals traded for Rafael Furcal in the middle of the season, they were expecting him to provide a spark for their lineup. He has managed to do that on some occasions, but generally he has struggled with the bat.
Furcal's struggles have continued in the playoffs. The Cardinals will be in much better shape during the World Series if Furcal can get on base early and often and set the table for the middle of their order.
If the Cardinals starters are able to give the team six or seven good innings on a nightly basis, then they will be in contention every game. When the Cardinals have a lead, their bullpen needs to hold it.
The Cardinals bullpen has done a good job in the playoffs, and they will need to keep up the good work against Texas in the World Series. Jason Motte has been solid closing out games and he cannot blow any saves if the Cardinals are going to win it all.