World Series Schedule 2011: Will Cardinals Mount Epic Comeback vs. Rangers?

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 24: Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after striking out in the ninth inning during Game Five of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 4-2. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Mike Napoli's two-run double in the eighth inning of Game 5 put the Texas Rangers within one game of defeating the St. Louis Cardinals and claiming the World Series trophy.

However, if the Rangers are going to complete the job, they'll need to do it on enemy turf, as the series shifts back to Busch Stadium.

Here are the three keys to a Cardinals comeback.

Tony La Russa

La Russa's bullpen management has drawn the ire of fans during the Fall Classic. He's not over-managing like the general consensus seems to be, though.

That's how La Russa always approaches the game. He's a hands-on manager.

When his moves work, he's a genius. When they don't, he's an easy target to explain a loss. In reality, a manager has a very small impact on the outcome of a game.

The one thing I dislike more than anything else in baseball, which La Russa likes to do, is bunting.

Giving up one of your three outs in an inning with the hope (it's no guarantee) of moving a runner up one base is not smart. The only exception is most pitchers.

Jaime García

"A team is only as strong as its next starting pitcher" is one cliché that still holds water. Garcia was tremendous in his first start of the series, going seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and just one walk.

If he can spin a similar performance in Game 6, the Cardinals will be back even in the blink of an eye. Thanks to fine-tuned control, the Mexican lefty actually improved on his surprising rookie season and is one of the more undervalued pitchers in baseball.

Another strong start on the sport's biggest stage will go a long way in getting him more notoriety.

Matt Holliday

The slugging outfielder is hitting just .167 during the series and, although his walks are good, the Cardinals need more pop from him over the final two games. He has just one extra-base hit and doesn't have a single run batted in.

Holliday was battling a sore hand earlier in the playoffs and suffered a minor knee injury earlier in the series, but he hasn't made it an issue.

Getting him back to a regular season level of production for the final two games would do wonders for St. Louis' run-scoring potential.

Verdict

St. Louis has a very good chance to win Game 6 and send the series to a seventh game. With Kyle Lohse, who has been downright awful in the postseason, scheduled to start Game 7, it's hard to imagine the Cardinals offense keeping up with Texas.

Rangers in 7.

Game Time & TV Texas Starter St. Louis Starter Home Team
6 8:05 EDT - FOX Colby Lewis Jaime Garcia Cardinals
7 8:05 EDT - FOX Matt Harrison Kyle Lohse Cardinals

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