Hey It’s the World Series!

Well the match-up is finally set. The 2006 World Series will be a sequel to the 1968 series with the Detroit Tigers facing the St. Louis Cardinals. This is an unlikely outcome to a post season that has been filled with strange results. The Detroit Tigers began the year with a fairly uneventful April that led to their manager Jim Leyland raking the players over the coals during a news conference. This obviously intensified the Tigers and for much of the year they played some of the best baseball in the major leagues. But as the season came to an end, the Tigers faltered and lost the American League Central division title reaching the play-offs as the wild card team. The St. Louis Cardinals came into the season as one of the favorites for the National League Central division along with the Houston Astros. The Cardinals had a roller coaster run during the regular season and in September they faltered finally clinching a play-off spot on the last day of the season. Few people gave them much of a chance against the San Diego Padres in the first round and gave them even a lesser chance against the New York Mets in the League Championship series. In each case the Cardinals pitching staff rose to the occasion which brings us to game one of the World Series.

Because the American League won the all-star game this year in Pittsburgh, they will be the home team in the World Series. While I appreciate that commissioner Bud Selig is trying to get more people interested in the mid-summer classic, I don’t agree with the notion that World Series home field advantage should be tied to an exhibition game. The Detroit Tigers come in as an overwhelming favorite. First they have the best pitching staff in the American League recording the lowest earned run average this season. They have also gotten on a roll beating the New York Yankees then sweeping the Oakland Athletics giving them a lot of momentum. They have been off for over a week waiting to see who they would be facing in the series. This has given their players an opportunity to heal from the day-to-day injuries that always occur after 162 regular season and two rounds of play-offs.

The St. Louis Cardinals on the other hand received one day of rest from beating the New York Mets in game 7 on Thursday night. They also have not had an opportunity to rest or set their pitching rotation so their number 3 starter will be facing the Tigers ace. It will not be until games 3 and 4 when the Cardinals aces will be able to pitch. This puts them at a severe disadvantage especially if this series goes 6 or 7 games.

From a historical standpoint, the winner of this World Series will produce only the second manager ever to win a World Series Championship in both leagues. Cardinals manager Tony Larussa won with the Oakland Athletics in 1989 while Tigers manager Jim Leyland won with the Florida Marlins. They will join manager Sparky Anderson who won with the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers. If we look to the 1968 World Series we’ll find several similarities. The Cardinals came in riding the pitching of Bob Gibson while the Tigers countered with 30-game winner Don McLain. This series became a classic with the Tigers finally winning in 7 games as Mickey Lolich beat Bob Gibson 4-1 throwing a 5 hitter. It will be interesting to see whether the 2006 pitching staffs can match their ancestral heritage shutting down some of the games best hitters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *