The Rangers play their first ever regular season series at Busch Stadium, but it's not the first time that the Texas road uniform has been on display in St. Louis. Of course you know the Rangers lost the final two games of the 2011 World Series at Busch Stadium, losing a 3-2 series lead on the road as the Cardinals were crowned world champions.
|ESPN Insider and senior baseball analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss some interesting trade ideas for the Rangers. |
But the two teams are still really good with the Cardinals owning major league baseball's best record and the Rangers back in playoff contention again.
Here's what to watch for this weekend:
Best team in baseball: The Cardinals hardly miss Pujols, who left a perennial contender to help the underachieving Angels to a 32-41 record. St. Louis has moved on by making the playoffs in 2012 and building a 47-26 record this year, 15 games better than Pujols' Angels. Who's getting the last laugh now? St. Louis has a major league-best plus-108 run differential.
|Eric Nadel joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers returning to St. Louis for the first time since their World Series loss to the Cardinals in 2011. |
Cards can pitch: The Cardinals' starting pitching is nothing short of spectacular, and the Rangers will see their two best this weekend. St. Louis will start 22-year-old sensation Shelby Miller from Houston on Saturday. Miller is 8-4 with a 2.08 ERA, fifth best in baseball. On ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, the Cardinals will throw ace Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.37), who is tied for the major league lead in wins, in what was supposed to be a battle of aces with the Rangers' Yu Darvish (his start has been pushed back to Tuesday in New York against the Yankees). The Rangers best matchup from a starting pitching standpoint comes Friday night when Derek Holland (5-4, 3.30) goes against the Redbirds' Tyler Lyons (2-3, 4.65).
Don't forget the closer: The Cardinals have also found a quality closer in Edward Mujica, who is 20-for-20 on save opportunities to begin the season. It's the best start for a St. Louis closer since former Ranger Tom Henke converted his first 22 save chances in 1995. Joe Nathan has been great for the Rangers too, converting 22 of 23 save opportunities.
Yadier oh Yadier: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina may be the most underrated player in baseball. He's having a tremendous 2013. He leads the major leagues with a .366 batting average. He has hits in 55 of the Cardinals' 72 games. Molina is batting .431 in the 55 games he's hit safely this season.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.