The 2011 World Series was a dream matchup for Oklahoma baseball fans as the state's two most popular teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers, faced off with the Cardinals prevailing. A rematch in the 2012 World Series is unlikely, according to ESPN “Baseball Tonight” analysts in a conference call this week, although a few thought the Rangers might make it back to the series for the third consecutive season.
Analyst Curt Schilling: I think Albert Pujols is going to have a direct impact on both of those clubs, both leaving St. Louis and being now the chief rival of the Rangers. They didn't just lose Albert, but they lost Tony La Russa and they lost some of the things that made them special. (Chris) Carpenter's injury is obviously a big deal, and he could pitch 150 innings, 200 innings or so. That's such a scary place to start the season. You know, Texas, I don't see a reason why they can't go back. I love what they've done. Yu Darvish is going to be an interesting story for I think the entire year because I don't think anybody since (Hideo) Nomo has come over as an Asian player, on the mound anyway, and done what the expectations were.
Analyst John Kruk: Yeah, as soon as you start counting the Cardinals out because Carpenter might not pitch, they won the World Series last year without Adam Wainwright, and he was probably as good a pitcher as any they had, including Carpenter. Are they ever going to make up for the loss of Albert? Absolutely not, it's impossible. But I think that the step they took with David Freese, and to me Jason Motte is a big key, also. What he did in the postseason to finally, I think, prove to the Cardinals' organization and new manager Mike Matheny that we have a closer now. Last year they lost so many games in the season because they couldn't figure out who could close a game. I agree with both these guys about the Rangers. There's no reason why they can't go back. They are that strong a team. And if Joe Nathan can close and Feliz can start, than they're better off than they were last year.
Host Karl Ravech: I would say that conservatively the Cardinals may be the fifth-best team in the National League, and the Rangers could be anywhere between the third- and sixth- best team in the American League. Given the fact that the Cardinals came out of nowhere last year, I think predictions as far as their preseason goes, relative to injuries and trades, are almost impossible. But I would doubt either of those teams get to the World Series this year based on this discussion.