World Series 2011: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers Game 3 Preview

The St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers are set for Game 3 of the 2011 World Series Saturday night inside Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

St. Louis Cardinals at Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers could close out the World Series with three consecutive wins at Rangers Ballpark

St. Louis was unable to hold a 1-0 ninth-inning lead Thursday night and now travel off to Texas for three games.  Both teams will be looking to get their offenses going in the warmer weather of the Lone Star State, as the Cardinals are hitting .203, while the Rangers are batting only .186.  All eyes will be focused on how first baseman Albert Pujols reacts to criticism following Game 2, as many feel that a defensive play that he was unable to make cost the team a potential win.  St. Louis is 21-22 versus left-handed starters this year and the ‘over’ is 23-19 in those contests.

Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse has lost both of his postseason starts thus far, allowing nine runs (eight earned) and 13 hits over 9 2/3 innings.  The right-hander tallied a solid 14-8 mark and 3.39 ERA in 30 regular-season starts, issuing just 42 walks and registering 111 strikeouts in 188 1/3 frames.  Lohse was very effective away from home, posting an 8-3 record and 3.13 ERA, allowing just five home runs in 97 2/3 innings.  In 12 career games (nine starts) versus the Rangers, he is 3-3 with a 6.66 ERA.

Texas is ready to play in front of its home crowd and play just the fourth World Series home game in franchise history.  “It’s going to be crazy, just crazy,” commented Rangers infielder Michael Young.  “I’ve played in the postseason in Yankee Stadium and I’ve played in Detroit and now St. Louis.  This is the loudest I’ve ever played in front of.”  The Rangers and Cardinals, who both ranked among the majors’ top 5 in runs scored, have combined for a total of eight runs in the first two games.  Texas is 77-46 versus right-handed starters and 57-29 when playing at home.

Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison is 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA in three postseason appearances, failing to allow a home run in 10 2/3 innings.  The left-hander finished the regular season with an 8-5 record and 3.80 ERA in 16 home games (15 appearances), as opponents hit .278 against him.  Harrison was one of the hottest pitchers in baseball during September, tallying a perfect 4-0 mark and 2.64 ERA, issuing just eight walks and registering 23 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings.  He has gone 2-2 with a 3.80 ERA in 10 career interleague appearances, including a 2-2 mark and 4.21 ERA in six starts.

Bettors will likely back the Rangers due to their 5-0 ATS mark in playoff games as a favorite, while the Cardinals are 2-9 in Lohse’s last 11 starts versus winning teams.

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