Much has been made of the middle of the Cardinals rotation's perceived vulnerability. But if you look a the numbers, the Redbirds don't seem to be at a pitching disadvantage as the World Series moves to Texas.
Game three starters Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals and Matt Harrison of the Rangers actually couldn't be any closer statistically. Lohse was 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA this season for the Cardinals while Harrison was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA for Texas.
Neither pitcher is really a big strikeout guy. They both count on changing pace and keeping hitters on the ground to get by. Harrison allowed 180 hits in 185 2/3 innings while striking out 126. This is Harrison's first season as a fulltime starter and he is showing signs that either he is wearing down or that he's feeling the pressure of pitching in the playoffs. He's pitched in two games this post-season, amassing 10 2/3 innings with five earned runs allowed on nine hits and six walks. That's a 4.22 ERA with 1.5 baserunners allowed per inning.
While Lohse has had something of a spotty playoff record this season because of a couple of tough assignments combined with the fact that he was rusty thanks to a pair of long layoffs, there are some reasons to believe he might be set for a good start.
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First, he sat idle for 12 days prior to his last start. This time around he's much closer to his normal rotation. Plus, he has a little chip on his shoulder for being skipped earlier in the rotation. Second, Loshe has been a very good road performer this season. He's 8-3 with a 3.23 ERA away from Busch Stadium while he was 6-5 with a 3.67 ERA on the road. The experts think Lohse will struggle at the Rangers' offense-oriented ballpark, but Lohse has been a pretty solid starter in other bandboxes. During the regular season he was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA at Coors Field. He was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA at Minute Maid Park and he had the same record at Citizen's Bank Park.
Like games one and two, it seems that this contest could come down to whomever makes the first mistake.