Texas visits St. Louis for first time since 2011 World Series

The Texas Rangers are in second place in the American League West a single game behind the Oakland Athletics, heading into this weekend’s series. Texas led most of the season, but has had a rough June thus far.

The Rangers entered Friday action with a record of 41-32 and have lost 7 of their past 10 games overall.Friday night the Rangers traveled to St. Louis to open a three game series with the Cardinals, the first time the Rangers have been to St. Louis since the 2011 World Series.

It will be certain the Rangers will have the 2011 series on their mind when they return to Busch Stadium. They lost that series in seven games to the Cardinals and that loss has not been easy to forget for anyone involved.

Many of the players who played in that series are no longer with either club but some remain.

One notable who moved on is Lance Berkman. The veteran slugger had one of the biggest hits of that series for the Cardinals, but he is now the DH for the Rangers.

He will only see pinch-hitting duties however since the DH does not play in National League parks during interleague matchups.

He has been the Rangers first basemen, but Mitch Moreland their normal starter will be back in the lineup after coming off the disabled list with an injured hamstring.

Only one of the six pitchers, starting in the three-game set, appeared for either team in the 2011 World Series. Derek Holland, who opened the series for Texas Friday night, pitched 8 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in game 4 of that World Series.

The number three hitters for each of the two teams in 2011 are now earning huge dollars for the Los Angeles Angels. Both Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols are not enjoying themselves, as they both have struggled at the plate and their team has struggled to win games.

Both players who closed games for each of the teams were lost due to Tommy John surgery. Neither one of the bullpens has a single reliever who pitched in the World Series of 2011. Kyle McClellan pitched for St. Louis in the NL Championship Series but is now pitching for Texas.

Even though each team has made many changes since that World Series in 2011, both teams rank today as two of the best in their leagues and the majors. The Cardinals have the best record in the majors entering the weekend series, while Texas was able to defeat first place Oakland in three of their four games this past week to whittle down the Oakland lead in the AL West to a single game. However, prior to that, Texas lost six straight thanks to an anemic offense.

Yu Darvish, the Rangers’ ace this season, who leads the majors in strikeouts, will not pitch in this series. He was originally scheduled to face the Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in Sunday’s final but his next start was pushed back by the Rangers until Tuesday.

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