Bring on the Birds: Tigers and Cardinals in the World Series

For the 3rd time the Tigers and Cardinals will meet in the World Series. Both previous tilts went the full 7 games. In 1934 the Cardinals “edged” the Tigers out with an 11-0 victory at Navin Field. But the Tigers turned the tables in 1968 when Series MVP Mickey Lolich out-dueled Bob Gibson in the deciding game.

But that’s all ancient history. This year the 2 teams struggled mightily down the stretch with the Tigers blowing a 10 game lead over the last 7 weeks of the season. Meanwhile the Caridnals nearly blew a 10 game lead in the last 2 weeks of the season. But look where they are now.

Here’s your first piece of exclusive information: Jim Leyland and Tony La Russa are long time friends.

I’ll be back with more in depth previews tomorrow. In the meantime, congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals. If you’re looking ot hear from some happy fans, you can probably find them here:
Deadspin
Viva El Birdos
CardNilly
Cardinal Diaspora

20 Comments

  1. Kyle J

    October 19, 2006 at 11:53 pm

    Here’s hoping this WS is less dramatic–Tigers in four or five would be fine. On the other hand, I have a ticket to game 7.

    I can say with 99.9% certainty that no commentator anywhere picked this match-up for the World Series.

    Go Tigers!

  2. Darrin

    October 19, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    I confidently maintain my pick from last week: Tigers in 4.

    Unfortunately, the weather will be very inhospitable for Saturday and Sunday’s games.

  3. T Smith

    October 20, 2006 at 12:55 am

    Darrin,

    I must say you have been eerily accurate with your perdictions…although I was thinking about you as this series went to seven games. It wasn’t exactly a breeze for the Cardinals and could easily have went the other way, despite your early perdiction.

    The Cards are certainly a very mediocre team. Not exactly a great opponent for the Tigers. Could the Tigers win in 4? Absolutely. If the Tigers play anywhere near the level they’ve been playing at, I agree without reservation. Tigers in 4. Six to eight runs a game for the Tigers, one to three runs a game for the Cards. Perhaps the most boring WS ever. Even if we get our 19-31 team playing out there, I still think we could beat this Cardinal team in seven.

    I still wish we were facing the Mets for sake of a more exciting series; although I think the Cardinals have better starting pitching than the Mets, so that may be a little more challenging. Carpenter could be difficult, and we may have to face him twice. Weaver could also be difficult, especially given the fact that he’s facing the Tigers (old team). Weaver seems to be pitching pretty good, too. Supan has also been lights out.

    Bring ’em on. Weather we win in four or seven, I don’t see how we can’t win this series. Unless, of course, Leyland gets spooked beating up on La Russa. There is something about Leyland’s subservient relationship with La Russa that worrys me…

    Anybody else concerned about this, or am I just completely creating my own reality here?

  4. Kurt

    October 20, 2006 at 1:35 am

    This has all the makings of a classic mismatch. But, if we’ve learned anything in the past few weeks, we’re probably no closer to predicting an actual result than before. You obviously have to like the Tigers to win the title on the road, except, of course, nothing has really worked out like you’d expect it to. Confident? Sure. Overconfident? No way in heck.

  5. Cameron in Singapore

    October 20, 2006 at 1:56 am

    This is going to be great…a rematch from ’68! Of course I wasn’t born then.
    Go Tigers, I’m also feeling very confident, thinking Tigers in 4! Hope we’re not being overconfident, but it’s okay if the fans are as long as the players are not!

  6. Dave from 'The ATL'

    October 20, 2006 at 9:34 am

    Finally a playoff opponent that I’m not totally annoyed with!

    NYY: fans, Torre, Giambi, biased announcers all brutal!
    OAK: Monopoly-boy, Swisher, brutal!

    STL: Classic team, LaRussa/Leyland best friends, repeat of the classic ’68 series, good-hearted fan base, non-showboat and respective type players. Get to watch next Pujlos versus our young studs. Awesome.

    Can’t wait to watch to Classic baseball teams to battle. Go Tigers!

  7. Bob S.

    October 20, 2006 at 9:44 am

    For a traditionalist like myself,this is perfect-the Tigers and the Cardinals are baseball history.I was rooting for the Cards for that reason alone,but as I was watching the game last night,it occurred to me that we’ll also be catching a (hopefully)emotionally and physically exhausted team(7 game NLCS with back to back to back games in different cities,late night celebrating,travel day)at the end of what is for them a road trip,albeit a short one.Cardinal fatigue should give the Tigers a chance to work out any rust that may have built up.
    While the Cardinals have better starting pitching than the Mets,Met hitters made them look better than they are(with the obvious exception of Carpenter).Cardinal position players seem pretty banged up.I think our ace in the hole may be that we have a good National League manager in Jim Leyland to offset any advantage the Cardinals would have in their own park.

  8. Dave from 'The ATL'

    October 20, 2006 at 9:53 am

    Bob,

    Good point about the Leyland’s natioanl league experience. It’s only fitting that Leyland would follow Sparky in being only the ‘second’ manager to win a world series in both leagues. It’ll be him or LaRussa.

  9. Jacob

    October 20, 2006 at 10:03 am

    Naturally being a fan my baseline of fear for losing this series is off the charts, although that’s sort of buried beneath my over confidance in the lone fact that with the exception of Pujols the Tigers seem to trump the Cards in most of the matchups. I’m just not sure what to make of that team anymore. Anybody that rides Jeff Weaver to the World Series either drugs the other team or uses voodoo dolls. This ranks right up there as one of those weird, unexpected matchups you didn’t even see at the end of September.

  10. Marshall in DC

    October 20, 2006 at 11:00 am

    My main concern is over confidence. St. Louis scares me only becuse they are so scrappy.

    Nightmare senario is we get into a cat fight with them after expecting a cake walk. . .and the pressure to make something happen silences our bats. In a low scoring game anything can happen. (see last night)

  11. Kurt

    October 20, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    Don’t worry Marshall, I’m sure only the fans are expecting a catwalk. Leyland seems to have the players too well disciplined to think that way.

  12. ron

    October 20, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    Two great franchises. Could not be better for baseball. Screw N.Y. I live in this city and these fans are the absolute worse losers. I’m loving it.

  13. Kyle J

    October 20, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    Leyland has announced the rotation:

    1. Verlander
    2. Rogers
    3. Robertson
    4. Bonderman

    Very strange. No left/right/left/right pattern. Bonderman only set up to pitch one game in series. Verlander and Rogers presumed to be best hitters among the four but only one of their four starts would be on the road in a 7-game series.

    But . . . In Leyland we trust.

    Cardinals expected to start Weaver in game 1 on short rest. This make sense because LaRussa really has to pitch Carptenter in game 2 (also on short rest) to make sure Suppan gets two starts in a 7-game series.

    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb...../610200438

  14. Tigers Fan in Cards Country

    October 20, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Help! I’m a Tiger’s fan in St. Louis. The Series hasn’t even started yet and I’m already enduring all kinds of grief from everyone in the office. Detroit MUST win!!!!

    Go Tigers!

  15. T Smith

    October 20, 2006 at 2:35 pm

    Dear Tigers Fan in Cards Country:

    You should easily get the last laugh. At the risk of sounding too confident, I’ll venture to say no Cardinal fans should be giving you grief. Sure, they can root for an upset, and sure, their team could somehow win the series (After being swept by KS, anything is possible). Nobody is denying that. But are they a better team and do they have grounds to trash talk before the first pitch of the series? No way. Hold your head high and laugh.

    Get yourself a tape recorder and tape all the hype. After game 4 or so, when the Tigs are already celebrating their WS w, go around to each and every one of them and play back their ridiculous comments….make sure you have a full audiance to amplify the humilation.

  16. Kyle J

    October 20, 2006 at 2:45 pm

    Three more potential explanations for the rotation:

    1) Cardinals hit a little worse against left-handers. (Looked at the numbers last night: .401 SLG vs. .440 if I recall correctly.) Therefore you make sure you have a left-hander starting in four games, including game 7.

    2) Cardinals have a high groundball-to-flyball ratio. Robertson starting two games makes more sense than Bonderman in that case since Bonderman is a strikeout/flyball pitcher.

    3) Robertson’s started the first game on the road in the first two series. Maybe Leyland think’s he’s best suited mentally to starting game 3.

  17. NYZ

    October 20, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    Congratulations, Tigers.

    I think I speak for all Mets fans when I say that holding the Cardinals scoreless through the entire World Series would go some way in accelerating our healing process.

    Thank you.

  18. athooks

    October 20, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    What up D- Let us hope that you have some better looking fans than those attending last night’s game 7 in New York. Good Lord, I haven’t seen that many Pork Chops since Dimitri Young’s last meal as a Tiger, BTW, how’s he doing these days? I hear his little brother is really a superstar in the making. Class acts, those guys. Anyway, just wanted to stop by and remind you guys that the A’s line-up was weaker than Anderson Cooper at a cockfight. I have a feeling dem pussy cats are about to roll over and play dead. Cheers!

  19. Andrew

    October 20, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    Kyle J – I see you have picked up my mantra – “In Leyland we Trust.” 🙂

    I am not overconfident going into this series as a fan since we have some recent history of proving that it doesn’t matter how things look on paper. Murderer’s Row & Canoe still had to face our pitching.

    It stinks that all of these games start during “primetime” and that there are not afternoon games anymore thanks to television and $$$. Of course, you would have to compete with College Football tomorrow and the NFL on Sunday which both already pull in better ratings than baseball these days.

    Watching the Mets and Cardinals series was brutal. What the heck did they do to baseball in the National League? Ugly.

  20. Sean Carroll

    October 20, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    Evidently, Kyle J, you remain as obsessed as I am with the pitching rotation! We probably need to get off it and start thinking about the Tigers hitting – excellent this post-season, overlooked and underrated – but here’s one more speculative observation on how the World Series rotation may have come to be.

    1. Kenny Rogers is the man for all the home starts you can give him. Thus, #2.
    2. Cardinals beat the Mets, so lefty-lefty (Robertson-Rogers) the first 2 games is out. Verlander is (now) looking so good that you want him available for 2 games, but not so good that you would want to put the pressure of Game 7 on him. Thus, Verlander is #1.
    3. If Bonderman would be a good choice for Game 7, having pitched both previous series clinchers, why not put him at #3? Because, if you expect Game 4 to be the turning point or the back-breaker, that’s where you put him. Thus, Bonderman is #4.
    4. Is Robertson then at #3 only by default? No. You actually want him for Game 7 if it comes to that, even though you could possibly go with Bonderman there on 3 days rest. He’s the one starter the Cards haven’t seen, and something tells you they won’t want to see him again after Game 3.

    Just a guess, except for (1), which I called in advance. Bully for me, Jim Leyland for a day, eh?

    Wow, I just can’t wait. After all this talk about pitching, I’m really hoping and expecting (in equal proportion, i guess) that Tiger hitting will be the story of the series.

    I suppose the news on Sean Casey must be out by now, better go look for it.

    Go Tigers!