I haven't the foggiest idea why, but earlier this afternoon I found myself reading over ESPN's staff predictions for the World Series. You can find them here, and presented below are a couple of the blurbs:
The Rangers' offense is simply too powerful for the Cardinals to handle.
I don't mean to pick on those writers - I just want to use this as a jumping-off point to talk about the perception that the Rangers have an unbelievable lineup. The Rangers, obviously, can hit. They finished third in baseball in runs scored, and second in OPS. But - and obviously this isn't ground-breaking analysis - it's so, so important to consider park effects.
Rangers, home: .860 OPS
Rangers, road:. 740 OPS
Rangers, home: 6.1 runs/game
Rangers, road: 4.4 runs/game
The Rangers play their home games in a hitter-friendly environment that boosts their offensive numbers. Hell, in the playoffs, they've scored 33 runs in five home games, and 22 runs in five road games. They can hit and they have power, but they're made to look better than they are by the ballpark named in their honor.
The Cardinals, incidentally, have the opposite thing going on. Busch Stadium is a pitcher-friendly environment, and you can see that in the stats:
Cardinals, home: .745 OPS
Cardinals, road: .785 OPS
Cardinals, home: 4.3 runs/game
Cardinals, road: 5.1 runs/game
The Cardinals, despite playing in the National League, finished with the #1 road OPS in baseball. The Red Sox were a close second, and the Yankees were a distant third. (The Royals[?] were a distant fourth.) There's a convincing argument to be made that it's the Cardinals who have the best offense in the league.
The Rangers have a good offense, and it'll be the best the Cardinals have faced of their three October opponents, but it'll be mortal for the games in St. Louis. And as for the games in Texas, then it becomes a matter of keeping up, of which the Cardinals are more than capable.