2006 World Series Preview and Pick

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2006 World Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Detroit Tigers ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

St. Louis Cardinals (83-78, champs of the NL Central Division) +195 vs. Detroit Tigers (95-67, AL wild-card), best-of-seven World Series
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff

A couple of teams that found new life once the Major League Baseball playoffs began will meet when the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 World Series beginning Saturday night in Motown.

St. Louis almost blew a seven-game lead in the NL Central over the last two weeks of the regular season, but managed to just hang on. Then the Cardinals suddenly woke up and beat San Diego in the NLDS in four games.

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St. Louis then defeated the New York Mets in seven games, capped off by a thrilling 3-1 win in Game 7 Thursday night, to win the National League pennant.

On the other side of the standings, Detroit stood at 40 games over .500 and owned the best record in baseball in early August. But the Tigers went 19-31 of their last 50 games, and not only gave up the best record, barely sneaked into the playoffs as a wild-card team.

Detroit, like the Cardinals, woke up in the post-season. After losing the opener of their AL Divisional Series vs. the New York Yankees, the Tigers won the next three games to advance to the league championship series.

There, Detroit convincingly swept the Oakland A’s in four games to earn the Tigers’ first pennant since 1984.

Detroit hasn’t played since clinching their World Series berth with a 6-3 win over Oakland last Saturday.

The Tigers are listed as -215 favorites to beat the Cardinals in this series; the Cardinals are getting right around +195.

Detroit, which owns home-field advantage in this Series thanks to the AL’s win in the All-Star game back in July, went 46-35 at Comerica Park this season and an MLB-best 49-32 on the road.

St. Louis went 49-31 at home this season, but just 34-47 on the road.

As of Friday morning, pitching match-ups for the opening games of the Series had not yet been announced. It was likely that Kenny Rogers, who quietly had one of his best seasons this year and has been great in the playoffs, would start for the Tigers in Game 1 on Saturday. The Cardinals were expected to go with either rookie Anthony Reyes, Jason Marquis (who wasn’t even on the roster for the NLCS), or Jeff Weaver, who made two very solid starts vs. the Mets but would be pitching on three days rest.

Rookie Justin Verlander was expected to go for Detroit in Game 2 on Sunday.

Games 3, 4 and (if needed) 5 of this series will be played Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in St. Louis. Games 6 and 7 would be played next Saturday and Sunday back in Detroit.

The Tigers swept three games from the Cardinals in an inter-league series in Detroit back in June. Verlander (4 ER and 7 H in 6 IP) outpitched Chris Carpenter (7 ER and 9 H in 7 IP) in a 10-6 Tigers victory in the series opener. Detroit then scored two runs in the bottom of the 9th against St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen (who, of course, is out for the World Series due to injury) to tie Game 2 at 6-6, and won it with a run in the 10th. And in Game 3, Jeremy Bonderman held the Cards to 1 ER in 7 IP, striking out eight, in a 4-1 Tigers win.

The Tigers posted a .329 team OBP this season, which ranked 3rd-worst in the AL, and averaged 5.1 runs per game. Detroit’s 203 HRs ranked 3rd in the league, and six Tigers hit at least 19 homers. But their 60 SBs was the 4th-lowest total in the majors.

The Cardinals owned a .337 team OBP this year, 5th-best in the league, and averaged 4.9 RPG.

The St. Louis pen ranked 14th with a 4.06 ERA during the regular season, but held the Padres scoreless in 13 1/3 innings of work in the NLDS. Cardinals’ relievers then gave up 12 ER on 29 hits + walks in 19 1/3 innings pitched in the NLCS vs. the Mets.

The Tigers bullpen ranked 4th in the majors with its 3.55 ERA during the regular season, and limited the Yankees to 2 ER and 5 H+W in eight IP in the ALDS. Detroit relievers then held Oakland to 2 ER and 14 H+W in 11 2/3 IP.

The O/U went 68-87 in Detroit games this year, and 34-43 at Comerica Park.

The O/U went 79-74 in Cardinals games during the regular season, and 37-41 at the new Busch Stadium.

Coming in to this season, St. Louis was one of the favorites on the baseball futures betting boards. The Cardinals were listed at right around 2/1 to win the NL Central, 5/1 to win the pennant and 10/1 to win the World Series. But things did not look too good for St. Louis backers when the Cardinals bumbled their way through long stretches of the regular season. And St. Louis easily stayed below its pre-season posted wins total of 94, winning just 83 games. Before the playoffs started, the Cardinals were listed at 4/1 to win the pennant and 12/1 to win the World Series. And heading into the NLCS, St. Louis was listed at around 5/1 to win the Series.

Detroit was listed at right around 15/1 to win the AL Central heading into this season, 25/1 to win the AL pennant and at upwards of 75/1 to win the World Series. And the Tigers went over their pre-season posted win total of 78 back in August! Just before the playoffs started, Detroit was listed at right around 5/1 to win to AL pennant and 10/1 to win the World Series. The Tigers were +260 underdogs to beat the Yankees in the ALDS, and –115 chalk to beat the A’s in the ALCS.

The Ultimatecapper Pick: We love the Tigers in this spot. Should be easy money if there was such a thing!

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Jay has been watching and following sports since he could walk and turned to betting in his late teens. His favorite sport is MLB and has been producing winners on UltimateCapper for almost 15 years. Follow Jay's free sports picks and enjoy the winners.