(Who will win Game 1? Vote here.)
For those who think awarding home-field advantage to the league that wins the Major League Baseball All-Star game is ludicrous, take a quick look back at the box score of the 2011 Midsummer Classic.
That “C. Wilson” who took the loss in the National League’s 5-1 triumph was none other than Texas Rangers ace C.J. Wilson. Think he’s still kicking himself for throwing the pitch that Prince Fielder deposited into the centerfield seats for a three-run homer?
In reality that’s probably the last thing on Wilson’s mind as he gets set to make his second career World Series start when the Rangers take on the Cardinals tonight in Game 1.
Instead, Wilson has been cooling off in a Dallas cryotherapy chamber. How do you prepare to pitch in 35-degree weather? By climbing inside a liquid nitrogen walk-in freezer where the temperature drops to as far as 295 degrees below zero.
“I’m kind of an experimental guy. I’ll go for the hyperbaric chamber, drink a new type of sports drink that’s supposed to keep your blood sugar regulated. I’ll do whatever.”
Unconventional? Sure (although the treatment is a growing trend among athletes), but the way his postseason has gone, Wilson could use a refreshing blast of cold air.
The All-Star posted a 16-7 record with a 2.94 ERA during the regular season but is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in three postseason starts.
St. Louis counters with its own ace, Chris Carpenter, whose three-hit shutout knocked out the heavily-favored Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 of the NLCS. Carpenter lasted only five innings in his lone NLCS start but the Cardinals’ stellar bullpen preserved a 4-3 win.
If Carpenter struggles tonight against the Rangers’ loaded lineup, he knows manager Tony La Russa won’t sit on his hands waiting for the Rally Squirrel to save the day. La Russa turned to his bullpen early and often against the Brewers and they should see plenty of action in the World Series as well.
More World Series coverage from The Washington Post:
Dave Sheinin: World Series pits ultimate survives against each other
Matchups: Cardinals vs. Rangers
Baseball Insider: Why Sheinin is picking the Cards
Thomas Boswell: Rangers show blueprint for hitting homers in a football town