The Cardinals have 21 pennants, 10 World Series championships and Tony La Russa, who has managed more games than anyone except Connie Mack and ranks third in managerial wins.
The Dodgers have 22 pennants, six World Series titles and Joe Torre, sixth in games and fifth in wins on the all-time lists for skippers.
Torre — who spent the middle part of his 18-year playing career in St. Louis, even winning an NL batting title with the Cardinals in 1971 — is hell-bent to climb the wall he has been hitting in postseasons. He’s in it for a record-tying 14th straight October, but he has been chased short of the World Series the past five trips, his teams going 14-18 in games.
The teams also have contrasting styles. St. Louis leads with its rights, a meal-ticket rotation of right-handers headlined by Game 1 starter Chris Carpenter. Los Angeles, which goes southpaw in the first two games with Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw, needs all the pieces in its kaleidoscope to fall into place to prevail.
But when they do, the Dodgers are formidable. They have boasted the league’s top record all season, through charges and chills. Things like that don’t happen by accident.
They do, however, happen by relief. Left-hander George Sherrill’s non-waiver Trade Deadline arrival made a good bullpen great — mirroring what Matt Holliday did for the St. Louis lineup. Dodgers relievers have by far the lowest aggregate ERA in the Majors, which helps explain why they’ve outscored foes by 70 runs late in games (seventh inning and after).