On the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated: a great and unpredictable World Series unfolds

Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba and Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay share the cover of this week’s Oct. 31, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands Wednesday, Oct. 26.

The 2011 postseason has been a stark reminder that the World Series doesn’t crown the best team of the year but rather the team that is best during the four-week October tournament. None of the top nine teams as ranked by Opening Day payroll and none of the top eight as ranked by regular-season ERA won a postseason series. Even the time-honored belief that great starting pitching wins championships has been brushed aside; entering Game 6 of the World Series, starting pitchers this postseason were 21–29, having been knocked out in four innings or less more times (16) than they lasted seven. Managers Ron Washington of Texas and Tony La Russa of St. Louis have combined to change pitchers 122 times this postseason through Monday. It’s little wonder that Game 6, scheduled for Wednesday in St. Louis, would be the 37th postseason game played this year — one fewer than the most ever needed to decide a champion (38 games in 2003).

Says La Russa, after his team’s 16–7 win in Game 3: “I don’t like this. It’s hard on the players, the coaches and the managers. There is never a point where you feel like the game is in control.”

Rangers starting pitcher C.J. Wilson describes the stress of this World Series in another way: “One thing about this Series is there’s no such thing as breathing room. There’s no, like, scrub dudes in the other lineup.”


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