After a tough loss Thursday night the St. Louis Cardinals go into the Texas Rangers' home portion of the 2011 World Series tied up at 1-1 and with a vaguely important decision to make: Who starts Game 3 against Matt Harrison? There are two sane options and one insane option, and it shouldn't surprise you to know that with Tony La Russa at the helm everyone's in play. With that in mind: Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson, or—seriously—Jake Westbrook?
Kyle Lohse: Lohse had an extremely impressive bounce-back season for the Cardinals after beginning his ill-advised four-year deal with two extremely awful half-seasons in the rotation. He doesn't look like he should be very tough—he currently features a high-80s fastball and a changeup—but at his best he features excellent command and gets just enough swings-and-misses on the off-speed pitch to stay in the game.
Cons: The tendency's mostly been in check since he joined the Cardinals, but as a young starter with the Twins he gave up a ton of home runs, which might not play well in Texas.
Edwin Jackson: Jackson strikes out surprisingly few batters given his famous fastball, but he also walks fewer batters than you remember and is coming off a lower-than-expected home run rate.
Cons: Jackson gives up slightly more flyballs than the average pitcher, which is not something you want to hear about going into the Ballpark in Arlington.
Jake Westbrook: Westbrook had an unpleasant year in the first season of his two-year contract with the Cardinals, walking 3.6 batters per nine innings and posting an ERA of 4.66. He was left off the NLCS roster before coming back in the World Series based on Chris Carpenter's sore elbow and the potentially fraught rotation dynamics of the Ballpark in Arlington.
Cons: He's pitching on about a month's rest and is clearly the worst member of the Cardinals' rotation.