(KSDK Sports) -- The St. Louis Cardinals completed an unthinkable season, hoisting their 11th World Championship trophy back in October 2011 after winning a seven-game series against the Texas Rangers.
Both teams have swapped and changed up quite a bit since the last time the Rangers touched foot into Busch Stadium. The Cardinals (47-26) host the Rangers (41-32) for a three-game set starting Friday.
Starting out with one of the biggest changes since the 2011 playoff series, former Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton shipped off to the Anaheim Angels for multi-million dollar contracts. There is no need to go into great detail about how well they are doing, but Pujols is hitting .265, Hamilton at .207 and the Angels are nine-games back in the American League West with a record of 33-40.
Cardinals fans will be able to recognize a similar face in a different place: Lance Berkman left St. Louis after the 2012 season to sign a one-year contract with the Rangers. Berkman hit .301 with 31 homers in 2011 while only playing 32 games in 2012. The six-time All-Star is hitting .260 with 6 homers for the Rangers.
Tony La Russa left the majors as a manager on top in 2011. His replacement, former Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny, built a winning combination in the daily lineup and rotation.
Dealing with injuries, Matheny, thus far, has fared well in his first two years as manager.
The final major change is the pitching: Chris Carpenter, Jamie Garcia, Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse took the mound for the Cardinals with Jason Motte in the closer spot. Carpenter, Garcia and Motte still remain with the Cardinals on the disabled list while Jackson and Lohse have left St. Louis.