As the Rangers and Cardinals prepare to open the World Series tonight in St. Louis, The Sun's sports staff predicts the winner.

Peter Schmuck has already registered his opinion, writing that the combination of home-field advantage, the fight they showed in clawing their way into the postseason as a wild card, strong veteran leadership and pitching will send the Cardinals to victory. Here's what others have to say:

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THE PICKS

* Peter Schmuck: If you want the short form, I picked the Cardinals in six games because I think wild-card teams have some extra mojo in the postseason.

* Dan Connolly: I'll say Cardinals in six. Reason? I have continually underestimated the Rangers and their pitching staff for the past two years, so I might as well stay consistent.

* Steve Gould: Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman are about as potent a three-headed monster as there is in baseball, but the Rangers are tough outs, one through nine (or one through eight when they play in St. Louis). Texas' offense continues to rake, and the pitching staff does enough to send the Rangers to their first World Series title in five games.

* Matt Vensel: The Rays over the Phillies. Wait, that was my pick three weeks ago? Ugh. I think the Rangers will win this one in six games, so count on a victory parade for Albert Pujols and the Cardinals.

* Ron Fritz: Rangers in six games. Texas has too much firepower for the Cardinals. If the Rangers get any pitching, it could be over faster than six games.

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