For a week, we see where the bar is set for the Cardinals

As the World Series begins tonight, perhaps we can begin to judge what the Cardinals need to compete for a championship in 2010, perhaps Tony LaRussa’s last year as their manager.

As far as big time power hitters go…the Cardinals are right there. Albert Pujols compares favorably to ARod and Ryan Howard.

The Cardinals clearly can compete in the starting pitching department, with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.

And, the bridge to the closer compares with New York and Philly, although Phil Hughes, Phil Coke and Joba Chamberlain of the Yanks and Ryan Madsen, Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre…who’ll probably retire after the series…of Philadelphia, are more accomplished than Jason Motte, Kyle McLellan and Dennys Reyes, as groups.

Closer. I don’t think anyone would take Ryan Franklin’s pedigree over Mariano Rivera’s or Brad Lidge’s. That’s one area where I believe the Cardinals fall short.

Third starter? Andy Pettitte or either Pedro Martinez or J Happ vs. Kyle Lohse? You have to take the World Series teams.

And then…match up the complementary players…for the Yankees, Derek Jeter, Mark Texiera and Robinson Cano…not even counting Posada or Matsui…or the Phillies Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Jason Werth…leaving out Shane Victorino…to Schumaker, Holliday and Ludwick.

There’s just more raw, base talent on the World Series teams than the Cardinals have. They need to sign Holliday, have Colby Rasmus turn into a star…and have Ludwick return to his 2008 form…plus have health in their starting rotation. And, they’re going to have Franklin turn into a championship closer at age 37…to compete next season.l