WS G6: Rangers blow it multiple times, lose 10-9 in 11

I don’t think I can write about that.

That was some EPIC level disappointment. Lost the lead five times, was within one strike of winning it all TWICE. Couldn’t get the job done.

That’s about all I can think of to write. Read the official links from the guys who get paid to write about the game. They have to. I don’t.

Game 6 of World Series postponed by rain

Well, Game 6 of the World Series was postponed due to rain. If you’re reading this, then you know it already, as I’m writing this after the point the game would have been over had it been played. :) This page is primarily here as a marker for my schedule page, so I can have an entry for the rainout.

It ended up working out for me OK enough, as the 26th is my wedding anniversary. My wife and I have been married 15 years now. We went out to dinner, and no game meant that we didn’t have to rush home to watch it. So that was nice.

Had a nice dinner at a pretty good Tex-Mex place only a few miles from our house. Place called “Primo’s“. Been going there for ages, and I tonight I talked ’em into making an off menu item. Got ’em to make brisket fajitas for me. Worked out really good, quite tasty. If you’re out in the Garland/Rockwall area by Lake Ray Hubbard, check it out.

WS G5: Rangers take series lead with 4-2 win over Cards

This was a really bizarre game. But I can say this. It was one of the most stressful games I’ve watched in awhile.

CJ Wilson was dancing with trouble the whole time he was out there, but didn’t really break. He made it into the sixth throwing 108 pitches. But he allowed four hits, and five walks. Granted, two of the walks were intentional to Pujols, but still. You always felt he was on the verge of giving up 5 runs, but he never did. Gave up two, although one was unearned. Alexi Ogando wasn’t a whole lot better. He only pitched one inning, but allowed two hits and three walks, but no runs. Go figure that one. :) He too was teetering like Ceej was, but nothing happened run wise.

All told, the Rangers gave up nine walks, although four of them were intentional. Three to Pujols, and one to Berkman.

The errors. There were two official errors, and a few other plays that probably should have been, but weren’t according to the official rules.

Given all the walks, the errors and fielding issues, we should have lost this game, but we didn’t. The Cardinals left 12 men on base, including the bases loaded at least twice that I remember. Rather surprised at that, to be honest. The Cardinals scored their runs early on in the second. Neither was a huge deal. One was a single to left, and the other was an infield groundout. Murphy’s bobble on the first hit allowed the second to score (eventually), and it was unearned because of that. But that was it for their scoring. Given how many guys were on base, it’s a surprise.

I’ve felt that Mitch Moreland has developed the Chris Davis problem, which is he swings much too “big”, and is stupidly susceptible to a slider down and in. Swings through it all the time. Kind of like the reverse of Juan Gonzalez’s old slider problem. Anyway, the Rangers got back into the game quickly in the bottom of the third when Moreland connected with a ball, and hit it halfway up the upper home run porch. Was a no doubter of a home run. One amusing thing, which is a Tom Grieve reference of sorts.. Immediately before Moreland went yard, Tim McCarver said “he hasn’t shown it in the post season yet but Moreland has some pop”. Does that count as the call? :)
The game stayed that way until the sixth when Albert Pujols connected on a ball and jacked it over the left field fence to tie the game. Given how little we were doing up to that point, it was a big booster to my feelings at the time. This game was seriously stressful, and the home runs seemed like a bigger deal than a solo shot to tie a game at 2-2 would normally be.

While I seem to be blowing off innings here, I have to point out again that this game was enormously intense. So much so that once I ran out of buffer time on the TiVo, I would pause the game for a few minutes, then watch a few minutes of the latest episode of “Two Broke Girls” from CBS. Then I’d go back to the game. I did this because I was mostly skipping the stuff inbetween the pitches. I didn’t want to wait for all the posturing, the mound conferences, the delays between pitches. I did watch every pitch of the game, but the stuff inbetween I didn’t want to watch due to the fact that the game was so intense.

Anyway, we get to the 8th, and then the real fun begins. It started off well, with Michael Young doubling, but then Beltre struck out. Still felt good about the inning. Then Tony LaRussa, aka “Super Genius” (see Wile E. Coyote) walks Nelson Cruz intentionally, and changes the pitcher to Mark Rzepczynski. Oddly enough Wash doesn’t counter that move with the RH Gentry, but sticks with Murphy. It works out, as Murphy hits a slow ball back to Rzepdzlqwrvgski and it bounces away. While we’ll never know what would have happen, his deflection let everyone be safe and loaded the bases. Super Genius had the reaction I captured in the picture here to the play. The next batter was Mike “MVP” Napoli. And you can guess what happened.

He doubled to the right center corner scoring Young & Cruz. Murphy goes to third and THEN is pinch run for by Gentry. While that was the end of the scoring, the rest of the inning log is worth looking at. Mitch “Davis” Moreland strikes out, and then the real amusing stuff starts. Super Genius brings in Lance Lynn, and has Lynn intentionally walk Ian Kinsler. While the TV guys were talking about that move, out comes Super Genius again and replaces Lynn with Jason Motte. What the heck? Bring in a guy to intentionally walk someone, then take him out? What was that? Well, Motte strikes out Elvis to end the inning, but that was definitely a “What the heck is he doing” moment.
Speaking of odd things in the 8th.. I was texting with a friend of mine who lives out in Arlington during the game. Here’s a small exchange between us about the game. It’s a screen dump from my iPad, we were chatting on the new iOS 5 iMessage feature. I had been talking about how stressful the game was, and my friend Jeff,… well, read it. :)

So I attributed the 8th inning to the fact that I went and got a beer. I ended up catching up to live TV just before Napoli’s hit, which is probably good, because someone might have texted me and spoiled it (I had a few others texting me at the same time).

We get to the ninth and Neftali Feliz comes in for the save. Doing his best to call up the ghost of John Wetteland, Feliz hits his first batter, Allen Craig. Then comes a move that Super Genius blamed on miscommunication – like the miscommunication with the dugout phones. You almost thought Super Genius was going to say something like “Well, it would have worked if the phones were working, and people would have gotten my signals”. In a move that hasn’t happened the ENTIRE 2011 season (spring, regular, post), Albert Pujols struck out, and then Craig was caught stealing at second. That was the first time all year Albert has done that. So I say again, “Thanks Albert!”.

Even the final out of the game was an adventure. Lance Berkman struck out, but Napoli dropped the ball, and it caromed off his foot, and rolled towards the Rangers dugout. He ran it down, much further than I’ve ever seen a catcher go after a dropped third strike, and underhanded it to Napoli for the final out of the game.

As weird as this game was, Super Genius blamed the bullpen phone for the mixup with the relievers in the 8th inning. He claimed that he asked for a guy to get up, and someone else was up. He even called twice, and the bullpen coach said he didn’t hear the same name that Super Genius asked for. The names in question didn’t even remotely sound anything like each other, so the whole exchange sounds fishy. You can read more about it here and here.

When the game was finally over, I posted this to Twitter. Was short and sweet.

Exhale #Rangers

It was intense, and I don’t think anyone wanted to go to St. Louis down 3-2. Instead, we’re UP 3-2. We’re only one win away from winning the World Series. The only thing more surreal than that will be the post saying we won (assuming we do). But being on the edge is both nervous and exciting.

The Rangers won a game it had absolutely no right winning. How did they survive to pull this one out? Only the baseball gods know the answer to that one. The Rangers were charged with only two errors, but made five major defensive miscues. They issued four intentional walks (only the third time in World Series history that’s happened). They walked nine batters altogether (only the 16th time a team has walked nine-plus in a World Series, and only the fourth team to win). They hit a batter and tossed a wild pitch. They threw 181 pitches in nine innings.

That bit above was taken from an ESPN story on the game. My response to it is this…. The bottom line is a W. That’s *ALL* that matters in the playoffs and especially the World Series. Not HOW you got the W.

Oh, and for the record, I enjoyed Derek Holland’s impressions in the game. I know some were saying it was inappropriate. I know Jamey Newberg didn’t like it, and the guys I listened to on XM Radio in the morning didn’t like it, but I did. Made me laugh. For me, I saw it as lighthearted. If anything, it was an extension of Ron Washington’s attitude about having fun and not being too serious.

P.S. It also never occurred to me until last night that our closer’s surname translates to “Happy”. Don’t know why I didn’t pick up on that before.

WS G4: Holland masterful; Rangers even series with 4-0 win

After getting trounced the night before, 16-7, I’m not sure many Rangers fans knew what to expect the next game out. Anyone who picked a near complete game shutout by Derek Holland was either really high on Holland, or perhaps just high. I don’t think anyone really figured we’d get THAT good of a performance from Holland.
Oh, he’s shown moments of greatness during the season. He’s had some dominating performances for sure. But in the World Series in the next game after giving up 16 runs? No, that’s a new level of greatness for the man who sports the goofiest ‘stache around. While I didn’t think he’d stink it up, I can’t say I was terribly confident in Derek before the game started. After the blowout, it was pretty important we even it up 2-2, as if we went down 3-1, it was realistically over.
But Derek proved me wrong, by coming out and dealing. Derek was just lights out. He allowed just two hits in his 8.1 innings of work. Both of them (single, double) were to the same batter, Lance Berkman. That was it. Derek did walk three, one of which was his final batter in the ninth. Speaking of the ninth, I have to say when he did come out for the ninth, I was QUITE surprised. I didn’t think Wash would send him back out there. He was dealing, and still looked quite impressive, but I figured for sure we’d bring in Feliz for the ninth. Feliz came in anyway after Holland walked a batter, and got a great standing O, but it was seriously impressive to see a Rangers starting pitcher of recent vintage who wasn’t named Cliff Lee be that dominant in the World Series. Painting the corners, struck out eight – he was just lights out. Was really REALLY impressive.
Thing is, we weren’t doing a lot against Edwin Jackson, either. We did push across a run in the first inning, but left the bases loaded. Never ever a good sign to do that. But that one run held up. It was still 1-0 going into the bottom of the sixth. We had missed a few opportunities to score, one when Kinsler was picked off to end an inning. There was a double play in there too if I remember right, so we weren’t exactly raking in the offense. The one thing Jackson WAS doing was walking guys. He walked seven in all during his 5.1 innings of work. Rather a lot, actually. But they hadn’t burnt him. Until now. Tony LaRussa made one of his “genius” moves, and brought in Mitchell Boggs from the bullpen to face Mike Napoli..

Mike jacked the first pitch he saw up near where Albert Pujols’ big home run from last night went. A titanic blast that was an instant no doubter. When it happened, I threw my arm up in the air, and did my “Oh, GOODBYE!” thing I do when it’s a total no doubt home run. That set the tone for the rest of game. Put us up 4-0, and while there was no more scoring, it was fun from that point forward.
The top of the ninth had a little drama, but not TOO bad. Nick Punto grounded out, and then Holland walked Furcal. This prompted a visit to the mound, and Wash ended up taking Holland out. Brought in Feliz, who walked Allen Craig. Not good. But he kept Pujols in check again with a flyout, and struck out Matt Holiday to end the game.
It was a stellar game. Pitching, some power, this is what Game 3 should have been, not that fiasco that masqueraded as a World Series game on Saturday night.
We’re now 2-2 again, and going into Monday night’s final game in Arlington for 2011, we need CJ Wilson to step up and be the starter than he should be. I mean, look at this graphic they flashed during the game last night. It’s an impressive negative statistic. He needs to break out of it NOW, as this is his final start of the season. Gotta make it work, CJ.

Back to St. Louis Note: There’s an 85% chance of rain in the Forecast for Game 6 on Wednesday. If that happens, Game 6 will probably be Thu, and Game 7 will probably be Friday. If that’s the case, do we see the ‘stache again in Game 7?

WS G2: Rangers come back late, beat Cards 2-1

That simple title does not do justice to this game at all. Not EVEN CLOSE. This was an epic game. There’s so much to write about on this one, but I’ll start it off with just two quick questions:
What if Elvis Andrus got the bunt down?
What if Albert Pujols cut off the ball?

While both of those questions happened during the same at bat, they’re both really deep questions. If Elvis Andrus had gotten his bunt down during the 9th inning (which he did not), he wouldn’t have gotten the single to right he did, which set up the scoring for the Rangers. Granted, if Elvis hadn’t gotten the single, we wouldn’t be asking the second question. Which itself is probably a bigger issue. If Elvis HAD gotten the bunt down, it’s probably likely the Rangers would have tied the game. One never knows for sure, but I’d say it’s probably a reasonably safe bet we would have tied it. However, when Elvis singled, Albert Pujols clearly muffed the cut off throw, and due to that, it allowed Elvis to get to second on the throw. This set up second and third, nobody out, and the Rangers tied the game and then took the lead on two consecutive sac flies by Hamilton & Young. It was an epic EPIC ninth inning. Tony LaRussa used three pitchers in that inning. He started off with his closer, which he pulled after just two batters. I’m not sure if I agree with that, I probably would have walked Hamilton and played for a double play. He brought in Arthur Rhodes, who threw one pitch, and was out. That was the sac fly pitch to Hamilton. That’s where the muff by Pujols was HUGE. That put Andrus on third with just one out.
I’ve seen a lot of baseball games in my life. I’m just 46, so not nearly as many as some friends of mine (Hi Tom & Stan), but still. One of the better playoff games period. Speaking to that, I was listening to XM’s baseball channel yesterday afternoon, and heard something on there that rung pretty true to my ears. They said that this was the first truly pure World Series in some time. What they meant was that the teams are pretty evenly matched all things considered. On top of that, the teams haven’t played each other. Oh, they played three games a few years ago in Arlington, but let’s face it. We really haven’t played them. Their angle was that it was two evenly matched teams who haven’t faced each other except in the World Series. They said it was an old school World Series, and I agree with that. Then on top of it, we got a couple of really good games the first two!
This game was a serious pitcher’s duel for quite a long time. It was scoreless into the bottom of the seventh, when the Cardinals scored their run. Leading up to that, Colby Lewis & Jaime Garcia were matching zeroes. Garcia actually pitched a little better than Lewis in terms of the pure numbers:
Garcia: 7IP, 3H, 0R, 1BB, 7K
Lewis: 6.2IP, 4H, 1ER, 2BB, 4K
But they matched zeroes. Truth be told, the one run that Lewis allowed was an inherited runner that Ogando allowed to score. The play that scored the STL run was reminiscient of Byung-Hung Kim in the Diamondbacks/Yankees series 10 years ago. Two straight games, two of the same result. Ogando allowed an RBI hit to Allen Craig. Both times pinch hits, too. That was frustrating, and had me talking at home, and on Facebook about how I hate pitchers batting. At that time, Garcia was pitching great, and he was taken out due to wanting a hitter. Granted, the move WORKED, but their (at that time) doing quite well starting pitcher was removed. I grew up in an NL town. I lived NL baseball until I was 28. I don’t like pitchers batting – kills almost everything offensively.
Speaking of pinch hitting, our pinch hitting in this series has been total ass. Check this:
Game 1:
Craig Gentry – PH for David Murphy, struck out, left two men on.
Esteban German – PH for CJ Wilson, struck out, left two men on.
Game 2:
David Murphy – PH for Craig Gentry, was pinch hit for himself before he batted
Yorvit Torrealba – PH for David Murphy, struck out.
Esteban German – PH for Alexi Ogando, grounded out.
Game 1:
Allen Craig – PH or Chris Carpenter, singled, RBI (off Ogando)
Game 2:
Allen Craig – PH for Jaime Garcia, singled, RBI (off Ogando)
Needless to say, the Rangers pinch hitting has been a wasteland. Actually, David Murphy had the best at bat, he didn’t even make an out! Granted, he didn’t have an official at bat, either, but he did statistically make an appearance, and didn’t make an out!
Anyway, I was really enjoying the pitching matchup, and I do have say after the Cardinals got their one run, I was a bit concerned about going home to Arlington, 0-2. Not in full fledged panic mode, but it was a bit of #johnvittas clenching, for sure. Speaking of the “Vittas Clench”, it snuck in full force when Colby walked the other pitcher. That’s always BAD. Fortunately it didn’t hurt us
The big hero for me for this game has to be Elvis Andrus. He was clutch in a bunch of places. He had two spectacular defensive plays in the field, both of them ended an inning. One was a feed to Ian Kinsler (who bare handed it) for an inning ending double play. The other was a dive on a ball I didn’t think he’d get to, and a backwards glove only flip to Kinsler for an inning ending force at second. Then in the ninth, he had the single and the extra base take on the Pujols error. He also stole a base. He was big all over this game.
Overall, there wasn’t a ton of offense in this one. COMBINED, the teams had 11 hits, 3 runs. Of the hits, only one was anything but a single (Furcal’s double). Was JUST enough. Felt more like an NL game.
The ninth inning comeback was even more improbable when you realize it was against the Cardinals’ closer – who up until that point was untouched in the playoffs. Then Tony LaRussa started his “car of circus clowns” approach to relievers. Just keep pulling ’em out of the car door. Heh. Seriously though – that he pulled his closer was impressive. Once Elvis got to second on the Pujols muff, I kind of figured it was over. Second and third with nobody out, you just FELT like we were scoring those two.
Afterwards, there were several people who were equating the comeback to the same kind of thing against the Miami Heat in the NBA finals a few months back. Stunned the Heat at the end of game 2, sending it back to DFW with a split. We know what happened there. :)
Bring it on home, boys! Thanks again, Albert. Way to support your team by bailing out and not talking to anyone after the game, too. Probably didn’t want to take the hard questions like “Albert, do you think that because of your error, you may never play another game in St Louis as a Cardinal now?” :)

WS G1: Rangers lose tight Game 1 of World Series, 3-2

Well, one down. Unfortunately, it went in the wrong win column. But it wasn’t as awful as all that. The bulk of the Cardinals’ offense was on a single hit that Nelson Cruz almost got. It definitely fell under the category of “good break” for St. Louis.
The game was a pitcher’s duel for awhile. When one says “pitching duel”, you think of well pitched games, with lots of strikeouts, and not a lot of messing around. That’s not the way this one went. CJ Wilson was “effectively wild”. While his line wasn’t too bad, he did walk a ton of guys, and got out of a few innings with double plays. He was anything but crisp. 5.2innings and just three earned runs isn’t too bad. But he had more walks (six) than hits – although two of them were listed as intentional (one wasn’t, really). He also hit Albert Pujols. So he was all over the place. Came out of the game with 94 pitches. The World Series is not a time to mess around.
Our pen kept the Cardinals down, throwing 2.1 innings of scoreless relief between Ogando, Gonzalez, & Feldman. That part was as advertised. But Wilson continues to underwhelm this post season. He’s pitching like a #5 starter, not a #1 starter.
Offensively, we never got much sustained. In fact, our two runs came solely on a longball by Mike Napoli – a no doubter oppo to right field. We had just six hits total. Two by Kinsler, two by Adrian Beltre, and one each by Nelson Cruz & Mike Napoli. Not a lot of offense there.
While I didn’t like the outcome of the game, I did like the three Stella Artois beers I drank during the game. :)
It WAS a good game, even though we lost.

ALCS G6: Rangers blow out Tigers 15-5 to take series!

After the third inning, it was over. We still had to play five and a half more innings to make it official, but it was over. The nine run bottom of the third was something to behold.
This game had so many moments, had so many things go our way, I don’t know where to begin. Honestly, I really don’t know what to write about this game, it was so cool.
I will say this. I’m saving the recording of this game. Transferred the entire game, including all the Post game celebration stuff, and the Fox 4 coverage. Given I have a TiVo, I can transfer the program to my computer, save it there, and if I want to watch it on the TV again, I’ll get it back. It’s a 5hr32min HD recording, and it takes up 35Gb in all. Need to move that off the TiVo. :)
Boomstick set a new record for home runs in any round of the playoffs, besting names such as Reggie Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr, Chase Utley, and own Juan Gonzalez, who did that in 1996.
Michael Young finally came through, in the game that mattered the most. As exciting as this game was, I’m probably not writing much, because I’m just so excited about it – when I sit to think about it, it’s just to marvel at it. Not pick apart the details.
Wow. Just wow. Two years in a row in the World Series. Nobody’s done that in the AL in a decade, and that was the Yankees at the height of their late 90’s power. Given what that late 90’s Yankees team did to us back then, it’s nice to be the only other team to do that since.
I’m going to close this one out with a couple of selected pictures. I have time to write about this game right now, but I’ve tried a few times, and all I can come up with is “Wow.”
Just watch this video. Again. And when you’re done, play it again. BTW, it includes Eric Nadel’s call, too. And the Rangers spanish coverage, too! :)

ALCS G5: Rangers doomed by big inning, lose 7-5

The Rangers went into game five, up 3-1, and needing just one win to get back to the World Series. Justin Verlander was the starter for the Tigers, and it would be a tall task to get past him.
We didn’t. But he wasn’t as infallible as normal. He did go 7.1 innings, and tossed a lot of pitches (133 total). But we did manage to get eight hits and three walks off of him, for a total of four earned runs. Most of our runs didn’t come until late, though. We technically were up early. 1-0 going into the bottom of the third, but that was it for a lead in this one. The game was tied 2-2 after five, but in the bottom of the sixth, it fell away.
The Tigers plated four in the bottom of the sixth, on a natural cycle by the team. Ryan Raburn led off with a single. Miguel Cabrera doubled to left, scoring Raburn. Victor Martinez rumled around for a triple, scoring Cabera, and finally Delmon Young homered.
The Tigers plated their final run in the 7th when Raburn homered off of Kohi Uehara, which reminded me a bit of Byung-Hung Kim giving up gopher balls to the Yankees in 2001. Anwyays, that was it for the Tigers.
The Rangers did make some noise coming back after that. The score was 7-2 after the 7th. The Rangers scored two in the 8th, when the Boomstick struck again for a two run shot. We scored another in the ninth, and had two men on after that with the go ahead run on the plate, but didn’t finish the job.
Most of this game was the Rangers playing catch up, and while we got close, we couldn’t get it over the hump, and the Tigers won. Not too terribly surprising.
Rangers offensive highlights.. We had 10 hits overall, and five of ’em were extra base hits. Four doubles (Kinsler, Young, Murphy, & Hamilton) plus the Cruz home run. Everyone had at least one hit except Beltre & Moreland who took ofers.
As I said in the other loss, I never expected a sweep. I kind of always figured Rangers in 6 or 7. This series has gone quite well, it’s been tight, well played (mostly) baseball. With the right set of breaks, the Tigers could have easily been up 3-1 at this point. No doubt.