Thursday, October 28, 2010

Game 1 of the Most Exciting World Series Ever

So that didn't quite go according to plan.  For the Rangers: Cliff Lee gave up 7 runs (6 earned) got chased in the 5th and suffered his first postseason loss ever; Vladimir Guerrero had trouble in right field; Michael Young and Josh Hamilton combined to go 0-for-8; Young and Elvis Andrus bobbled plays they normally make.  For the Giants: Tim Lincecum gave up 4 runs and got chased in the 6th; the Giants' bullpen gave up 3 runs (all with Brian Wilson on the mound).  The stat book: 10 doubles in the game (4 by the Rangers, 6 by the Giants).

Three Up

1.  The Rangers' lineup - Numbers 2 through 5 in the lineup (Young, Hamilton, Guerrero, and Nelson Cruz) combined for an awful 2-for-17, but the Rangers still scored 7 runs?  Clearly, this lineup knows how to hit.  (Bonus points to Elvis: his leadoff single extended his start-of-his-postseason-career hitting streak to 12 games.)

2.  The Rangers' resilience - (a) Down 8-2 against Lincecum with 2 outs in the 6th, the Rangers refused to give up.  Ian Kinsler walked; Bengie "The Vacuum" Molina doubled him in (8-3); Mitch Moreland singled off Lincecum's leg to put runners on the corners; and David Murphy singled to right, scoring Molina (8-4) and chasing Lincecum.  (b) Down 11-4 against the Giants' reputedly lights-out bullpen in the 9th, Julio Borbon led off with a single.  Elvis Andrus walked.  Josh Hamilton drew a walk after Michael Young's flyout.  Hamilton's walk loaded the bases with only 1 out for Vlad.  The Giants brought in their version of Mariano Rivera.  (Brian Wilson entered the game with 12 strikeouts in 9 innings pitched, having given up only 1 run on 4 hits this October.)  Wilson's third pitch to Vlad went deep into right, scoring Borbon from third.  Two pitches later, Nelson Cruz dropped one near the wall for a 2-run double.  Faint praise indeed: "Wilson got the Giants out of a bases-loaded, 1-out jam and limited the Rangers to only 3 runs."  No, the runs won't be held against him, but he is clearly not invincible.

3.  The Rangers' bullpen - Take out Mark Lowe (who made his postseason debut), and the Rangers' bullpen gave up only 1 run on 3 hits with 0 walks and 5 strikeouts in 2-2/3 innings.  (That one run came off the bullpen's third pitch, the one Juan Uribe deposited in the left field stands.)  Alexi Ogando got his 6 outs from Freddy Sanchez, Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, and Juan Uribe (a/k/a, the heart and soul of the Giants' lineup).  In other words, take away Cliff Lee's unrecognizable 5th inning, and the Rangers win 7-5.  (Of course, take away Tim Lincecum's unrecognizable 1st, 2d, and 6th, and the Rangers lose 5-3.)  After the first batter went deep on this young bullpen, you probably thought they would fold.  They didn't.

Three Down

1.  The Rangers lost.

2.  Cliff Lee proved himself human.

3.  All the professional writers will make this sound like a blowout.  Anybody who watched it and cares enough to think their own thoughts will realize it was just a sloppy game on both sides.  Both teams proved themselves vincible.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Rangers Win the Pennant

"No more words." - Javert, Les Miserables.

When Neftali Feliz's slider slid past Alex Rodriguez to make the Rangers the 2010 American League Champions, I had no words.

I remember the day I "became" a Rangers fan.  I was walking around, thinking really hard about which team was my favorite baseball team.  I kept going back and forth between the Rangers, the Athletics, the Blue Jays, and the Mets.  The Rangers were the home team; the A's had Rickey Henderson; the Jays were the best team in baseball; and the Mets were just plain exciting (little did I know that they frequently engage in buying up established stars who promptly forget how to play).  I thought to myself, "I always come back to the Rangers."  Then they traded for Jose Canseco, Kevin Brown won 21 games, and "they" became "we."

That was 1992.  This is 2010.  Eighteen years in the making, I am finally rooting for the American League champions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Game 5

Dear Rangers fans, both fair-weather and die-hard,

Fear not.  Tonight's loss was expected.  The Yankees are great because (a) they have more money than God, (b) they play in a weak division, and (c) they understand that baseball is about endurance, and they endure.  They won Game 5.  They will lose Game 6 or Game 7.  CC Sabathia is an excellent pitcher.  Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte are not (any more).

Dear Yankees fans, mostly fair-weather since you don't know what a rain storm looks like,

Be afraid.  Tonight's win was expected.  CC needed to avenge himself.  He has.  Sorta.  Now you rest your hopes on Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte.  I wish you luck, only not really.  You need to know what a rainstorm feels like.  Losing in the ALCS won't teach you that, but it's a start.