World Series 2011: What the Texas Rangers (and Fans) Learned from Game 1
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Texas Rangers fans, take a deep breath and relax. It's going to be okay. The Texas Rangers lost Game 1 of the World Series. And now we're (yes, present company included) seemingly ready to scale the heights of that stupid arch, and take the shortcut down.
St. Louis Cardinals fans, congratulations. You've done just what that other "hottest team in MLB" managed to do, you've beaten the Rangers in Game 1. Perhaps I should clarify: The Rays crushed the Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS. The Texas Rangers rebounded just fine.
To be honest, Tampa Bay really stole too much of the Cardinals' thunder. After all, weren't the Rays more a product of the Red Sox' epic collapse than the benefit of just being plain hot?
Well, if the Cardinals are playing with a chip on their shoulders, it sure as heck works well for them. I don't think that's the case. I think they are just a solid, fundamentally sound team that is overachieving. The Cardinals are a great baseball team, and they're showing it at the best possible time.
Some might say they're "lucky." I disagree. Funny thing about "luck"—if it's on your side long enough then you just become "good."
No, from the Rangers' point of view, calling the Cardinals lucky is just an excuse—a trap fueled by weakness and insecurity—that none of them would fall into.
Remember when the Texas Rangers were really, really bad? It happened so frequently that it's easier to remember the times that the Texas Rangers were really, really good. Right now is one of those historically rare times.
In Game 1, the Texas Rangers just got flat out beat. It happens. The best thing to do—okay, second best thing since you're already reading this article—is to relax.
Crack open your favorite cold beverage, and enjoy the moment. No, don't savor the loss, imbibe in the moment when the Rangers can strike back. And atonement, my friends, is less than 24 hours away.
The Texas Rangers are down 0-1 in the World Series. What can we all learn from that 3-2 loss?
Pujols Can Go O-Fer and Still Beat You
"I must find Sarah Conner."
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One of the cool things about this World Series matchup is that each team knows so very little about each other.
Except for Albert Pujols. I'm pretty sure that anyone and everyone is quite familiar with what Pujols is capable of. Pujols is a true offensive marvel, but he can play a little defense too.
Pujols certainly flashed the leather on a worm-burning scorcher down the first base line off the bat of Michael Young. Had he not come up with that, Kinsler most likely would have scored, and in a game as close as this one, all runs are of extreme importance.
Josh Hamilton Is Not Kidding When He Says He's at "50 Percent"
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It's the World Series, there are no secrets. Anyone who wants to know intricate details about their favorite teams, players, or whatever, need only "google it."
So, Josh Hamilton's strained groin isn't exactly breaking news. Neither is Chris Carpenter's elbow. Carpenter clearly lacked his best stuff and command, but he was good enough to win.
I'll take my chances with Josh Hamilton even if he's not 100 percent. He looked okay on defense but some of his swings looked like he has absolutely zero lower-half power.
And that's probably the case. I admire players that play hurt, but at some point, if the player's banged-up enough, he becomes a detriment to his team.
The Rangers need Josh Hamilton. But if he is hurting as bad as his swing seems to indicate, they don't need him batting third.
Sure, there are protection issues if Hamilton is moved from the three-hole. But the four-hole might be problematic too.
Is David Freese's Glove Where Line Outs Become Hits and Wins Become Reality?
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As acknowledged ad nauseum by every facet of the media (present company included), the Rangers and Cardinals are not very familiar with each other.
We learned two things about NLCS MVP David Freese in Game 1.
No 1: The kid can hit. He needs to be treated with the respect of careful pitching or he'll burn the Rangers. Freese's fly out to centerfield in the bottom of the fourth inning is more than halfway up "Green's Hill" at the Rangers' Ballpark in Arlington.
The second thing we learned is that Freese isn't exactly automatic at third base. Now look, I'm not saying the dude can't play, because that isn't the case.
However, 33 percent of the Rangers' hits found their way via his glove. He looked slow to his right. Perhaps we're spoiled by the consistently excellent defense of Adrian Beltre.
Here's hoping that "Past a diving David Freese" are five words spoken often. Somehow I doubt it.
Whether or not he's solid at the "hot corner" or not doesn't really matter much if he continues to crush at the plate.
Is It Time to Move Michael Young out of the Four-Hole?
"Rahhh!! Ball mine! Catch ball GOOD!!!"
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There were whispers—some loud enough to be heard on a helicopter—that Michael Young should be moved from the cleanup spot.
His numbers didn't negate those responses. Then of course, Game 6 of the ALCS rolled along and Michael got himself two hits and four RBI in one inning!
The box score from Game 1's World Series loss shows another hitless night for Young.
I'm no Michael Young apologist. But in Game 1 he just missed having a couple of hits, one of which would have driven in Kinsler in the sixth and possibly would have changed the outcome of the game.
Plus, having a cleanup hitter that a starting pitcher isn't afraid to go after means MY will see more quality pitches.
He'll get hot again soon.
Elvis Andrus Is a True Gentleman
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As the above picture shows, Chris Carpenter made an outstanding play. The feed from Albert Pujols was one that would have been difficult for an NBA center to corral. How Carpenter caught it is beyond me.
I'm certainly glad there was no injury on this play. Elvis Andrus could have easily stepped on Carpenter's pitching hand—by mistake or not—and I'm glad he didn't.
Stepping on his hand would be dirty, and there is nothing cool about that. Ask yourself this, though: How many players can you think of that might have tried to impale Carpenter here?
Not to point any fingers, but I'm pretty sure the New York Yankees have a play drawn up that they practice just in case this occurrence transpires. I believe the play is called "Step on the pitcher's pitching hand."
Relax, I'm kidding.
That's cheap and I'd rather lose the game honestly than through bush-league antics. I salute you, Elvis Andrus.
Now please learn how to foul off a pitch when the hit-and-run is on.
The "Cliff Lee" Thing Is Done
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Clifton Phifer Lee made his choice. He chose poorly. Well, to be fair, he chose poorly if he wanted a chance to win a World Series championship this year.
If he wanted to get lit up in his only postseason start, then he chose wisely. I'm sure he's crying himself to sleep on a pillow stuffed with an insane amount of money right now.
Here's the deal, no one can ever say that the Texas Rangers "can't win without Cliff Lee." That argument is so beyond moot it's "muerte." It's so far gone that I had to resort to the use of another language to reiterate how off-the-grid that mindset is.
Yeah, Cliff Lee got the Rangers to the Series last year. The Rangers needed him. They sure didn't need him this year. Heck, if they had him, they'd probably be bounced out of the first round.
It's not earth-shattering information that C.J. Wilson has been so-so at best this postseason, and dreadful at worst. He certainly has been no Cliff Lee.
And that's a great thing.
Cliff Lee surrendered five earned runs on 12 hits against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of this year's postseason.
Wilson laughs at that. He only surrendered three earned runs on four hits. And Wilson did that in St. Louis. Lee got knocked silly in his own casa.
Colby Lewis in Game 2
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Texas Rangers fans, it's not a one-game elimination series. Far from it. Best case scenario the Rangers will win Game 2, and steal home field advantage, with the next three in Arlington.
Worst case, they drop Game 2, and still get three at home with every opportunity to go back to St. Louis with the series lead.
Either way, aren't you glad it's Colby Lewis toeing the rubber tonight rather than Derek Holland?
Two great offenses locked horns in Game 1 and the end result was a good, old-fashioned 21st-century redux of the classic "pitcher's battle." Each starter went at least five, and two great bullpens slammed the door shut.
The Rangers' bats will awaken. And just in case the Cardinals' do as well, aren't you glad it's Colby Lewis in a pitcher's park than Derek Holland for Game 2?