The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 1 of the 2011 World Series in a contest defined, in part, by the absence of Colby Rasmus. The Texas Rangers hope Game 2 will be defined by the mound presence of Colby Lewis.
Octavio Dotel and Mark Rzepczynski, whom the Cardinals acquired as part of a deal that sent the young and talented Rasmus to Toronto in July, got out all four of the batters they faced, striking out three. That helped St. Louis pull out a 3-2 win in the opening game of the series. In hopes of stealing home-field advantage from St. Louis, the Rangers will send Colby Lewis to the mound Thursday night.
Lewis has a 2.37 ERA in six postseason starts the past two seasons. He relies on a fastball-slider combination that makes him occasionally vulnerable to home runs; he gave up 35 this season. In all other facets, though, Lewis is a good pitcher, and with game-time temperatures in the low 50s at pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium, those homers might not bite him this time around.
If Lewis seems well-suited to the environs, Jaime Garcia is provably so. His career ERA at home in St. Louis is 2.37, and he has allowed an opponent OPS some 40 percent lower there than on the road. Unfortunately for Garcia, he is also left-handed, and the Rangers (especially Michael Young, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli) really mash southpaws.
All signs point to a second tense, protracted contest tonight, and neither manager will hesitate to go to his bullpen with an off day tomorrow. Keep it here for the lineups, updates, analysis and more on tonight's game.