World Series 2011: How Can Texas Rangers Rebound from Game 6 Breakdown?
October baseball doesn't get any better than this folks. Unfortunately for the Texas Rangers, they have to recover from last night's lost and get ready for tonight's game.
It's only Game 7 of the World Series, so they should be able to bounce right back, right?
They should, but a demoralizing lost like last night's in extra innings can and would rattle any team.
These are professionals we're talking about, however, so they have to strap on their game-time faces and rebound from Game 6.
Accept the Loss
The first part of getting over anything is acceptance. Technically, it's the last step of grieving, but it's also the first step of bouncing back.
The hearts last night were not so light deep in the heart of Texas, but the Rangers, as well as their fans, have to get over last night's game and get ready for tonight's.
You can't undo the past; but you certainly can affect the future. Dealing with last night's breakdown and accepting it can get the team in a better position to win Game 7 of the World Series.
Last night, the Texas Rangers seemed a little tense, epitomized by Michael Young's two errors.
Now I've always thought of Young as a solid defensive player. Of course, his natural position is shortstop, but he's pretty much played everywhere in the infield with relative ease. This year was the first time he played first base, which was his position last night.
A player such as Young, even if he is playing out of position, should be able to make plays without errors.
This goes to the entire Rangers team as well. If they want to get back and win the World Series, they're going to need to play solid defense as every run, and every runner, counts.
Bullpen Needs to Get Back to Form
At the end of the trade deadline, many people, including me, thought that the Texas Rangers' bullpen would be a strong point for them in the regular season and especially in the playoffs.
The Rangers added Mike Adams and Koji Uehara to bolster their bullpen, making one of the most feared bullpens in the league.
Fast forward to last night's game and their bullpen was uncharacteristically giving up runs and hits. Even their star closer, Neftali Feliz, was tagged for two runs. He's supposed to set the tone for the bullpen. If he can't get the job done, how is the rest of the bullpen supposed to pick up after him?
Tonight's game is going to definitely involve the bullpen; and if the Rangers want to win, their bullpen is going to need to get back to form.
Despite last night's scoring binge, the Texas Rangers haven't exactly been clutch hitters of late.
Last night the team left 12 runners on base. I'm pretty sure they could've used at least one of those runs.
Prior to Ian Kinsler's double, the Rangers were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and two outs. The Rangers are going to need to capitalize on every opportunity they can get.
Texas will be kicking themselves every time they leave a runner on base especially if the St. Louis Cardinals are able to capitalize on their own scoring opportunities.
The Texas Rangers are going to need Mike Napoli if they want to improve on that last point.
In the last seven games, Napoli has batted .455 with eight RBI and one home run. In the entire postseason, he has 15 RBI, second only to Nelson Cruz.
Napoli's been the Rangers' best offensive weapon so far, and Texas is going to need him at 100 percent.
In Nelson Cruz They Trust
Nelson Cruz injured his groin last night's and had to come out of the game.
He's listed as day to day, and there's no word on whether or not he'll play; but that same report on Napoli had Cruz saying he would play in Game 7.
The Texas Rangers would certainly love to have his eight home runs and 16 RBI in the lineup.
He's batting only .238 in the World Series, but more than half of his hits this entire postseason have been home runs: eight of his 14 hits.
His batting average isn't exactly ideal, but Texas is going to have to trust, and pray, that every time he swings, he'll get a home run. Hopefully, one of those home runs will be the one that wins the game.
Every team needs a leader and that leader needs to be the one to get the team back on track after a demoralizing lost. According to the Red Sox, that job belongs to the manager and there's truth in that.
The manager has to lead his team to victory. He has to call the shots and make the decisions. He needs to be the one that rallies the team together in tough spots and hard situations.
Ron Washington has managed to turn the Texas Rangers around in just five years and took them to two World Series in a row. So the guy knows what he's doing.
Of course, he's probably never had a situation as a manager like last night's game. Now he has to figure out how to get his team to bounce back and win the World Series.
Everybody falls down once in a while. The falling doesn't matter; it's the staying down that does.