After a terribly demoralizing Game 6 defeat, the Texas Rangers find themselves at the brink of humiliating come-from-behind defeat and a second straight losing World Series campaign.
The Cardinals and Rangers have yet to complete Game 7 of the 2011 World Series, yet the most pessimistic of Rangers fans have already started contemplating where Texas went wrong in this year's Fall Classic.
In the event that Texas loses the World Series tonight, fans have already lined up excuses to help explain why the Rangers could not close the deal this year.
From unworldly phenomena to on-field gaffes, these are the top excuses already lined up to explain why the Texas Rangers lost the 2011 World Series.
An upstart and determined Rangers team, however, will do their best to ensure this list never sees the light of day.
While Rangers MVP Mike Napoli twisted his ankle during Game 6, outfielder Nelson Cruz pulled his groin.
Thankfully, Napoli's X-rays came back negative, but both Napoli and Cruz were forced to conclude Game 6 and start Game 7 with nagging injuries.
If Napoli and/or Cruz are unable to perform during Game 7, count on injuries to factor into performance excuses.
Late in Game 1's seventh inning, the Rangers had two on with two out and a chance to score and tie the game at three.
With Yorvit Torrealba on the bench, manager Ron Washington instead elected to summon Esteban Germán to the plate, putting in a pinch hitter who had not had an at-bat since September 25, approximately three weeks prior to Game 1.
Germán struck out to end the Rangers threat. Texas would not threaten again, getting out in order in the eighth and ninth innings to lose Game 1 to the Cardinals, 3-2.
Germán also pinch hit and grounded out in the 11th inning of the World Series' pivotal Game 6.
The whys of Esteban are already brewing in the minds of Rangers fans.
When Texas struggled offensively in Game 1, some fans pointed to the frigid conditions in St. Louis, that a team from the south is simply not accustomed to playing in cold weather.
When the series shifted back to St. Louis after Game 5, MLB announced that Game 6 would be postponed by 24 hours due to rain in the forecast.
While some cited that momentum might be lost due to an extra day off, more pointed out that Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter would have an extra day of rest and would now be available to pitch Game 7.
Was MLB pressured by FOX to avoid playing a game that potentially could fall prey to rain delays? Was this a money move? Did St. Louis ask MLB to move the game, fully knowing that Carpenter needed an extra day of rest so he could start Game 7?
For any of these reasons, MLB's decision to postpone Game 6 came under fire, even if the temperature in St. Louis was more conducive to ice.
When Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando gave up one hit and an inherited run over .1 inning pitched in Game 1, no one gave it a second thought.
When he gave a repeat performance in Game 2, no one cared since the Rangers had won in come-from-behind fashion.
When he gave up four runs in .1 IP in Game 3, it wasn't as big of a deal because no one pitched well that day. St. Lous won 16-7, four runs were not the difference maker, though at this point, I predicted Ogando would not recover.
In Game 6, Ogando relieved starter Colby Lewis but could not pick him up. Instead of shutting down the Cardinals or at least getting out of the sixth inning, Ogando issued two walks, recorded a blown save and was finally taken out of the game after the damage had been done.
Ogando's World Series ERA is 11.57. Meanwhile, so is Darren Oliver's. However, Ogando has gotten consistent work and has consistently failed to deliver.
How many losses can be traced to Ogando?
In Game 1, Rangers batter Adrian Beltre hit a chopper to third base in the top of the ninth inning. As the ensuing out was recorded at first, something was wrong.
Beltre was hopping around home plate, yowling in pain, and pointing to his right foot. Ron Washington came out to argue, the umpires thought it over, and in the end, Beltre was out.
FOX had to go to infrared technology to prove that Beltre had indeed hit a pitch off his foot. It should have been ruled a foul ball.
The Cardinals won the contest by one run, and although the Rangers failed to produce for the remainder of the inning and game, some blamed the umpire for taking an out, and therefore a scoring chance, away from Texas.
In Game 3, Ian Kinsler was the middle man of a double play in the making.
One problem: his throw to first baseman Mike Napoli was wild. Napoli jumped, caught the ball and acrobatically reached back to tag Matt Holliday as he ran by.
Amazing double play. Two outs for Texas, right?
Wrong. First-base umpire Ron Kulpa called "safe," resulting in only one out recorded in the fourth inning of a then-1-0 game. Some blamed the umpire for Napoli's ensuing overthrow error to home plate which cashed in two additional St. Louis runs.
The Rangers lost Game 3 by a final of 16-7, yet some of the most ardent fans couldn't help but blame the umpire for the ensuing 15 runs allowed by Texas pitching.
Fans who blame the umpires for Rangers losses in Games 1 and 3 will not care that the umpiring during this World Series has been 99.4 percent accurate through six games.
It's true, but it's cold comfort to those people who love to blame umpires for everything and anything.
Josh Hamilton hit his first home run of the postseason in Texas' Game 6 defeat. Prior to his 3-for-6 Game 6 performance, Hamilton was a disappointment for the Rangers during this World Series.
Sure, he was playing injured, but he wasn't producing. Hamilton's three Game 6 RBI brought him only to five for the entire World Series, and his .500 performance in Game 6 raised his Series batting average to only .240.
It doesn't help that Bleacher Report's own Gabe Zaldivar speculated that God is a Cardinals fan, after Hamilton's words to the media following Game 6.
How could the Rangers possibly overcome an pious theory like that?
You remember 2002, right? The year that the AL All-Stars and the NL All-Stars abruptly abandoned play after 11 innings of baseball.
That would be the year in which Bud Selig, the owners and the players' union would all agree that home-field advantage in the World Series would be decided by the outcome of the Mid-Summer Classic.
In what was initially a two-year experiment, home-field advantage never came into play with a six game 2003 World Series followed by a four game sweep in 2004.
The experiment was extended permanently, resulting in a disaster just waiting to happen.
As I predicted at the beginning of the 2011 World Series, the Rangers-Cardinals series hurts the Rangers, who have the better regular season record.
The Cardinals received home-field advantage this year thanks to a National League victory during a glorified celebrity hardball game played three months ago.
The Cards didn't do anything to deserve home-field advantage in the World Series, yet thanks to "this time it counts," the first seven game World Series of the All-Star advantage era will leave the team with the better record out in the cold.
Surely Texas could have used their home crowd during Game 6 and especially during the pivotal Game 7. The two teams will play four games without a DH, outdoors, in chilly weather, with almost 50,000 screaming Cardinals fans.
Maybe if Nelson Cruz was at home in Arlington, he would have been able to make the play on Game 6's ninth inning shot to deep right field. At the very least, he might have been able to prevent the tying run from scoring.
After their brutal defeat in Game 6, Rangers fans are a divided bunch.
The optimistic fans are hoping, certain that their Rangers will not collapse tonight after their resolve shown in Texas to win this World Series. These fans will not believe it is over until the final out is recorded.
The pessimistic fans are getting their excuses ready to go, certain that their Rangers will lose Game 7 and the Wold Series. After all, Game 6 was so unbearable, the statistics are with the home team in the World Series, especially after such an improbable Game 6 outcome.
Remember the Angels beating the Giants in 2002 after their miraculous six-run Game 6 comeback? The pessimistic excuse list is ready to go and has been ever since the final out was recorded...in Game 6.
The bandwagon fans are jumping off the bandwagon, proclaiming the Rangers weren't all that great anyway. It was always St. Louis who was the better team. They're now on board the Cardinals' train.
Perhaps, it is better for Texas. It shows who the true fans really are. Win or lose Game 7, these excuses are waiting in the wings and might even surface if Texas wins it all.
They will surely make an appearance if Texas loses to the Cardinals tonight.