6:39 PM - We're about a half hour from the first pitch of Game 2 so we've got a little time to talk about what happened yesterday in Game 1. Even though I've got the Rangers winning the series in six games, I had the Cardinals winning last night. Chris Carpenter is far and away the best big game pitcher in the series. He's tied for the lead among active players with 8 postseason wins in his career and he's now 3-0 in the playoffs this year. On the flip side, C.J. Wilson has not been good in the playoffs at all this year (0-3, 7.17 ERA). But any advantage St. Louis has in starting pitching ends with Carpenter in my opinion. Tonight they'll trot out Jaime Garcia who hasn't won yet in the postseason (0-2, 5.74) and I imagine he'll have a much tougher time trying to quiet this Rangers lineup than his predecessor Carpenter did.
|Photo Credit: zimbio.com|
6:49 PM - Let's take a look at tonight's starting lineups:
Ian Kinsler 2B - 13/44 (.295), 1 HR, 9 RBI, 2 SB
Elvis Andrus SS - 8/42 (.190), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Josh Hamilton LF - 12/45 (.267), 0 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB
Michael Young 1B - 9/47 (.191), 1 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB
Adrian Beltre 3B - 12/46 (.261), 3 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB
Nelson Cruz RF - 10/40 (.250), 6 HR, 13 RBI, 0 SB
Mike Napoli C - 13/40 (.325), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB
Craig Gentry CF - 4/11 (.364), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 SB
Colby Lewis P - 1-1, 2 GS, 11 2/3 IP, 12 K, 3.86 ERA
Rafael Furcal SS - 10/51 (.196), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB
Jon Jay CF - 8/40 (.200), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Albert Pujols 1B - 18/45 (.400), 2 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB
Lance Berkman RF - 11/42 (.262), 1 HR, 8 RBI, 2 SB
Matt Holliday LF - 13/36 (.361), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB
David Freese 3B - 18/42 (.429), 4 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB
Yadier Molina C - 12/47 (.255), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Nick Punto 2B - 4/23 (.174), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB
Jaime Garcia P - 0-2, 3 GS, 15 2/3 IP, 11 K, 5.74 ERA
6:54 PM - Trace Adkins on point with the National Anthem tonight.In honor of the 3-time Grammy Award Winner, here's the video for his baseball themed song "Swing".
7:05 PM - The 25 year old Garcia takes the hill for the Cards as we get set for the first pitch from St. Louis. After going 7 strong innings in the NLDS against Philadelphia, Garcia failed to get through 5 innings in both of his NLCS starts against Milwaukee. And the first pitch is a strike to Kinsler and we are underway.
7:09 PM - Garcia saws Hamilton's bat off at the handle to end the top of the first. The high powered Texas offense fails to hit a ball out of the infield.
7:12 PM - Colby Lewis toes the rubber as the Rangers Game 2 starter. Lewis won just 12 games in 5 seasons before spending 2008 and 2009 pitching in Japan. Since his return, he's won 26 games for the Rangers during the regular season and gone 4-1 in the postseason helping lead the Rangers to back-to-back World Series. He's also gone over 200 innings in each of the past two seasons for the Rangers.
7:16 PM - Two quick outs and here's Albert Pujols. And once again, this could be the last game Pujols ever plays for the Cardinals in St. Louis as there's no guarantee the series comes back to Busch Stadium. Pujols skies one to center and the inning is over.
7:22 PM - Back-to-back strikeouts for Garcia to start the second. He sure doesn't look like the guy who didn't throw a pitch in the sixth inning of either of his last two starts. That'll bring up Nelson Cruz, the ALCS MVP.
7:24 PM - Cruz hammers one down the left field line just foul and then flies out weakly to second baseman Nick Punto. Six up, six down, and no balls hit out of the infield for Texas.
7:29 PM - I'm not a machine, I'm just Albert. There's no way he doesn't stay a Cardinal, is there? It'd just feel wrong.
7:31 PM - After a Berkman strikeout, Matt Holliday draws a walk to become the game's first baserunner. Lewis still looking pretty good overall though.
7:34 PM - Lewis gets Yadier Molina to chase one up and away and end the second inning. Four hitless innings combined between Garcia and Lewis with a walk and four strikeouts so far.
7:40 PM - Garcia a little shakier in the 3rd giving up a rocket off the bat of Napoli right at David Freese, then falling behind Craig Gentry 3-0 before coming back to get a groundout. Still, at the end of three, he's gone nine up, nine down and only needed to throw 35 pitches.
7:48 PM - We almost saw a World Series game go hitless through the first three innings for the first time since 1998, but apparently Rafael Furcal had other plans as he doubles down the rightfield line with two outs for the first hit of the game.
7:50 PM - The double goes to waste though as Jon Jay grounds out to first to end the inning. 0-0 through three as we look to be in the middle of another classic National League style showdown.
7:53 PM - Who's going to be the first Ranger to hit the ball out of the infield? Everyone's had a chance, and nobody has succeeded. Kinsler leads off the fourth now as the Rangers get their second licks at Jaime Garcia.
7:54 PM - No perfect game tonight as Kinsler leads off the top of the 4th with a walk. The Rangers like to run, but Molina already gunned down Kinsler trying to steal in the first inning of Game 1. Not to mention the fact that Garcia is apparently very difficult to run on.
7:56 PM - Andrus basically whiffs on a bunt attempt which begs the question: How can you be in the major leagues and not be able to get a bunt down?? Especially as a two-hitter! It's called a sacrifice bunt! Do your job!
7:59 PM - Josh Hamilton's injured groin is clearly affecting him at the plate. His swing is all arms right now and he's just getting nothing on it. At what point to you shake the lineup up and put someone else in the 3 hole? Or do you just ride the guy who got your here? I think if it's me, I may make a change. Especially should Texas fail to win this game.
8:01 PM - And Michael Young loops one that just drops ahead of Jon Jay in center and the Rangers have their first hit of the game. Runners on the corners and two outs for Adrian Beltre. Beltre's been quiet this postseason with the exception of his three-homer explosion in Game 4 of the ALDS against Tampa. And Beltre drills a one-hop foul ball off of his teammate Kinsler at third. Whoops. Kinsler's a gamer though, he'll be all right.
8:03 PM - Three balls, two strikes, two outs. The payoff pitch to Beltre... swing and a miss, he struck him out! 4 scoreless from Garcia and he's now fanned Beltre twice. Pujols, Berkman, and Holliday due up for St. Louis.
8:08 PM - Berkman rolls one up the middle and Kinsler can't handle it on the backhand side and Berkman is aboard. Tough play for the Rangers second baseman, but the official scorers rule it an error, Kinsler's first of the postseason.
8:11 PM - Ohhhhhhhhh, pretty. Andrus to Kinsler who barehands the toss and flips to Young for the 6-4-3 double play and we are through 4 innings without a run. Who blinks first here? Are we destined for another Nelson Cruz 11th inning home run? Probably getting a little ahead of myself.
8:16 PM - WOW. Nelson Cruz just swung and missed at a ball in the dirt and the bat slipped out of his hands and wound up in the dugout. It's almost never good when the bat goes farther than the ball. One away in the 5th and that's four strikeouts for Garcia.
8:19 PM - Garcia fans Gentry to end the 5th. Another 1-2-3 inning for the Rangers, their fourth one of the night. What a performance from Garcia through the first 5 innings. One hits, one walk, five strikeouts. And most important, ZERO runs for the Rangers.
8:25 PM - Lewis hangs an 0-2 breaking ball and Nick Punto rips it through the right side for just the third hit of the game. Total. That brings up Garcia with two outs though. Garcia is 0 for 8 in the postseason this year, but he did hit a home run off of Milwaukee's Shaun Marcum during the regular season despite hitting just .097 (6/62).
8:27 PM - And he walked him! Maybe Lewis didn't see the part where I said Garcia hit just .097 during the regular season. You cannot walk the pitcher with two outs. Now the lineup turns over and you've got Furcal at the plate with a runner in scoring position.
8:29 PM - Woooooooooooooooo! Furcal smokes one up the middle but Andrus lays out for the diving stop, and flips it with his glove hitting Kinsler in stride and they get the force at second to end the inning. Unbelievable play. You'll be seeing that on Sportscenter later for sure! That's two terrific plays by Andrus at short and we're scoreless through 5.
8:34 PM - Kinsler's on board with a single through the left side, but turnabout is fair play as Andrus rolls one to Furcal at short and now it's St. Louis's turn to go 6-4-3 for the double play to end the inning. Six scoreless innings from Garcia now.
8:39 PM - Every time Albert Pujols steps up to the plate, I think of this moment and how quickly he can turn a game around...
|Photo Credit: sullybaseball.blogspot.com|
8:45 PM - Lewis fans Berkman and now we're through six and we're STILL scoreless. Hamilton, Young and Beltre due up for the Rangers in the 7th.
8:47 PM - Josh Hamilton continues to look miserable at the plate as Garcia strikes him out. That's 7 K's for the lefty tonight. All seven have been swinging.
8:49 PM - Beltre finally solves Garcia after fanning twice shooting one past a diving Furcal and the Rangers have a man on with two outs for Mr. Cruz. Lance Lynn up and throwing in the Cardinal pen.
8:52 PM - Cruz works the count to 3 and 1, but flies out harmlessly to right. 7 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk and 7 strikeouts for Garcia. Time for the 7th inning stretch. Did anyone have this game being 0-0 through 6 and a half innings?
8:58 PM - Lewis throws an 89 mile per hour heater past Matt Holliday for the first out in the 7th. Pujols, Berkman and Holliday are a combined 0 for 8 against Lewis tonight with a walk and 3 strikeouts.
8:59 PM - Freese drops one in front of Gentry for a single and the Cardinal third baseman has now hit in 12 straight postseason games. The NLCS MVP went 0 for 3 in Game 1 of the NLDS against Roy Halladay and the Phillies, but has hit safely in every game since then.
9:01 PM - Last night's hero Allen Craig is in the on-deck circle, so if Nick Punto reaches, it looks like Jaime Garcia's night is done.
9:01 PM - Punto rips one off of Michael Young's glove and into right field, and we've got runners at the corners and two outs. And now we're in the same spot we were in last night. Ron Washington is going to the bullpen for Alexi Ogando and once again he'll face Allen Craig in a tie game. Has any pinch hitter ever driven in the winning runs of consecutive World Series games before? Will it happen now?
9:03 PM - Lewis leaves having thrown 6 2/3 innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 walks and striking out 4. Definitely nothing for him to be ashamed of there. Heck of a performance from Colby Lewis. We'll see if Ogando can pick him up here and get the Rangers out of this jam and back into the dugout.
9:05 PM - Ogando, an all star as a starter this year (9-3, 2.92 ERA at the all star break), has been lights out in the bullpen in the postseason. While he did give up Craig's rbi single last night, he has an ERA of 0.84 over 8 appearances in the postseason with a record of 2-0.
9:06 PM - And Craig does it again! Ogando goes low and away with a fastball and Craig drives it into right for an rbi single. That's two games in a row! 1-0 Cardinals and here's Furcal.
9:10 PM - Ogando gets Furcal to hit into a fielder's choice, but the damage is done. And now the game is in the hands of the Cardinal bullpen.
9:13 PM - Daniel Descalso comes into the game for Freese at third and your new pitcher in the 8th is Fernando Salas, the Cardinals closer for the majority of the season before losing his job in September to Jason Motte. Mike Napoli to lead things off for Texas.
9:14 PM - Napoli swings and misses at a knuckle-curve for strike three and there's one away here in the 8th.
9:15 PM - And that's all for Salas who did his job. David Murphy, the lefty, comes in to hit for Gentry and Larussa counters by bringing in Marc Rzcpeps... Rzcepskzsczc... Rzcpczpcpzcpzcpzski... hold on, I can do this... Marc Rzepczynski. "Scrabble" faced two batters in last night's game, both righties, with two runners on in the 7th and fanned both of them.
9:18 PM - And Murphy is erased as Washington counters the counter from Larussa by bringing in Yorvit Torrealba.
9:20 PM - Unimpressive three pitch at bat for Torrealba as "Scrabble" gets him to chase a slider in the dirt for the second out. And now we're going to see another pinch hitter. Esteban German, who hadn't gotten an at bat since September 25th before pinch hitting last night. And German hits the first pitch to Pujols for the third out. And just like that, St. Louis, who wasn't even supposed to make the playoffs, is just 3 outs away from taking a 2-0 lead in the World Series. And Texas, the team with "the most complete roster in baseball", finds themselves having scored just 2 runs in 17 innings after plating 15 in the ALCS clincher.
9:24 PM - Endy Chavez now becomes the 4th man to enter the 8 spot for the Rangers as he'll replace Torrealba who replaced Murphy who replaced Gentry as the new centerfielder. Meanwhile, Mike Adams - the former Padre - takes over on the mound.
9:25 PM - And inevitably the first ball hit goes to Chavez. One away, and here's Pujols again, still looking for his first hit of the World Series.
9:26 PM - Pujols hits one to the fence out in right that misses going out by like a foot, but Nelson Cruz is there to reel it in. Two away and that'll bring up Berkman. Meanwhile, Jason Motte getting loose in the Cardinal bullpen. Motte has set down 22 hitters in a row in the postseason.
9:30 PM - Berkman hits one past a diving Kinsler and that'll bring up Holliday with two away and a chance to extend the lead. Adams, acquired from San Diego at the trade deadline, finished the year with an ERA of 1.47 and has 4 holds for the Rangers in the postseason.
9:34 PM - The payoff pitch to Holliday... and it misses outside for ball four. And here comes the pitching coach Mike Maddux. For those of you who don't know, that's the older brother of all-time great Greg Maddux.
|Photo Credit: sportsillustrated.cnn.com|
9:37 PM - Descalso grounds out to second and that ends the threat. Here comes Jason Motte to try and close things out. Fear the Beard! He'll see the top of the order for Texas as Kinsler, Andrus and Hamilton are due up in the 9th.
9:40 PM - Skip Schumaker into the game as a defensive replacement for Berkman in right. And here we go. Three outs away from a Cardinal win...
9:42 PM - And the streak is over. Kinsler dumps one in front of the no-doubles defense and the leadoff man is aboard here in the 9th. Kinsler has reached base three times tonight. Every other Ranger combined? Twice.
9:43 PM - WOW. GUTSY call right there as Kinsler steals second base. And when I say he was JUST in there. I mean he was JUST in there. So now the tying run is in scoring position with nobody out with Andrus at the plate. The bunt is off though with 2 strikes on him already. Andrus has done it with the glove tonight, let's see if he can have himself a good at bat right here.
9:46 PM - And Andrus delivers a line drive single in front of Jay sending Kinsler to third, and Jay's goes home allowing Andrus to move up to second base. Second and third, nobody out for Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Adrian Beltre. Let's see what Jason Motte is REALLY made of. Rangers need a run here.
9:49 PM - Or not. Larussa's making another move to the bullpen where the ex-Ranger - as in he played for the Rangers this August - Arthur Rhodes is coming into the game to face Josh Hamilton. So no blown save for Motte even though he's put the winning run in scoring position.
9:52 PM - And we're all tied up. Hamilton hits the first pitch he sees for a sacrifice fly to right that not only scores Kinsler from third, but moves Andrus 90 feet away from home. And out comes Larussa again, and the 41 year old Rhodes's night is over after just one pitch. Enter reliever number 5 for St. Louis as rookie Lance Lynn enters the game to face the righty Michael Young.
9:55 PM - Lynn appeared in 5 of the 6 games in the NLCS against Milwaukee and didn't allow a run in 5 1/3 innings. He quickly falls behind Young 3-0 though.
9:57 PM - The sacrifice fly may not be one of the more exciting plays in baseball, but it sure gets the job done. Young hits a 3-2 offering from Lynn into centerfield, deep enough to easily score Andrus and the Rangers have their first lead of the series and it comes with two outs in the 9th inning of Game 2. Beltre grounds out and now it's the Cardinals who find themselves three outs away from a loss. Molina, Punto and Schumaker due up for the Cardinals and they'll be facing the Rangers closer Neftali Feliz. The 23 year old Dominican has 4 saves of his own to go along with a 1.17 ERA in 7 appearances this postseason.
10:01 PM - 100 miles per hour from Feliz on the first to Molina. Nowhere near the strike zone though... 99 miles per hour, another ball... 97 miles per hour, 3 and 0... There's a strike at 98... And a leadoff walk for Molina. Those leadoff walks will kill you. Molina will exit for a pinch runner. And it's Gerald Laird who's going to do the running. Only Ryan Theriot left on the St. Louis bench as far as position players are concerned.
10:03 PM - Back to back failed bunt attempts from Punto. FUNDAMENTALS!!!
10:05 PM - And now he strikes out on a 99 mile per hour fastball up and out of the zone. Awful at bat from Nick Punto right there. One away and that'll bring up Schumaker.
10:08 PM - Feliz blows away Schumaker with a 98 mile per hour fastball down and in, and now there are two away. Laird still standing on first base. Rafael Furcal stepping in as the last chance for St. Louis.
10:10 PM - And the Rangers win Game 2! Furcal hits a lazy flyball to right field for the final out and this series is all tied up at 1 as we had to Arlington for the next three games. Mike Adams is your winning pitcher, Jason Motte your loser, and Neftali Feliz gets his 5th save of the playoffs. Another really well played game from both sides. Hard to believe we've only seen 8 runs scored TOTAL in the first two games of this series. Can't say enough about the work by Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus up the middle for the Rangers. Great starting pitching from both sides. Just a really good game in what's shaping up to be a really good series. Game 3 is Saturday. More on this game to come! Thus concludes the running commentary for Game 2.