Friday, October 28, 2011

Game 6 -- Cardinals win or Rangers lose?

Some people are saying Game 6 of the 2011 World Series was exciting and I suppose it was in many ways but it was certainly not well played or executed.  At last count five errors by the two teams resulted in at least five runs crossing the plate.
Obviously having the Cardinals come back from the brink twice added a great deal of drama but (and maybe it's because I wanted the Rangers to win) I found it aggravating that they couldn't close the door.  I give the Cardinals a lot of credit for their tenacity, being one strike away from losing on two different occasions and battling back; but it felt like to me that the Rangers gave it away more than the Cardinals took it.  The Cardinals were in an offensive slump, and I feel as though they would've stayed in a slump had the Rangers pitchers pitched well.
I said it somewhere before Game 6 that the Rangers closer was a time bomb waiting to happen.  I don't have the stats in front of me but how many walks had that guy given up before the bomb exploded last night?  He gave up at least two last night, including walking in a run.  Then comes the game-tying triple, which looked to me like a catchable ball, though you wouldn't know from the TV coverage.  It appeared to me that Nelson Cruz was never at full throttle going back for that ball and, therefore, came up one stride short of getting to it, especially hard to believe given that the Rangers outfielders were practically sitting on the outfield fences.
Now, all of the above seemed to be moot when Josh Hamilton hits his first homerun of the series to put the Rangers up by two runs in the 10th inning; but this is where the vice grip of pressure was visible.  The Cardinals had momentum, the stadium was rocking and the Rangers pitching staff looked tight and afraid.  They proceeded to give up two runs to tie the game once again.
On to the 11th inning, where the Rangers couldn't score a run; Ron Washington changes his mind and pinch hits for his last good pitcher with a man on first and two out, and the only pitcher he has left gives up the predictable game-winning homerun by Freese.
We've seen this time and again in baseball -- the team that has the championship in its grasp tightens up, succumbs to the pressure and gives it away in Game 6, so that when Game 7 comes around the pressure is practically strangling them and they lose a series that they were one strike away from winning.  This is a scenario that my beloved Red Sox had patented (see 1986 and 2003).  Josh Hamilton gave them a chance to relax and go home victorious but they blew it.  I see no chance in hell of them winning tonight.


Brent said...

The Andrus play at shortstop in the 8th is what started the Cardinals comeback. Why you don't make the easy force out at 2nd with a slow runner than act nonchalantly and try to get the speedster at 1st? Even though the cards didn't score that inning, the batting order progressed far enough for the meat of the order to get up in the 9th inning.

And somebody needs to tell Nelson Cruz that a fly ball is to be caught with ease like Freese's ball in the 9th, not acting like you are too cool to even try for it.

dasnake said...

i don't really like to crap on players, because most of the time they are playing full out, but that said, it appeared that cruz could have stepped it up a notch to get that ball. fear of the wall? not positioning himself right? not really paying the attention he should in a big game? i don't know but that was one big play. that wasn't the only mind lapse, both teams had them through the game, but this is the one play that will stand out, just like tony's lapse in game five.
another thing was the walk to albert, then you pitch to lance, both hitters are deadly and you put the tie on base, i don't like the walk play anyway but that one hurt, enjoy yourselves boys she's gonna start in 20 minutes.

i think texas may have a long road tonight but it's not impossible.

dasnake said...

not looking good, boy i hate intentional walks.