Chuck Greenberg's message to Rangers fans: "Believe"

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The owner of my team makes $87.5 million a year and I’m guessing he’s too busy eating panda steaks and lounging on unicorn skin couches to spend much time on the blogs.  Not so the Rangers new owner. Chuck Greenberg took to Lone Star Ball today to send a message to Rangers fans in advance of tomorrow’s Game 5:

BELIEVE….this isn’t supposed to be easy. Nothing this year has
been. Whether on the field or off, every time things looked about set,
unexpected problems arose. But in the end, the conclusion we sought was
EARNED, each and every time. This series is simply a microcosm of all
that has preceded it. This season has been filled with magic, and more
lies ahead. As for history? Forget it. History doesn’t throw a pitch or
swing a bat. History belongs to those who make it, and it takes place in
the present tense. Our history will be made on Tuesday. Be proud….and
BELIEVE.

Chuck

I think that “microcosm” stuff is a bit is strange. To the extent this series is a microcosm of anything — start strong, encounter trouble, get pushed to the brink, hopefully end strong — it is a microcosm of Greenberg’s struggle to buy the Rangers over the past year. I’m guessing most fans don’t give a toss about any of that. They just want Cliff Lee to shut down the Rays tomorrow.

But still, cool enough.  More than most owners would do.  I think I’m pulling for the Rangers in this one anyway.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.