The Rangers’ rotation has managed just one quality start in 10 postseason outings, but it doesn’t really matter. Texas is advancing to the World Series for the second consecutive year on the back of a dynamic and powerful batting order — one that strung together 17 hits and 15 runs in Saturday’s ALCS-clinching Game 6 victory over Detroit.
Ian Kinsler, the leadoff man, went 2-for-5 with three RBI. Elvis Andrus, the fleet-footed shortstop, was 2-for-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored.
Then there’s the heart of the Rangers’ lineup.
Josh Hamilton has eight RBI in these playoffs, Michael Young tallied five RBI on Saturday night alone, and Adrian Beltre has remained productive while also contributing his usual brand of elite defense at third base.
But the vaunted Texas lineup doesn’t fall off from there. Mike Napoli batted .320 with a 1.046 OPS during the regular season and carries massive power potential out of the six-hole. Nelson Cruz, the MVP of the ALCS, had six homers in the Rangers’ six-game series win. David Murphy, 2-for-2 on Saturday, is also a producer.
The Rangers won’t have many favorable pitching matchups in the Fall Classic, no matter if they face Milwaukee or St. Louis, but they boast the kind of offensive firepower that could render that shortcoming moot.
Congratulations to manager Ron Washington, team president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels, and the Rangers’ entire 40-man roster. There’s little doubt that Texas has become a premier MLB franchise. And they should be heavy favorites, despite no home-field advantage, in the 2011 postseason’s final round.
If you’ve happened to catch any of the coverage of the 2016 postseason on Fox and FS1, you’ve heard former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez as part of an analyst panel with host Kevin Burkhardt and former major leaguers Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Rodriguez has drawn rave reviews not just for passing a rather low bar we set for former athletes-turned-commentators, but because he’s adding real insight drawn both from his playing days and from doing research.
Indeed, Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”
Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”
Rodriguez, who hasn’t officially retired despite not having played since the Yankees released him in mid-August, wouldn’t commit to more TV work beyond this year’s postseason.
The weather in Cleveland is not that great at the moment. It’s cold, windy, there’s drizzle and the chance for heavier rain increases as the night wears on. At the moment Game 2 of the World Series is still scheduled to kick off at 7:08PM Eastern Time, however. So bundle up.
And maybe hunker down. Because this game is going to go nine innings no matter what. Maybe not tonight, but eventually.
That’s because, you may recall, ever since that rainy, snowy mix forced the suspension in the sixth inning of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series between the Phillies and the Rays, Major League Baseball has held that all playoff games will be played in their entirety. There will be no six-inning, rain-shortened affairs.
The last word from MLB was that they would reassess the weather just before starting pitchers began to warm up this evening. If things still look about the same then, the game will proceed as scheduled. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, they’ll suspend the game and pick it up where it leaves off tomorrow.