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Can the Rangers bounce back after last night’s game?

Oct 28, 2011, 9:26 AM EDT

World Series Rangers Cardinals Baseball

Exhausting. Thrilling. Harrowing. Spectacular. One of the reasons I’m having such a hard time writing about Game 6 today is because the adjectives we’ve developed over the thousands of years of human speech are rather insufficient. I’m still reeling myself.

But one question some people have asked me today is how on Earth, after coming within one strike of winning the World Series last night, only to fritter it away on multiple occasions, can the Rangers bounce back?  My response to that is: what, are you crazy?

Nothing in this World Series has gone as expected. Nothing can be predicted based on the previous game’s results. I would just as soon predict that the Rangers will activate Nolan Ryan and the Cardinals will active Bob Gibson and we’d have an exact reenactment of Game 7 from 1991 than I would predict that the Rangers would be unable to muster the emotional energy necessary to win tonight.

Remember 1986? After Buckner? The Red Sox had a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning in Game 7.  Yes, they lost, but the “oh, they’re devastated” narrative didn’t hold up.  Tired bullpens, the Mets execution and the Red Sox’ lack thereof is what decided that game, not momentum.  To suggest otherwise is to impose a storyline we want to impose, not to reflect what happened. Or what we can at least accurately ascertain happened.

And so is the case tonight.  Not having Derek Holland at the ready is going to be a way taller order for the Rangers to overcome than shell shock from Game 6.  The fact that they’re on the road and that the home team has won the last eight Game sevens will matter more than shell shock too (though that’s not a predictive thing either).  The Rangers’ defense — if as bad as it was in Game 6 — will play a huge role too.

But let’s save the drama-spinning for a while, OK?

  1. mplsjoe - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    The Reds won the 1975 World Series after Fisk hit his famous Game 6 homer. Of course the Rangers can win. Should be a great on etonight.

  2. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    They can absolutely win tonight. As a neutral, I’m more concerned about Carpenter pitching well (Game 2 of the NLDS is still fresh in my mind….for various reasons) than Harrison. Both bullpens have been sketchy all series. I honestly haven’t the slightest inkling about who will win. It is a coin flip.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:03 AM

      I am right there with you Monkey. We both know what happened the last time he pitched on short rest. Not real sure about the bullpens either. Sometimes solid…some times horrendous.
      I am already nervous.

      • beekmansworld - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

        Personally…. The most telling stat for the Rangers would be that they have not lost back to back games since what Aug or something crazy like that..

    • cur68 - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      I shall be taking this in with some yellow gatorade this evening. I got what I prayed to Jobu for; a game 7. Now, without a dog in this fight, I want to remain in a clear and lucid state to appreciate what will likely be a blow out loss by one side or the other (plus I have an epic headache and the though of more hooch makes me ill).
      If the Rangers win, I shall be happy. They got almost no love in the press all season, but quietly went about pounding the crap out of their opposition. I want to study Washington closely for his moves; I shall learn the moves to “The Wash” even if it kills my arthritic knees.

      If the Cards win I shall be happy. A TLR interview without any 2nd guessing or ‘splainin will be nice. I hope there are references to dog from TLR. I hear he’s a big fan.

      Last game of the season. This may be the leftover alcohol talking, but I’m a bit bummed by that.

      Last game of the season; I can’t wait for it to start….

      • badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:12 AM

        …but will not want it to end 😦

  3. Joe - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    God has a plan for this game. I don’t think He cares about momentum.

    • acheron2112 - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:43 AM

      (Craig: If you haven’t finished Battlestar Galactica yet, don’t read the rest of this comment.)

      You know he doesn’t like that name.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        I think you could have let the disclaimer out. It’s not that obvious.

  4. mcsnide - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    As Weaver said, momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. If the Cardinals win, it will be based on who plays better tonight, not what happened last night. I don’t have a strong rooting interest in this series, so here’s hoping for a 20 inning classic. I was actually a little bit sad when the season looked like it was down to one more pitch last night.

  5. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    Texas CANNOT possibly use Alexi Ogando again, can it? He has consistently crapped the bed during this World Series. There will be no such thing as a low-leverage situation tonight, and I don’t trust him any further than I can throw him if I’m Ron Washington.

    • paperlions - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:45 AM

      Please use Ogando again…and Mike Adams…and please keep playing Young at 1B (yeah, he gets a hit from time to time…but he’s a butcher in the field)

      • mcsnide - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

        Watching Young roll around on the ground trying to corral the ball last night made me laugh as I recalled his furor at being moved off 3B for Beltre

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        That “play” reminded me of a nearly blind person trying to find their glasses in the dark after dropping them on the floor.

  6. umrguy42 - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    As a Cards fan, I’m hoping the answer is “no”. :p

  7. Panda Claus - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Whether Napoli or Cruz can play is going to probably go a long way deciding tonight’s winner. Not feeling it for Harrison, but if Carpenter pitches a gem who would really be surprised.

    Tonight the Rangers are the underdogs.

  8. rambodiaz - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    I think the bigger question is “Can cur’s liver bounce back after last night’s game?” And also, can I get Mrs. Diaz to postpone our date for this evening without end up in the doghouse for a long time?

    • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:51 AM

      I think you just need to explain the awesomeness that is a World Series Game 7. And if that doesn’t work, screw the consequences… is Game 7.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM

        I’m with the Doctor here Diaz. I’m also very glad that the Halloween party I must attend isn’t until tomorrow night.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:53 AM

      Will a note from mama help?

    • cur68 - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:11 AM

      Tell Mrs. D that Fat Elvis needs her. Needs her like chicken needs gravy. A nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you, Mrs. Diaz…..woo, woo, woo…

      • cur68 - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        PS. My liver is a quitter. It is not a gamer. It has neither grit, nor natural ability. I’d send it down to the minors but I think it lied about its name and age. I wish I had a replacement warming in the pen right now.

  9. fartography - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    This is what the Cardinals do. Somehow they get there and then they win.

  10. Bill - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    There are people out there who can’t understand believing in God, yet will continue believing there’s a thing called “momentum” in baseball, even after conclusive proof of its non-existence was repeatedly thrown in their faces last night. That, I don’t get.

    • mattjg - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      Big Mo told David Freese that after the Cards scored two in the bottom of the tenth and held the Rangers in the top of the 11th, he’d hit a walkoff home run.

      Big Mo being the Cardinals clubhouse manager, not momentum. That would just be ridiculous.

  11. mattjg - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    A Philadelphia sportswriter on the radio last night said there is no way the Rangers can come back from such a devastating loss; it never happens. He cited a number of events such as Puckett’s homer in ’91, Buckner’s error in ’86 and Fisk’s home run in ’75. When the host pointed out the obvious, he claimed that the Reds were just such a dominant team that they could recover in ’75, but since the Rangers are only good, they have no chance.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      So he was essentially trying to tell a story that “suited him” and it blew up in his face. Nice.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM

      Another reason why I don’t listen to Philadelphia sports talk on the radio.

      • Joe - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:02 AM

        Another reason why I don’t listen to Philadelphia sports talk on the radio.

        Fixed that for you.

    • buddaley - Oct 28, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      So the devastating way Arizona lost games 4 and 5 in 2001 to fall behind 3 games to 2 vs. the Yankees, and then gave up 2 runs in the 8th inning of game 7 to fall behind 2-1 with Rivera on the mound for N.Y. doesn’t further call his theory into question? Or was Arizona’s offense so dominant also?

  12. sknut - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    What makes baseball great is teams have to have a short memory and the Rangers get the chance to right their wrongs tonight. I am sure they wouldn’t have it any other way. And it falls on Harrison to set the tone early, I have no doubt the Rangers offense will get its runs.

    • Panda Claus - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM

      Here’s why you’re right about the short memory comment. Remember going into Game6 how focused everyone was about the Cardinals’ bullpen communication issues? Last night’s results erased that Game5 problem from our own short memories.

  13. frankvzappa - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    Chris Carpenter + Momentum > Any shenanigans the Rangers could possibly hope to pull off = Betting the ranch on the Cardinals…

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:07 AM

      I sure hope your right Frank.

    • oz10tx - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      The rangers haven’t lost back to back in 45 games. Tonight will be 46. The Rangers have constantly proved that a bad loss means nothing. This game is just as much a coin flip as any others.

    • beekmansworld - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      Look at the last two starts with Carpenter. He has been a good pitcher this WS, but he has not shut the Rangers down. They still have produced runs off him.

      Game one was a very close game, Game 5 was a loss for the Cards. ( if i remember correctly he was pulled at a 2-2 tie but my memory is fuzzy)

      Last time he pitched on Short Rest he lost…

      Sorry I just do not see Carpenter being the huge difference changer for the Cards.

      • ame123 - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:28 AM

        Actually the Cards won that one

      • beekmansworld - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:35 AM

        my bad..

        Early AM, lack of coffee ( was out of creamer ) and well my old age memory with the Carpenter loss.

        BUT the rest of what I said ( in my opinion ) still rings true

      • readhed - Oct 28, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        What you forget about Carp is that he comes through when he absolutely has to – right Phillies? I just hope he has enough left in the tank. GO CARDS!!!

  14. jhastrello - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    I heard an interesting interview on the way into work this morning, from a reporter that was in the Rangers clubhouse after the game. As one would expect, it was quiet and subdued. Then ‘Wash’ came in and talked to his club offering up his insights and what the next steps would be. The reporter said that within a short period of time the ‘down feeling’ was replaced by the overall mood of what they needed to do to win tonight. The Rangers have a tremendous record over the last 2 months of not having lost 2 games in a row during this timeframe. I think that the Rangers will be ready.

    However, having said that – starting pitching will be (as it usually is) very key to both teams and eventual success for one of them.

    The last thing, is something that I haven’t seen written or being talked about at all. The emotional release that the Cardinals will experience (or possibly have experienced) regarding the end of the game last night. While it was certainly a game to be enjoyed – their celebration looked very much like many of the celebrations we have seen when a team clinches a ‘Series’. They still have one more to play. My hat’s off to the Cards for what they were able to do last night, but by no means have they had the ability to win two games in a row against Texas.

    Should be a fun night, and hopefully a fitting end to the series later tonight.

    • paperlions - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:24 AM

      The Cardinals played the first 1/2 of last nights game like they were scared to lose instead of excited at the chance to win, then TLR must have pushed a button or something because they started to play looser and more aggressively. The key for them is to play loose and aggressive and to focus on trying to win rather than worrying about losing….TX always seems to play loose and aggressive.

  15. polegojim - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Holy Pitching collapses Batman – one strike to win the World Series… twice… by different pitchers… and they can’t get it done???

    A ground ball… a pop up… would also be fine… and they BOTH throw very hittable ‘meat balls’ right over the plate!

    Mental mistakes will kill you off the mound. Let’s hope the Rangers aren’t dead after watching 4 pitchers in a row fail miserably.

    • mattjg - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:32 AM

      Also not having a right fielder misplay a ball that 90% of right fielders would have caught would be fine, as would not playing your outfielders at the warning track with the tying run on second.

    • Joe - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM

      That sounds a lot like Game 6 of 1986. Which sucked.

  16. aceshigh11 - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    Clearly, praying to the spirit of Ronnie James Dio is the ONLY way to ensure victory tonight.


  17. phukyouk - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Yanks did something very similar in back to back games in 2001…. so yea. they can come back from it

  18. jason9696 - Oct 28, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    I’m cheering for the Cards. But the World Series should be over now. Nelson Cruz should have caught the ball that went over his head in the bottom of the 9th. I don’t know if he thought he was going to run into the wall or what.

  19. wonkypenguin - Oct 28, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    I just want to say that I have thoroughly and entirely enjoyed the HBT chats through the playoffs. Last night, as I quoted things from my new friends like DrMonkeyArmy, cur, and sknut to my wife and she reminded me that these are not, in fact, actual friends but that they are, in fact, quite funny… Man, it has made a World Series that has been beautifully ugly between two teams I have zero interest in so much fun. So thank you, hard working chat ninjas. :-)

  20. Amadeus - Oct 28, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Lost in the postmortems is the fact that Wash blew it when he failed to pinch hit for Lewis with the bases loaded. He left him in, struck out on 3 pitches, then let him pitch another inning. Stupid move that cost Texas the game. They could have blown it open with a base hit, changed whole complexion, mojo of game.

  21. bigmeechy74 - Oct 28, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    The diamondbacks came back and won games 6 and 7 in 2001 after those heartbreaking losses to the yankees

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