Texas Rangers using dramatics for another ALCS win
The Texas Rangers continue to surprise and continue to do the improbable. Just when you think the momentum had shifted completely away from them and squarely onto the Detroit Tigers, they do something that changes the “the big MO” for good.
After falling behind early, 2-0, the Rangers battled back and would eventually take a 3-2 lead heading into the seventh inning.
Alexi Ogando, who had relieved Matt Harrison after just five innings, did not have his best stuff on Wednesday night. His pitch count was high, his fastballs were missing their spots, but he was able to get through his first inning of work without an issue.
After two outs, Ogando would face off against Brandon Inge who was hitting below .200 coming in to this game. After working an 0-2 count on two straight fastballs, Ogando let his fastball tail over the plate on the first pitch and Inge sent it deep into the Detroit night to tie the game at 3-3.
While it was one mistake that could have cost the Rangers the game, and the series most likely, the Rangers weren’t done with their post season magic.
Not by a long shot.
In Nelson Cruz we trust
What more can you say about Nelson Cruz? What hasn’t this guy done during the ALCS?
He’s hit four home runs during this series against the Tigers including a walk-off grand slam to win game two and the home run that put game four on ice. But it wasn’t only his bat that he has shown off, his throw to the plate that cut down Miguel Cabrera trying to tag up from third may have very well saved the season for the Texas Rangers.
This isn’t the first time his post-season dramatics have saved the day. He was one of the biggest reasons the Rangers got past the defending World Series champion New York Yankees just one year ago.
After getting just one hit in 15 at bats against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, Cruz has five hits in 14 at bats in the ALCS. The one thing that will amaze you about that stat, four of those five hits have left the ballpark.
What can this guy possibly do for an encore?
Mike Napoli takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’
It’s not the first time Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli has taken a shot at home plate, but when you see big Miguel Cabrera chugging down the line, the first thought in your mind is “am I going to survive this?”
Thanks to the inability to put the shoulder down, Cabrera barely hit Napoli at the plate, getting tagged out in the process.
But that wasn’t the end of Napoli’s heroics.
With Josh Hamilton on second and the game tied, Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided he did not want to pitch to Adrian Beltre, electing instead to face Napoli. A decision that would prove to be the wrong one.
Napoli hit a soft liner to center scoring Hamilton to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.
No matter when the Rangers need him the most, Napoli has come up huge in big situations. He did it against Tampa in the ALDS, and he’s done it again here in the ALCS. He has been a huge pickup since the Los Angeles Angels traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays who then turned and sent him to the Rangers.
If Texas ends up winning the World Series, they will look at Napoli’s acquisition as one that made the biggest difference between the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Michael Young finally shows up … then disappears again
Before game four got underway, I made a comment on Twitter about Michael Young being back in the No. 4 spot in the lineup. I didn’t agree with it and neither did most Rangers fans, especially seeing as he hadn’t done much in that spot through the entire ALCS. Not to mention most of the playoffs.
But, with Elvis Andrus on second, Young finally came through with an RBI single. Something fans have been waiting to see from him since the regular season ended.
Then Young did what we’ve seen him do throughout the playoffs — disappear.
After a lead double by Josh Hamilton in the 11th, Young had a chance to be a hero. He had a chance to show fans that he was out of this playoff slump for good.
Instead, Young struck out leaving Hamilton on second and forcing the guys behind him to do the job. Thankfully for him, they did exactly that.
He may have been the regular-season MVP, but you may as well make him the postseason MDP (Most Disappointing Player).
C.J. Wilson can send the Texas Rangers to the World Series
He had a solid outing in game one and, unfortunately, was derailed by a rain delay that cooled off his arm and allowed the Tigers to put together a small comeback.
On Thursday afternoon, Wilson will get a chance to be the guy that puts the Detroit Tigers down for good. The Rangers have the momentum and they will need their ace to do what they are asking him to do: end the series.
Wilson doesn’t have the most experience at Comerica Park, only throwing 9.1 innings and giving up 10 runs, seven of which were earned. It’s not enough to say how he will do on Thursday afternoon against the Tigers’ lineup.
What you can say is, if the Rangers wrap up the series today, there will be a serious celebration in the visiting clubhouse.