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Wasted Opportunities Cost Rangers in Game 1 of World Series

The Texas Rangers missed scoring chances early, and the St. Louis Cardinals got a pretty big break in the 9th.  That pretty much sums up Game 1 of the World Series.

C.J. Wilson said in pre-game comments that starting pitching was going to be the difference in this series.  He really needed to step up and start that trend for his team tonight.  His postseason outings have been horrendous and not at all contract-inspiring (he becomes a free agent in the off-season).  Tonight was probably the best of the bunch, but I'm not sure that's saying much.  He went 5.2 innings, giving up three runs on four hits and six walks (including two to NICK PUNTO). 

The Rangers bats wasted early opportunities to get to Chris Carpenter, who wasn't sharp at the beginning but settled down later.  Ian Kinsler lead-off the game with a single, but then was caught stealing on a poorly-timed hit-and-run.  In the 2nd, Adrian Beltre hit a one-out double and then Nelson Cruz walked, only to have Mike Napoli hit into an inning-ending double play.  Napoli did redeem himself, three innings later with a two-run home run to tie the game.  But the Cardinals pushed ahead again.

The real head-scratcher inning -- for me -- was the 7th.  Cruz and Napoli were on with one out.  Ron Washington pinch hit Craig Gentry for David Murphy, and Gentry quickly struck out.  Washington then sent Esteban German up to hit for Alexi Ogando.  That's right, Esteban German.  A guy who hasn't been in a game in almost a month.  He also struck out.  I know hindsight is always 20/20, but I'm pretty sure Murphy and Ogando could have done at least that much.  And at least then we could have sent Ogando out for a few more batters.

The 9th inning is the one fans will be groaning about though.  With one out, Beltre stepped up.  He appeared to foul the ball off his toe, but the umpires called it a fair ball and the game log says he "grounded out to third."  That's B.S.  Absolute B.S.  The ball went straight down and then shot out toward third.  It doesn't do that without hitting something.  But I guess the umpires didn't study physics.  Cruz was the last hope, and although he had a pretty good at bat, he flew out to end the game.

I'm very worried about Josh Hamilton, who looks like he's cringing with every swing of the bat.  Even a throw in from the outfield looked painful.  This is not Joshua Holt Hamilton.  This is a B-grade version of him.  I'm not an advocate of benching him, but I don't know how much he's helping the team right now either. 

So frustrating.  But thank goodness the World Series is more than one game.  My boys have six more chances to win four.  I still like their odds.

 

KISS:  The Rangers bullpen.  Once again, they were fantastic, keeping the game within reach.  Alexi Ogando, Mike Gonzalez and Scott Feldman pitched 3.1 scoreless innings.  It cannot go unappreciated.

MISS:  Josh Hamilton and Michael Young were a combined 0 for 8.  Enough said.

 

FINAL SCORE

Rangers :: 2 R, 6 H, 4 TLOB

Cardinals :: 3 R, 6 H, 8 TLOB

 

Game 2 match-up

@ St. Louis, 7:05 p.m.

Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA)

 

Cardinals lead series 1-0.

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