What to watch: Albert Pujols vs. Mike Adams
October, 27, 2011
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com
ST. LOUIS -- Texas Rangers set-up man Mike Adams has thrown just 17 pitches over one inning in the World Series and he hasn't pitched since Game 2 at Busch Stadium a week ago.
With Game 6 against the St. Louis Cardinals now set for tonight after Wednesday's postponement due to rain, if Adams is needed he will have had plenty of down time to deal with. Good or bad?
"A little bit of both," Adams said. "It's good because I'm getting a rest and a rest that I need. I've thrown a lot more innings this season and this postseason than I have ever before. Trust me, even though I want to be in the ballgames everyday, this rest is much-needed and it's only going to help me coming down to hopefully the final game."
Adams has thrown 81 innings all told this season, well beyond his career-high of 66 2/3 from a year ago.
He walked one in a scoreless inning of work in his lone World Series appearance, and he said that pitching in St. Louis actually helped him focus on the task at hand rather than getting caught up in the spectacle of pitching in the World Series. As a career National Leaguer, Adams had pitched at Busch Stadium many times.
And, he had also faced Albert Pujols many times. In fact, entering the World Series, Adams was 8-for-8 facing perhaps baseballs' toughest out.
"I have a pretty good idea of how to approach him for myself, but at the same time those numbers don't show exactly what happened," Adams said. "There have been some balls that I kind of lucky with that he's hit a long, long ways."
You don't have to go back any further than Game 2 in the eighth inning. The Cardinals were clinging to a 1-0 lead when Pujols drifted an Adams fastball about 400 feet to right center field. Nelson Cruz made the catch at the wall to preserve the lead. Texas would then score twice in the top of the ninth for the 2-1 win that evened the series.
"Yeah, I've had success overall when you look at the numbers," Adams said. "But there's about five outs in there that are pretty close to being a huge difference-maker."
So, if it's late in the Game 6 and Adams faces Pujols, pay attention.