Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Lee, Rangers fall 11-7
By Richard Durrett
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rangers fell 11-7 to the Giants in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday. Some thoughts on the game:
* Cliff Lee was due for a struggling postseason start, and unfortunately for the Rangers, it came in Game 1 of the World Series. Lee's fastball didn't stay down, and the Giants took advantage. Lee seemed out of sorts. He hit a batter on an 0-2 count, something he hadn't done since Aug. 19, 2009. He gave up five doubles, something he hadn't done since becoming a Ranger. And he left the game with two runners on and the score 5-2. Darren O'Day came in and gave up a three-run homer to Juan Uribe to give the Giants a comfortable 8-2 lead.
* Tim Lincecum wasn't great, but after surviving some early runs (and the Rangers didn't put together bigger innings), he settled down and got the job done. The Giants were up 8-2 before he began to show signs of tiring and gave up two more runs. Still, it's strange that in a game featuring Lee and Lincecum that the starters would give up a combined 11 runs.
* The Vladimir Guerrero experiment in right field failed. It's a big right field at AT&T Park, and Guerrero didn't approach balls with confidence. He bobbled a few down the line, allowing runners to advance. He had two errors in the eighth inning alone. I would think the Rangers will make a lineup change in right field for Game 2.
|Cliff Lee didn't make it through the fifth inning in Game 1, as the Giants handed him his first career postseason loss.|
* The Rangers had four errors total, very unlike them. They looked nervous and unsure of themselves, which is not how they've played all postseason.
* Once again, the first inning was a productive one for the Rangers. Texas now has scored first in nine of the 12 postseason games it has played this year. The Rangers have scored in the first inning in six of those 12 games. Texas got a run when Guerrero's line drive hit Lincecum just below the left knee and bounced toward second, allowing Elvis Andrus to score. But the Rangers could have had more.
* Andrus setting the table has been critical for this team. He's managed to get on base in the first inning seven of the past nine games, and when he does, he has a tendency to make things happen. He scored on a ground ball to give Texas the lead.
* Michael Young has had some good at-bats in the postseason, and he had another in the first inning. Lincecum was ahead in the count 1-2 with a runner at first, and Young fouled some pitches off, watched others fall out of the strike zone and took a walk. That put runners at first and second with no outs as the Rangers eventually scored.
* Lee got his first hit of 2010 in the second inning, and it helped score a run. He was squaring to bunt but, on a 1-1 count, brought the bat back and hit a ball to left-center that rolled toward the gap for a double. It was his first extra-base hit since 2009. That put runners at second and third, and Bengie Molina scored on Andrus' sacrifice fly. Lee talked the other day about enjoying hitting, and he sure had to enjoy that one. It was the first extra-base hit by an American League pitcher since Cleveland's Chad Ogea doubled in the 1997 World Series Game 6 at Florida. It was just the fourth extra-base hit by an AL pitcher in a span of 36 years (1975-2010).
* The Giants hurt themselves with some mistakes early. Lincecum got to Nelson Cruz
's ground ball up the middle and had Young in a rundown in the first, but he didn't throw the ball to third base. So everyone was safe and the bases were loaded with one out for Ian Kinsler
. Fortunately for Lincecum, he got a double play to keep the score 1-0, but it was a strange play. In the bottom of the first, Freddy Sanchez
hit a one-out double. But he was too far off the bag when Kinsler caught Buster Posey
's bloop to right and was easily doubled off at second to end the inning. In the third, Lincecum tried to bunt Edgar Renteria
to second and instead popped it straight up to Molina.
* Mistakes hurt the Rangers in the third. Young tried to field a ball to his left but bobbled it, putting the leadoff batter (Renteria) on. Lincecum couldn't bunt him over, but Lee then hit Andres Torres on an 0-2 pitch, a big no-no. A double and a single later, both of those runners scored to tie the game.
* The Giants sure did show off their defensive skills as the game progressed. Renteria gloved all three outs in the fourth, including a nice play behind second base complete with a spin around and throw to first to get Kinsler. In the fifth, third baseman Uribe made a nice play to his left to get Young.
* Kinsler led off the eighth inning in an 8-4 game with an infield single. Kinsler thought the wide throw had gone into the dugout and turned toward second. First baseman Aubrey Huff made a nice diving stop to get to it and simply tagged Kinsler. That ended any chance at a good start to the inning and an effort to claw back into it.
* Alexi Ogando pitched well in his World Series debut. He gave up one hit in two innings and had four strikeouts. The outing might give Washington confidence to use him more.
* Mark Lowe, making his postseason debut, had trouble. He gave up three runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. He was added to the playoff roster Wednesday morning, but we'll see how often Washington uses him now.
* Bengie Molina, in his return to San Francisco, had a double and a single, scoring two of the Rangers' runs. He also threw out Huff trying to steal second in the seventh. Molina got some nice cheers during the player introductions as the crowd saluted him for what he did while in San Francisco. He saluted them as he warmed up Lee in the bullpen.
* I was surprised that San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy decided to go with closer Brian Wilson with a seven-run lead in the ninth. The bases were loaded for Guerrero and Cruz, certainly a dangerous proposition. Wilson got Guerrero to fly out to right for the second out. But with two outs, Cruz hit a double to right to score two more runs and make the score 11-7. It might not seem like a big deal, but getting some runs off Wilson could help the Rangers get some confidence against him later in the series.
* It's not often that you hear Tony Bennett sing "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" in the middle of a baseball game. But there he was, singing after the first inning on the field. He also sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.