Texas Rangers: Chris Carpenter

Nelson Cruz's home runs forgotten in loss

October, 29, 2011
10/29/11
12:42
AM CT


ST. LOUIS -- So much of this postseason for Texas Rangers right-fielder Nelson Cruz was either Boomstick or bust.

After Friday's 6-2 loss in Game 7 of the World Series, Cruz stood at his locker answering questions, trying hard not to reveal his disappointment, but his welling eyes made it difficult to hide.

"It's hard. We still have to be positive about this," Cruz said. "We got here in back-to-back years and it's hard to be here. In the bottom of my heart I know we are champions, the way we play, the way we take of each other, we never give up. To be able to be so close, one strike away to be champions, now we are on the other side, it is tough."

Cruz produced a playoff hitting barrage for the ages, crushing a record-tying eight home runs for a single postseason. It looked as though he would break that tie with Barry Bonds (2002) and Carlos Beltran (2004) in the sixth inning Friday night. With the Rangers trailing 5-2 and desperate for offense against rolling Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, Cruz launched a towering shot to deep left.

It was so high it looked like it had no choice but to go out. Left-fielder Allen Craig drifted back until he ran out of warning track and made a leaping catch with his glove over the wall to bring it back in and rob the Rangers of any momentum.

The Game 7 loss only reinforced how close the Rangers were the previous night to winning it all. And, Cruz said he will have a tough time erasing the memory of the two-out, ninth-inning rocket David Freese sent his way, but out of his reach.

Cruz was scrutinized after the 11-inning Game 6 loss for his awkward approach to the tailing liner that crashed off the wall and scored two runs to send the game into extra innings.

"The play in right, I don't care who you are, was a tough play," Josh Hamilton said. "It's a little different if the ball was hit high and coming down, but it was a line drive off the wall. I'm surprised that Nellie even got back there close enough to attempt to catch it."

Cruz said in the end, the homers he hit will fade, but the play he didn't make will be difficult to erase.

"Definitely, maybe the one play is going to be there, it's going to be tough," Cruz said. "It's not like last year when we got blown out by San Francisco. We came farther this year and closer to becoming a champion. I cannot think about it."

Boomstick or bust. Ten of Cruz's 14 postseason hits went for extra-base hits. Six of his eight homers came in a monstrous American League Championship Series that earned him MVP honors. For the entire postseason, though, he hit just .226 with 14 strikeouts. In the World Series he was 5-for-25 (.200) with two homers, one in Game 6 after Adrian Beltre belted one for a 6-4 lead, and three RBIs.

"No, it's nothing," Cruz said of his home runs. "You want to be a champion and whatever I did was not enough."

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 6, Rangers 2

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
10:22
PM CT


ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 7 of the World Series, coming back from 3-2 down in the series -- and twice being a strike away from losing in Game 6 to the Texas Rangers -- to win their 11th title. Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse):

What it means: The Rangers lose the World Series for the second consecutive season, falling in seven games in a highly entertaining Fall Classic. They came to St. Louis leading 3-2, but weren't able to win Games 6 or 7. It's the first time they've lost back-to-back games since late August.

No hits, but some hit by pitches: The Cardinals turned a one-run lead into a three-run game without getting a hit in the fifth inning. Scott Feldman, in to start the inning in relief of starter Matt Harrison, issued a one-out walk to Allen Craig. He got ahead 0-2 on Albert Pujols but then hit him on the sleeve. After Lance Berkman grounded out, the Rangers intentionally walked David Freese to load the bases. Feldman then fell behind Yadier Molina 3-0 before getting the count back to 3-2 and then walking him to score a run.

C.J. Wilson came in to relieve Feldman and hit Rafael Furcal with the first pitch he threw to give the Cardinals a 5-2 lead. Wilson then had a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

Walks: The Rangers issued 41 walks in the seven games, the most by a pitching staff in a single World Series (passed 1997 Florida Marlins).

Hamilton hit-and-run: Despite Ian Kinsler getting picked off of first base after he slipped trying to get back to the bag, the Rangers remained aggressive on the bases in the first. They called a hit-and-run with Elvis Andrus at first and Josh Hamilton at the plate. Hamilton belted a double to right field and Andrus was able to score with the head start.

Young delivers: Michael Young doubled home Hamilton in the first, going the other way. ESPN Stats & Information: After not having an RBI in his first seven games, Young had 12 RBIs in his last 10 postseason games.

Early runs: The two runs the Rangers scored in the top of the first were the first time a run had been scored in the first inning of Game 7 since 1972, when Oakland scored a run at Cincinnati in the top of the first. The last time a team scored multiple runs in the first of Game 7 was 1960, when the Pittsburgh Pirates took a 2-0 lead on the New York Yankees.

Clutch Freese: Once again, David Freese came through with a clutch hit. He did it in the first off starter Matt Harrison. Freese hit a double to left-center scoring two runs to tie the score. That gave Freese 21 RBIs this postseason, the most for any player in a single postseason. ESPN Stats & Information: Freese joined Allen Craig as the only players to have three consecutive plate appearances to either tie or take the lead in a World Series.

Harrison goes four: Harrison lasted just four innings in Game 7, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout. Harrison wasn't able to hold a 2-0 lead as he took the mound, instead allowing two runs right away. That seemed to zap some of the Rangers' momentum. He didn't quite have the command he needed and the Rangers weren't going to push things past four innings.

Double-play machine: Harrison was second in the majors to teammate C.J. Wilson in double plays induced in the 2011 regular season with 30. And he got one in the second after Rafael Furcal led off with a single. Harrison got Skip Schumaker to hit into a 6-4-3 double play as Andrus charged the ball and made a nice play to start it.

Craig homers again: For the second straight game, Allen Craig homered. This time he went to right field and into the Cardinals' bullpen to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead in the third.

Insurance run: The Cardinals added another run in the seventh off reliever Mike Adams. Lance Berkman beat out an infield single, David Freese walked and Yadier Molina singled to drive in Berkman. That put the Cardinals up 6-2.

Rangers jump on Carpenter for 2-0 lead

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
7:16
PM CT
ST. LOUIS -- Josh Hamilton and Michael Young struck for first-inning RBIs to push the Texas Rangers to a 2-0 lead on St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter, who is working on three days rest.

The first four Rangers reached base, but leadoff man Ian Kinsler was picked off first when he started to steal, stopped and then slipped as he tried to get back to first base.

Elvis Andrus followed with a walk and scored from first on Hamilton's double to right. Hamilton then scored on Young's double down the right-field line.

Matt Harrison is on the mound for the Rangers.

Matchup: Matt Harrison vs. Chris Carpenter

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
1:00
PM CT


ST. LOUS -- This is it, Game 7 for all the marbles. For the St. Louis Cardinals, there's no doubt RHP Chris Carpenter would get the big-game start once the Game 6 rainout on Wednesday allowed the ace a third day of rest. For the Texas Rangers, manager Ron Washington could have gone back to LHP Derek Holland after his sensational Game 5 start, but it will be LHP Matt Harrison taking the ball in the start of his brief big-league career. Game 7 will be broadcast on Fox and 103.3 FM ESPN. Here's a closer look at the matchup:

Harrison (1-1, 5.03 ERA):He hasn't logged a ton of postseason innings per start, averaging fewer than five innings per start, but Harrison hasn't been all that bad either. He did give up five runs on six hits in the weird Game 3, but he was also a victim of bad call at first, a two-run throwing error by Mike Napoli in his only start at first base and other sloppy fielding. He was gone in 3 2/3 innings. He's hurt himself with seven walks in 14 1/3 innings, but has also done a good job escaping jams by inducing ground-ball double plays, his bread-and-butter all season.

Carpenter (3-0, 3.30 ERA): The last time Tony La Russa turned to Carpenter on three days rest, it didn't work out so well. Carpenter lasted just three innings in Game 2 of the NLCS, giving up four earned runs on five hits and three walks. ... Carpenter's two starts in the series have been near-exemplary. He's a big reason why the Cards pulled out Game 1, 3-2, allowing only a Mike Napoli two-run homer. He left Game 5 tied at 2-2 when La Russa opted to go to Octavio Dotel to start the eighth, the inning the Rangers scored two runs, this time on a Napoli double. In his two World Series starts, Carpenter has pitched 13 innings and allowed four runs on 11 hits. He's struck out four and walked two.

Hitters: Allen Craig tagged Harrison with a first-inning solo home run and David Freese doubled in Game 3. Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman and Ryan Theriot all singled in Harrison's 3 2/3 innings of work. ... Napoli got the best shot off Carpenter in Game 1 with a two-run homer to right to tie the game. Adrian Beltre smashed a solo home run down on one knee that tied Game 5. Little-used Mitch Moreland blasted Carpenter in the third with a monster shot into the upper deck of the Home Run Porch at Rangers Stadium.

On one knee, Adrian Beltre swings big

October, 25, 2011
10/25/11
12:30
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre flashed his brilliant leather once again on the first play of the game to rob Rafael Furcal of a lead-off double for the second consecutive game.

But it was in the sixth inning that Beltre left jaws agape, dropping to one knee and crushing an off-speed offering from St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter to tie Game 5. It set the stage for Mike Napoli's heroics in the eighth as the Rangers closed out their 2011 home season with a dramatic 4-2 win for a 3-2 lead in the World Series.

For Beltre, it was a long overdue blast. He connected three times in the Game 4 clincher over the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS and he hadn't hit one since.

Carpenter made one mistake in the third inning to Mitch Moreland and then Beltre followed the breaking pitch, waited, waited, followed it all the way to knee level before dropping to a knee and taking a windmill swing to launch it out of the park.

"He’s not a guy that leaves a lot of pitches over the plate," Beltre said of Carpenter. "He threw me a couple breaking balls on the last at bat. When I saw it was a breaking ball, I was able to stay back and try to put a good swing on it."

Beltre is hitting .286 in the postseason, but he also has had a difficult time making contact with a team-high 16 strikeouts. This from a guy who hit 12 homers in a 15-game stretch in September. Those strikeouts are in the past and all Beltre is focused on now is doing the job to help himself and the Rangers win a first World Series title.

He's been flashing the glove throughout, and his now bat, flaming hot to end the regular season, is heating up, too.

"I’ve been waiting 14 years for this," Beltre said. "It hasn’t been easy. I’ve been on teams that haven’t been too good and I’ve been on teams that have been in the postseason but got out of it quick. Being in this situation now, so close, you just want to get it over with and get one more win."

Mitch Moreland's only hit was a long one

October, 25, 2011
10/25/11
8:00
AM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- On paper, it looked like a major mismatch in St. Louis’ favor.

Mitch Moreland, the man with an itty-bitty .087 batting average this postseason, was up against big, bad Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter. But after Carpenter missed with a couple of pitches, Moreland firmly believed he had the advantage.

“I got in a hitter’s count early,” Moreland said, “and got a good pitch.”

He got a great swing on the sinker that stayed up in the strike zone. Moreland, who had been working on being short and quick with his swing, hit the ball a far way.

The ball landed several rows deep in the upper deck of the home run porch. Moreland mashed it an estimated 424 feet, putting the Rangers on the scoreboard and getting the sellout crowd into the game.

“You can look at batting average and see that a guy is struggling over 15 or 20 at-bats, but sometimes it just takes one swing,” David Murphy said. “Even if his numbers don’t show it as a whole at the end of the postseason, those hits are definitely big.

“Obviously, the hit that he had tonight, that’s a huge part of the game right there. That got us on the board. That got us energized. It was just a great swing.”

Funny thing is, the rationale for leaving Moreland as the ninth hitter in the lineup for the second straight night is that he’s the Rangers’ best defensive first baseman. His night in the field was somewhat of an adventure.

Moreland misplayed a grounder in the second inning to allow Lance Berkman to score from third. The ball was on the lip of the grass and Moreland made the split-second decision to just get in front of it and get the out at first instead of charging it and trying to keep the run off the board.

Moreland also missed a scoop on an Elvis Andrus throw from the hole in the eighth inning, allowing Yadier Molina to reach base. But that didn’t lead to any damage, and Moreland more than made up for it with a difficult stretch to pick a throw from Andrus for the final out of the eighth inning.

But Moreland’s Game 5 performance will be remembered for his tape-measure home run. His only hit of this World Series so far was a big, long, loud one.

Adrian Beltre ties it up with one-knee HR

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
9:19
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The score of Game 5 after six innings is the same as the series.

All tied up, 2-2.

Adrian Beltre tied the score by driving a ball over the left-field fence despite dropping to one knee on the swing. The 388-foot homer off Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter was Beltre's first homer since he went deep three times in the ALDS clincher.

The homer got C.J. Wilson off the hook for the decision, preventing the Rangers' No. 1 starter from becoming the first pitcher with four losses in one postseason.

The Rangers came within a few feet of doing much more damage in the frame. The inning ended with Mike Napoli's 400-foot fly ball being caught on the warning track in center field, stranding two runners.

Mitch Moreland moonshot cuts lead in half

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
8:09
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas – Maybe Mitch Moreland was due.

Moreland, the Texas Rangers’ best bat during last season’s World Series, was hitting .087 this postseason before he turned on a 2-0 sinker from Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter. An estimated 424 feet later, St. Louis’ lead was cut in half.

Moreland’s homer landed several rows deep in the second deck of the home run porch in right field. It was his second homer and only third hit in 24 at-bats this postseason.

Cardinals 2, Rangers 1 after three innings.

Lineup: Rangers don't change a thing

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
3:48
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Up against Game 1 winner and St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington won't change what worked in Game 4 for tonight's pivotal Game 5 of the World Series, the final of three in a row at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The winner will take a 3-2 back to St. Louis for Game 6 on Wednesday night.

Here's the Rangers' lineup:

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Michael Young
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
LF David Murphy
C Mike Napoli
1B Mitch Moreland
P C.J. Wilson (0-3, 7.17 ERA in postseason)

The Cardinals have not yet submitted a lineup.

Matchup: Chris Carpenter vs. C.J. Wilson

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
1:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- This could well be the final game for LHP C.J. Wilson with the Texas Rangers. He takes the mound for Game 5 of the World Series looking for his first 2011 postseason victory. He'll be opposed by St. Louis Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter, who pitched well in Game 1 and took the victory. Tonight's game starts at 7:05 p.m. and is broadcast on Fox and 103.3 FM ESPN.

Here's a closer look at the matchup:

Carpenter (3-0, 3.52 ERA in playoffs): The Cardinals have won Carpenter's last four starts and that means he keeps his teams close. That was the case in Game 1 when the Cards pulled out a 3-2 victory. Carpenter went six innings before being lifted for pinch-hitter Allen Craig, who drove in the winning run. Carpenter allowed two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out four. ... Carpenter has actually fared better on the road during the postseason with an ERA of 3.00, more than a point lower than his home ERA. Over two road starts, he's allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks and five strikeouts.

Wilson (0-3, 7.17 ERA in playoffs): A longer stint seemed to be in the cards for Wilson in Game 1 as Wilson worked his way out of six walks and a hit batter. But, he got in a deep mess he couldn't escape in the sixth inning and manager Ron Washington pulled him with two outs in favor of Alexi Ogando, who allowed the inherited runner to score and Wilson picked up his third postseason loss. In five postseason starts, Wilson has yet to get past six innings and he made it through six just once. He's allowed 17 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings and has 13 walks to just 15 strikeouts.

Hitting: David Freese and Matt Holliday doubled off Wilson in Game 1 and Nick Punto singled. ... Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer off Carpenter to tie Game 1. Adrian Beltre doubled and singled and Ian Kinsler singled.

Some numbers as the No. 1s take the hill

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
11:30
AM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- We've taken a hard look at what happened in Game 1 of the World Series and over the course of the postseason with C.J. Wilson and Chris Carpenter as they prepare for Game 5. Here's some analysis to get you ready for tonight:

* Wilson lost Game 1 of the World Series to the Cardinals largely because of problems locating his fastball. Against right-handed hitters, he threw just 41 percent of fastballs in the strike zone, and (including a few chases) only 48 percent for strikes. His previous season averages had been 54 percent and 62 percent in those same categories.

Missing with his fastball not only led Wilson to use the cutter more often (44 percent usage vs RHB, a season high), but allowed St. Louis to sit on that pitch and drive it. Of the Cardinals' 17 swings against cutters in Game 1, they made contact on every one-- fouling off eight pitches and putting nine of them in play. Three of those nine went for hits, including David Freese's 6th-inning double that would ultimately be the game-winning run.

Wilson has not recorded a win since September 11 (seven starts), and if the Rangers are to take the Series lead back to St. Louis, he'll need to elevate his fastball and convince the Cardinals to go after it.

Wilson (opponents' BA by pitch)

Fastball: .246 (through Sept. 11) and .300 since
Curve: .288 (through Sept. 11) and .133 since
Cutter: .174 (through Sept. 11) and .324 since
Slider: .144 (through Sept. 11) and .231 since

As for Carpenter:

* He held Texas in check in Game 1 by avoiding two of the Rangers' big left-handed bats, Josh Hamilton and David Murphy. More specifically, he avoided throwing them anything down the middle where they have the most power.

In the two Division Series games against lefty-loaded Philadelphia, Carpenter left a total of 28 pitches over the middle third of the plate horizontally. Although he didn't get "burned" that badly (2-for-7, both singles), it was a dangerous spot for Carpenter to continue pitching to.

In his NLCS appearance (Game 3), he left just three pitches over the middle, but one of them got taken out of the yard by the Brewers' Mark Kotsay.

In Game 1 of the World Series, Carpenter threw 28 total pitches to left-handed batters, with only one of those being over the middle of the plate. Sixteen were outside, usually down, and eleven more were inside. The one Rangers LHB who got the "middle" pitch was opposing hurler C.J. Wilson.

Lefties were 0-for-7 against Carpenter in Game 1. Two of them struck out, and the other five made outs, with all those balls in play going straight up the middle.

Unsung hero: Nick Punto waits out C.J. Wilson

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
11:40
PM CT


ST. LOUIS -- It's what eight-hole hitter Nick Punto didn't do in his sixth-inning at-bat against Texas Rangers starter C.J. Wilson that proved significant in the St. Louis Cardinals' 3-2 Game 1 victory.

With two outs in 2-2 game, David Freese on third and pitcher Chris Carpenter on deck, Punto changed the course of the game by keeping his bat on his shoulder.

Wilson started Punto with consecutive curveballs that tailed low and outside.

"He didn't chase. What am I going to do, throw a fastball down the middle?" Wilson said. "I threw a curveball that started over the middle of the plate, he didn't chase it. I threw another that started over the middle of the plate, he didn't chase it. I was playing for a swing-and-miss the first two pitches. I fell behind and then I went for the back-door cutter, which had been working and he didn't swing at that again. He just wasn't going to swing."

Punto, a .143 hitter in the postseason, took all four pitches to put runners at the corners and set the wheels of change in motion. Carpenter headed back to the dugout and right-handed pinch-hitter Allen Craig emerged. Rangers manager Ron Washington then made the obvious move to pull Wilson after 5 2/3 innings in favor of right-hander Alexi Ogando, who has been nearly unhittable in the playoffs.

"I felt like I could get Craig out because I was prepared for him," Wilson said. "At the same time I feel like Ogando's going to get everybody out because he's the magic man."

As Wilson then noted, Ogando must have run out of magic in this one. Craig lined Ogando's fourth consecutive fastball into right field , driving in the winning run and handing Wilson his third loss in three postseason starts.

Matchup: C.J. Wilson vs. Chris Carpenter

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
1:30
PM CT
ST. LOUIS -- Game 1 of the World Series features the two No. 1 pitchers for the Rangers and Cardinals as left-hander C.J. Wilson goes up against right-hander Chris Carpenter. A brief look at this mound matchup:

Wilson (0-2, 8.04 ERA in playoffs): The lefty is looking for his first win of the 2011 postseason after pitching just 15 2/3 innings in three starts, including one in the ALDS and two in the ALCS. ... Wilson's last start was Game 5 of the ALCS at Comerica Park in Detroit. He gave up six runs on eight hits in six innings in a 7-5 Rangers loss. ... Wilson allowed three home runs and has allowed six homers in the playoffs. He gave up 16 homers in 223 1/3 innings in the regular season. ... Wilson has never faced the Cardinals. ... In his lone World Series start in 2010, Wilson pitched six innings and allowed two runs on three hits in a loss to San Francisco.

Carpenter (2-0, 3.71 ERA in playoffs): The 36-year-old made one start in the NLCS and didn't have his best stuff, allowing three runs on six hits in five innings in Game 3. But he got the win. ... Carpenter's best postseason start was Game 5 of the NLDS against the Phillies. He fired a three-hit, complete-game shutout in that elimination start, pushing the Cardinals into the NLCS. He needed just 110 pitches to do it. ... Carpenter has made 12 career postseason starts and is 7-2 with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. ... Carpenter has faced Texas 12 times (11 starts), but the last time was back on June 12, 2004, in Arlington. It was not a memorable start for him as Carpenter gave up seven runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Hitters: Mike Napoli is 3-for-3 with a HR and three RBIs off Carpenter in his career. ... Endy Chavez is 0-for-11. ... The only other Rangers player with multiple hits against him is Michael Young, who is 2-for-6. ... Lance Berkman is 3-for-13 against Wilson with four RBIs. ... Corey Patterson, Nick Punto and Ryan Theriot are each 1-for-4 off the lefty.

Upcoming matchup:

Game 2, Thurs. at STL: Colby Lewis (1-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (0-2, 5.71 ERA), 7:05 p.m., FOX/ESPN 103.3 FM
Ian Kinsler ranked 22nd in the AL in pitches seen per at-bat with a team-high 3.94 per game.

He has no intention of changing his approach just because the Rangers are facing an opponent they haven't played in years. Traditionally, part of the leadoff hitter's job is to give his teammates a good look at what the opposing pitcher is throwing, so they can have a better idea when they get to the plate.

New York's Curtis Granderson saw a league-high 4.44 pitches per at-bat.

Kinsler has done a good job of working the counts in his favor during the playoffs, but he remains an aggressive hitter - and if he likes Chris Carpenter's first pitch, then he's going to swing at it.

"You just want to swing at good pitches," Kinsler said. "The first go-around, the most important thing is to see what off-speed pitch he throws first because he's not a guy we've seen much of and you want to know what he's feeling confident about. The more pitches you see the better, but you still have to stay aggressive."

Here the Rangers who saw the most pitches per at-bat this season: Nelson Cruz (3.85), Elvis Andrus (3.73), Adrian Beltre (3.67), Michael Young (3.60) and Josh Hamilton (3.58).

Will starters take hold of World Series?

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
8:00
AM CT
ST. LOUIS -- The postseason plight of these two World Series rotations have been dissected and well-documented. It has not been pretty.

The Texas Rangers, baseball's leaders in shutouts this season and with each of its four playoff starters boasting at least 14 wins, managed one win in the ALCS. The St. Louis Cardinals staff, led by Game 1 starter Chris Carpenter, couldn't even do that.

"Yes, I’m a little surprised," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I expect those guys to go deeper than they have, but the bottom line is however they deep they went they kept us in the ballgame and we were able to pull some of them off. I hope this time that they can take the ball and keep it a long time, hopefully nine innings."

Nine innings might be asking a bit much, considering Games 1 and 2 are in St. Louis with no designated hitter. The likelihood of pinch-hitting for the pitcher is always a possibility, plus both lineups are explosive and both managers aren't afraid to go to their stellar bullpens early and as often as needed.

That said, Washington said he expects Game 1 starter C.J. Wilson to put together his first extended start of the postseason tonight.

"What I expect to see out of C.J. is for him to go out there and keep the ball seven to eight innings and have us to just turn it over to the bullpen late," Washington said. "That’s what I expect to see."

Washington on Tuesday tabbed Colby Lewis as the Game 2 starter after Derek Holland filled the spot in the previous two series. Washington won't say it, but the move could be to keep Lewis pitching on the road, where he was a far better pitcher this season. In the prior two series, Texas had home-field advantage, so Lewis started both Game 3s on the road.

Either Holland or Matt Harrison, both young lefties, will start Games 3 and 4, although Washington had not decided on an order.

None of the Rangers' starters have lasted beyond six innings and Lewis has managed a so-called quality start of at least six innings and three or fewer runs. The starters' ERA for the ALCS was 6.59 and more than 5.00 for the entire postseason.

"We have the ability to go deep in the games, it's just sometimes the game situation hasn't dictated that," Wilson said. "The starting pitchers on our team, I can speak for us, and for Colby, we talked about it and said we're here to win, and however we have to win, it doesn't really matter. We don't really care. If we only get to throw five or six innings that's fine because our bullpen is awesome. Their bullpen is good, too. That's just the way it's been shaking out."

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Yu Darvish
WINS ERA SO IP
10 3.06 182 144
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .325
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 67
RA. Beltre 66
OPSA. Beltre .876
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182