Texas Rangers: Matt Cain

Rapid Reaction: Giants 5, Rangers 2

March, 15, 2013
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--The Texas Rangers (9-9-2) saw their two-game winning streak come to an end with a 5-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants (8-9-3) on Friday at Scottsdale Stadium.

What this means: Texas falls back to .500 after losing both games of the two-game spring series to San Francisco.

Lowe debuts: Derek Lowe pitched two scoreless innings in his Rangers and spring debut. He scattered a pair of hits and walked one.

Great gun: Craig Gentry showed off his arm on a play during the first inning when he threw out Andres Torres who was trying to tag up and take third on a fly out to right field. Gentry made the catch about halfway out in right, and fired a bullet to Adrian Beltre that got there so quickly that Beltre had to wait for Torres to take a few more steps toward him before applying the easy tag.

Manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Surprise, Ariz., to discuss how the Rangers are looking heading into the 2013 season.

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Double threat: 1B-OF Jim Adduci, all 6-2, 210-pounds of him, stole second base cleanly in the second inning, and had a good jump doing it, showing he has speed to go along with a good bat. He tried to steal second again in the fifth inning but was thrown out on a close play.

Self defense: LHP Joe Ortiz saved himself when Matt Cain drilled a line drive back at the Rangers reliever to lead off the third inning. Ortiz quickly dropped down to the mound to avoid the ball and put his glove up to his face, knocking the shot down and throwing the ball to first to secure the out. The play went 1-3 on the scorecard but was anything but routine.

Zero Joe: Speaking of Ortiz, he threw his seventh scoreless inning of the spring, and has allowed just three hits in his seven innings of work.

Captain Kirkman: LHP Michael Kirkman will likely be asked to take on a bigger role in the bullpen this season and he looks ready for the added responsibility. Kirkman threw a scoreless eighth inning and remains unscored upon in six innings this spring.

Cain pain: Texas could only muster two hits in five scoreless innings against San Francisco starter Cain, who faced one batter above the minimum.

Font 'A' debut: RHP Wilmer Font made his first appearance in an 'A' game this spring and allowed a two-run home run to Hunter Pence during his inning of work. Font was sidelined early in camp with biceps tendonitis. He rose from High-A Myrtle Beach to the majors in 2012, just one year removed from undergoing Tommy John surgery. Font averaged 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings with Myrtle Beach.

Perfect no more: RHP Johan Yan was untouchable through his first five appearances, allowing no hits and just one walk -- until Friday. Torres took a pitch deep in the seventh inning, hitting a two-run home run, the first blemish on Yan's spring ledger.

Big draw: The Texas-San Francisco game was a sellout with Scottsdale Stadium packed with 12,106 fans taking in the game under 85-degree, mostly sunny skies.

What's next?: Texas is scheduled for a pair of split-squad games this weekend, with one game being played in Arizona and the other in Las Vegas on each day. On Saturday, the Rangers will play one game against the Chicago Cubs at Cashman Field at 3:05 p.m. CT. RHP Nick Tepesch (0-0, 2.25) will start for Texas. RHP Jeff Samardzjia (1-0, 5.59) takes the mound for Chicago. The game can be seen live on Fox Sports Southwest.

In the other game, Texas hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers at Surprise Stadium at 3:05 p.m. CT. LHP Matt Harrison (1-0, 9.00) will start for the Rangers. LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-2, 5.54) is the scheduled starter for the Dodgers. The game can be heard live on ESPN 103.3 FM.

Justin Verlander, Matt Cain to start All-Star Game

July, 9, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- American League manager Ron Washington made it official today that Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander will start the All-Star Game. National League manager Tony LaRussa has tabbed Matt Cain to start for the NL.

Verlander, 29, is 9-5 with a 2.58 ERA in 18 starts so far this season. He is coming off his fifth complete game of the season in a 5-1 win over Minnesota on Wednesday, so he's rested and ready.

Cain is 9-3 with a 2.62 ERA and pitched a perfect game against Houston on June 13.

Matt Harrison says he's OK for next start

June, 24, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers starter Matt Harrison begrudgingly exited a shutout bid after five innings against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday night due to lower back tightness.

But after picking up 10th win, tied for the most in the American League, the left-hander said he’ll be ready for his next start.

“I saw the doc (Rangers team physician Keith Meister) and he said it was just a very mild stiffness in the lower back so he said see how it feels tomorrow,” Harrison said. “But I feel confident that I’ll be good to go.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he decided to remove Harrison, now 10-3 with a 3.24 ERA after the 4-2 victory, for precautionary reasons once Harrison told him and pitching coach Mike Maddux that he felt stiffness in his lower back.

Harrison said he felt discomfort at the start of the third inning and again following the fourth, after which he tried to stretch out his back. After the fifth inning, the third consecutive in which he faced just three batters thanks to a 6-4-3 double play, Harrison made it known that he was having issues with his back.

“Once he let us know that he was feeling a little stiffness we just took him out. We weren’t taking any chances,” Washington said. “Of course, Harry didn’t want to come out, but we weren’t taking any chances. He will make his next start.”

The diagnosis is excellent news for arguably the Rangers’ steadiest pitcher this season as well as for a rotation in which lefty Derek Holland (left elbow fatigue) and right-hander Neftali Feliz (right elbow inflammation) remain sidelined.

Harrison, a likely All-Star candidate, stranded five Rockies baserunners in the first two innings and used the double-play ball in the third, fourth and fifth to avoid trouble. He left having allowed five hits, all singles. He struck out three and walked two.

Harrison won for the sixth consecutive time and has been outstanding in June. He entered Sunday’s game tied with Cleveland's Justin Masterson and San Francisco's Matt Cain for the lowest ERA (1.24) in the majors behind only the New York Mets' R.A. Dickey -- before the knuckleballer's start Sunday night against the Yankees.

“I didn’t really have my best stuff working today, but I just kept telling myself when guys are on base, you’re one quality pitch from getting out of it. So I was able to bear down and get out of some innings where I got the leadoff guy on. Definitely want to just keep getting better, keep improving.

“I’m not very happy about being a five (innings) and dive guy today,” Harrison said, “but with the situation, I had to come out. I just hope to continue what I’m doing.”

Of all things, weak bats doom Rangers

November, 2, 2010
videoARLINGTON, Texas – As crazy as it sounded for an American League underdog and first-time World Series entrant, the Texas Rangers crashed the Fall Classic as the favorite to win it all.

With bats blazing after a demolition of the New York Yankees, the light-hitting San Francisco Giants from that mediocre other league figured to be a walk in Golden Gate Park.

Sure, the Giants had Tim Lincecum and the National League's most dominant staff across the board, but so what? The Rangers had Cliff Lee and eccentric C.J. Wilson and steady Colby Lewis. If they could hold their own on the mound, the team that carried the majors' best batting average into the postseason and had cranked nearly twice as many postseason homers as anyone else would deliver the franchise its first-ever world championship.

And then something happened to the Rangers’ vaunted offense that poured 38 runs on the Bronx Bombers.

“Their pitching happened,” Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said of the Giants’ tremendous pitching in the World Series. “Obviously, we pride ourselves on beating anyone offensively, but in this series we couldn’t do it.”

The Giants, hitting .231 entering the World Series, did. Edgar Renteria's three-run homer off Cliff Lee in the seventh inning of a scoreless game stunned the sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark and all but ended Texas' hopes of taking the series back to the Bay. San Francisco went on to a 3-1 victory Monday night, taking the World Series, 4-1.

Michael Young’s .250 batting average in the five-game seriers tells the story. Not because it represents anything in particular, but because it serves as an eye-popping divider. Mitch Moreland, the nine-hole hitter who hit a team-best .462, is the lone Ranger to finish north of Young’s average.

[+] EnlargeJosh Hamilton
AP Photo/David J. PhillipAfter winning the ALCS MVP, Josh Hamilton was held to a .100 batting average in the World Series.
Everybody else finished well south. In fact, only Nelson Cruz hit .200, and he hit exactly that. Just get a glimpse of these averages: Elvis Andrus, .176; Vladimir Guerrero, .071; Josh Hamilton, .100; Kinsler, .188; Bengie Molina, .182; David Murphy, .143. It all adds up to .190 as a team, the third-lowest batting average in World Series history. In Games 4 and 5, the Rangers scratched out just three hits in each.

"I caught those guys. I know what they're capable doing. I just thought we could hit them," said Rangers catcher Bengie Molina, a San Francisco Giant the past 3 1/2 years until traded to Texas on July1. "I just thought that this group is a great group of guys that can hit and I thought they could hit them. But, like they say, pitching beats hitting, right?"

Consider this: Those light-hitting Giants matched the Rangers' 29 hits in the series with 29 runs.

“It’s tough you know?” Cruz said. “They got great pitching and when you got pitching the offense shuts down. It’s simple.”

Simple, yet still utterly confounding. The Rangers blew an opportunity in Game 1 to open a four- or five-run lead on Lincecum, but settled for a 2-0 lead after two innings. Lee couldn’t hold it and by the time the fifth inning was over, the Giants led, 8-2.

In Games 2 through 5, the Rangers’ offense managed five runs. They were shut out twice, once by Matt Cain, which is not a terrible crime since he finished the postseason without allowing a run. But insult came against 21-year-old lefty Madison Bumgarner and his poised Game 4 shutout.

Cruz’s solo home run in the seventh inning of Monday’s finale ended an 18-inning scoreless skid that went all the way back to the sixth inning of Game 3.

“We feel that we can hit anybody at any time,” Hamilton said. “Their pitchers threw well, I’ll give them credit, even though I don’t like to. They threw well, but we just weren’t swinging the bats well. But they beat us, fair and square.”

Hamilton had come off a poor ALDS to win the ALCS MVP a monster performance that led the Yankees to intentionally walk him three times in the Game 6 clincher. Later this month, he could very likely take home the AL MVP. But, in the World Series, he vanished, save for a solo shot in the Game 3 victory.

In Game 5, he didn’t get the ball out of the infield. Hamilton, who hit .359 in the regular season, tapped one to first in the first. After Young reached to lead off the fourth, Hamilton struck out swinging. He ended a 1-2-3 sixth inning with a dribbler to second and started the 1-2-3 silent ninth looking at Brian Wilson’s 95 mph fastball.

“I felt great. It would be different if I felt terrible, felt lost, didn’t know what I was doing up there. I felt good,” Hamilton said. “That’s just the way baseball works. Sometimes you feel good and you just don’t get hits. You hate for it to happen in the World Series, but it did. I’m not going to be disappointed or be upset about it because I didn’t have bad at-bats.”

Guerrero, the cleanup hitter who a week ago was voted the AL Comeback Player of the Year by his peers, produced almost nothing during the playoffs. Manager Ron Washington stuck by his prized free-agent pickup and refused to move him out of the four-hole in favor of Cruz, who swung perhaps the hottest bat of the playoffs, up until the World Series.

Guerrero produced one hit against the Giants and two RBIs. He struck out three times in Game 4, the first time he’d done that all season and the first time ever in his playoff career. In Game 5, he reached once on a fielder’s chance and was quietly retired three other times.

For one of the game’s great free swingers, the first World Series of his Hall of Fame-caliber career did not go as planned.

“I feel happy because in 14 years I haven’t been able to get to the World Series. But, of course, being my first World Series and waiting so long I was a little anxious when I was at the plate,” Guerrero said through a translator. “I think that is the reason why I couldn’t produce like I usually do during my career.”

In the end, great pitching beat good hitting. Good might be too complimentary to describe the Rangers’ plate performance.

“I can’t put my finger on one particular thing. Fact is we didn’t play how the Rangers play,” Hamilton said. “They’re pretty good, but baseball is baseball. Even the best pitcher can have a bad day or a pitcher that’s not so hot can I have great day. Say they had the best staff in the league, they still can be beat.

“I give them credit, they threw the ball well,” Hamilton continued. “I just don’t like giving pitchers a lot of credit. I just don’t.”

After these five games, the Rangers have little choice.

Shot that wasn't didn't surprise Ian Kinsler

October, 29, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Apparently Ian Kinsler was not as surprised that his Game 2 blast to deep center wasn't gone, but had actually bounced off the top of the wall and into center fielder Andres Torres' glove for a double.

"I saw a couple balls in batting practice do that," Kinsler said. "It seemed like whenever a ball hit the top of the wall it came back into the park. So when I saw it hit the top of the wall I figured it was going to come back in."

Kinsler's double led-off the fifth inning with the score tied, 0-0. Kinsler would be stranded at second and in the bottom of the inning Edgar Renteria homered to left field for a 1-0 lead. San Francisco Giants pither Matt Cain said he thought Kinsler's shot was long gone.

"I thought it was a home run," Cain said. 'I saw it hit and I thought it hit something behind the wall and I thought it was a home run, so I cashed it in as one run. Then I saw that Torres had thrown it in and he was standing on second. From there I just said, 'Hey, I've got to try to keep that guy there and we'll just get the next guy, see if we can get the next guy out and see how it works out.'"

David Murphy and then Matt Treanor failed to move Kinsler over. Cain then intentionally walked Mitch Moreland to get to C.J. Wilson, who bounced out to first to end the inning.

"It would have been 1-0 at the time," said Kinsler when asked if an extra inch could have changed the course of the game. "Could have. We’ll never know. We didn’t score any runs. One run obviously wouldn’t have won the game at the end of it, but who knows if that would have changed the game."

All three of Kinsler's postseason home runs came in the ALDS.

Blister, bullpen ruin C.J. Wilson's night

October, 29, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO -- C.J. Wilson deserved better. On a night when the lefty came to deal on the heels of Cliff Lee's surprising Game 1 tumble, a ruptured blister on his middle finger, an impotent offense and an imploding Texas Rangers bullpen turned a Game 2 pitchers’ duel into a 9-0 San Francisco romp.

Wilson pitched superbly, matching the Giants’ stellar starter, Matt Cain, for all but one pitch. San Francisco shortstop Edgar Renteria launched a fifth-inning Wilson fastball high into the left-field bleachers for a 1-0 lead. In the top half of the fifth, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler missed giving Texas the lead first with a blast that smacked off the top of the center-field wall, just inches from going over, and somehow stayed in play.

Kinsler settled for a leadoff double, but another round of failed hitting with runners in scoring position left him standing on second.

[+] EnlargeC.J. Wilson
AP Photo/David J. PhillipRangers starter C.J. Wilson went toe-to-toe with the Giants' Matt Cain, but his solid outing was ruined by a blister and his bullpen.
The rapidly moving game remained 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh when the blister on Wilson’s left middle finger ruptured during a 10-pitch at-bat to Cody Ross, resulting in a walk, and the beginning of the end. The bloody blister left Wilson incapable of gripping the seams of the baseball, and he removed himself from a game that would put the Rangers in a 2-0 hole as the World Series shifts to Texas.

“Cain and I had a good pitching battle all the way through,” said Wilson, who allowed three hits. “I made that one mistake to Renteria and other than that I was in complete control the whole way. ... You never want to come out of the game, but I did what I thought was right for the team at that point. It didn’t work out as well as anybody drew it up.”

Spinning out of control is the Rangers’ bullpen. Darren Oliver couldn’t finish off the Giants in the seventh, allowing one run. But, it was a mind-numbing eighth that ended any hope of a comeback. After Darren O’Day struck out the first two batters, Buster Posey singled.

Rangers manager Ron Washington pulled the righty O’Day in favor of young lefty Derek Holland, a success story against the Yankees in the ALCS, to pitch to the left-hand-hitting Nate Schierholtz.

O’Day, a spot pitcher whom Washington tends to pull rather than face a left-handed hitter, was upset he couldn’t punch out Posey to end the inning.

“Obviously, yeah, it’s tough to watch for sure. You want your teammates to succeed. You want your team to succeed. We just didn’t get the job done, including myself. Schierholtz was coming up. Derek Holland was warming up and if you look at what he did last series against the Yankees, he’s obviously a pretty damned good pitcher.”

Unfortunately for Holland, he’ll need a short memory to soon forget what happened next.

“I was in the bullpen hitting my spots,” Holland said. “And then I come out of the bullpen and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.”

Holland threw 13 pitches to three batters; one for a strike. Schierholtz walked on four pitches. Then Ross watched four go by to load the bases. Aubrey Huff ran the count to 3-0 before Holland finally landed one in the strike zone. The fifth pitch, a fifth consecutive fastball, missed and a run came home.

As the balls kept coming, Rangers manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux never got the bullpen warming. Washington said he thought Holland would correct his fastball, but he never could.

“Very frustrating. I’m happy with what he did,” Holland said of Washington sticking with him. “He had confidence in me. It’s my fault. I let him down. I let the team down in that situation. This is a very serious time.”

Finally, Mark Lowe got up. He came in and promptly walked a fourth consecutive batter, Juan Uribe, on five pitches. Suddenly, Wilson’s hard-fought battle against the near-perfect Cain was a 4-0 deficit. The Giants would make it 9-0 by the end of the inning.

Wilson helplessly watched his work unravel.

“No, I’m not surprised at all,” said Wilson, who got a no-decision in Game 1 against the Yankees after a strong start followed by an epic bullpen failure. “When you walk a metric-ton of people, they’re going to score.”

The Rangers obviously miss the services of injured eighth-inning set-up man Frankie Francisco, who remains with the club. He was almost teary-eyed when asked how badly it hurts to be out of commission and watch the bullpen spiral.

Francisco had been a valuable bridge to get to rookie closer Neftali Feliz, who has still not pitched in a save situation. Feliz hasn’t pitched since the ALCS clincher last Friday night and could have been an option to stop the bleeding in the eighth, but Washington said he never considered going to his 22-year-old fireballer.

“No, I didn’t,” Washington said. “I didn’t at all.”

Now the Rangers head home for a possible three games and needing to win four of the final five to capture the franchise’s first World Series. Nothing is predictable, as the first two games at AT&T Park have shown. Lee proved mortal and when Wilson gave everything he had, a tiny, but debilitating injury, a dead-bat offense and a bungling bullpen did him in.

“Trust me,” Holland said sternly. “The bullpen is going to be fine come Friday [for Game 3]. It’s a new day. We’re not going to sit and dwell on it. This game’s over and we’re going to come back and help this team win.”

Rapid Reax: Rangers head home down 0-2

October, 28, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rangers head back to Arlington down 0-2 in the World Series after the Giants pitched well and got more than enough offense to win, 9-0, in Game 2 courtesy of a late bullpen meltdown. Some quick thoughts on the game (more to come on the blog from the clubhouse):

* Matt Cain put on a pitching clinic. He worked quickly and found a nice rhythm from the start. He had excellent fastball command and was able to get nice movement on his breaking pitches. He seemed to pitch ahead of nearly every hitter and when he got into trouble, he got out of it. His slider and changeup were particularly effective. He didn't lose his cool out there and went deep into the game.

Edgar Renteria
Elsa/Getty ImagesC.J. Wilson's only mistake of the night, to Edgar Renteria, was enough for the Giants to control the Rangers and win Game 2.
* C.J. Wilson nearly matched Cain pitch for pitch. His breaking stuff was also effective and he moved his fastball around. He left one pitch up to Edgar Renteria in the fifth, but was solid otherwise. He started the seventh inning, his last with his spot due up in the bottom half, with a walk to Cody Ross. Pitching coach Mike Maddux went to the mound and then called out athletic trainer Jamie Reed. If I read Maddux's lips correctly: "We've got a blister here." The official word was a blister on his left middle finger. Wilson mentioned a blister after his last start against the Yankees, saying it bugged him some.

* Wasted chances. The Rangers had two golden opportunities to score and didn't. Ian Kinsler hit a long fly ball to center that went off the top of the wall -- and I mean the top -- and came back into play for a double to start the fifth. It was inches from a homer. Instead, Kinsler was at second with a leadoff double and never moved. David Murphy hit a soft liner to short and Matt Treanor grounded to short for the second out. That's when the fact that Game 2 was in a National League park helped the Giants in the fifth. With Kinsler still at second base and two outs, the Giants smartly walked Mitch Moreland to pitch to Wilson, who chopped out to first.

* Texas had an even better chance to score an inning later. Michael Young and Josh Hamilton hit singles to right (Cody Ross was fortunate on a diving attempt at Hamilton's ball that the ball bounced up and hit him in the chest and didn't roll far away, forcing Young to stay at second). Cain then threw a wild pitch that allowed Young and Hamilton to move up as the Rangers showed off their ability to get aggressive on balls in the dirt.

With Nelson Cruz up, the Giants played the infield back conceding a run. But Cruz popped up to first baseman Aubrey Huff in foul territory. Ian Kinsler then flied out to shallow right field to end the inning. The escape certainly fired up the Giants fans.

* In the eighth inning, Elvis Andrus walked and stole second base with one out. Michael Young then flied out to right and Andrus couldn't advance. The Giants changed pitchers as Cain exited and lefty Javier Lopez came in to face Josh Hamilton and got him to fly out, ending yet another threat with runners in scoring position.

* The Rangers bullpen again had trouble. With one on and two out in the eighth, Washington turned to Derek Holland against the left-handed hitting Schierholtz. But Holland walked him on four pitches. He then walked Ross on four pitches to load the bases. He stayed in to pitch to the left-handed hitting Aubrey Huff, but walked him on five pitches to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. So Holland's day: 13 pitches, 12 balls, three walks.

* Mark Lowe, who warmed up at warp speed after Holland's second walk, came in and walked Uribe on a 3-2 pitch to plate another run. Then, with a 3-2 count that had the runners moving, Renteria hit a two-RBI single to make it 6-0.

* Michael Kirkman then came in and gave up a triple to right off the bat of Aaron Rowand to score two more runs. Then Torres hit a double to left to score the ninth run of the game and the seventh off the inning. All of them with two outs.

* Matt Treanor made a nice block on a breaking ball in the dirt with Ross at third base and Uribe up in the second inning. Treanor kept the ball in front of him, preventing any chance of Ross advancing to home with the game's first run.

* Cruz was in right field for Game 2 with Vladimir Guerrero on the bench. And he made a play in the third that Guerrero might not make, racing to the gap in right-center and catching a fly ball hit by Andres Torres (with a runner at first and one out). Cruz certainly seemed more comfortable out there than Guerrero did. He made a nice adjustment on Aubrey Huff's liner to right with one on and two outs in the fourth to end the inning.

* While Kinsler's fly ball was close to a homer in the top of the fifth, there was no doubt about Edgar Renteria's blast in the bottom half. Wilson hung a 91 mph fastball and Renteria turned on it, hitting it 20 rows up in left field. Renteria has had big World Series hits before, winning Game 7 for the Marlins against the Indians with a single up the middle in 1997.

* Give Bruce Bochy credit. Before the seventh inning, he moved Ross to left and inserted Nate Schierholtz in right field, putting Pat Burrell on the bench to get a better defensive setup for the final three innings. The move paid immediate dividends. Schierholtz caught Murphy's fly ball to left and Schierholtz made a nice running catch to get to Treanor's deep fly ball to right. He also brought in Lopez to face Hamilton and got the out.

* Celebrity watch: Joe Montana was in attendance at the game, getting huge cheers from the San Francisco crowd when he was shown on the big screen before the seventh inning. So were Wayne Gretzky and Rob Schneider.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Texas Rangers failed to convert on a golden opportunity in the top of the sixth after Michael Young and Josh Hamilton both singled and took second and third on a wild pitch with one out.

Giants starter Matt Cain settled down and got Nelson Cruz to weakly pop out in foul territory and then Ian Kinsler, hoping to convert after missing a home run by inches in the fifth inning, sent a high pop into right field to kill the inning.

Cain allowed two hits for the first time in an inning and a Rangers baserunner advanced to third for the first time in the game, but the Giants held on to their 1-0 lead in Game 2 of the World Series.

Ian Kinsler comes within inches of HR

October, 28, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO -- Hits have been hard to come by for the Texas Rangers off Matt Cain and for the second time they've left a runner stranded on second base.

In Kinsler led off the top of the fifth with a deep shot to center that came inches from giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. It hit off the top of the wall and bounced back into play for a double. That's where Kinsler would stay as David Murphy and Matt Treanor failed to move him over.

The Giants then turned to National League strategy, intentionally walking eight-hole hitter Mitch Moreland to get to pitcher C.J. Wilson. Wilson made contact, sending a chopper to first, but Aubrey Huff handled it and ended the inning to keep Game 2 tied at 0-0.

Both pitchers sailing through three, 0-0

October, 28, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO -- The pitchers' duel everyone expected in Game 1 is shaping up in Game 2 between Texas Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson and San Francisco Giants righty Matt Cain.

Through three innings, both pitchers are cruising. Wilson has allowed two hits, a second-inning double to Cody Ross and a third-inning dribbler up the middle from pitcher Matt Cain. Both hits came with one out and Wilson as able to get the next two batters to end both innings. Wilson has thrown 44 pitches.

Cain has tossed just 35 pitches and has allowed one hit, a liner to right from rookie first baseman Mitch Moreland. C.J. Wilson sacrificed him over to second, but Elvis Andrus, trying to extend his postseason hit streak to 13, flied to center. Andrus is 0-for-2.

Game 2 lineup: Vladimir Guerrero on bench

October, 28, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- A day after Vladimir Guerrero committed two errors in the eighth inning of Game 1 and looked slow trying to cover ground in the expansive right field at AT&T Park, the Rangers have opted to sit him on the bench.

David Murphy gets the start in left field, shifting Nelson Cruz to right against right-handed pitcher Matt Cain. It means Cruz bats cleanup. Here are the lineups:

SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
RF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
LF David Murphy
C Matt Treanor
1B Mitch Moreland
LHP C.J. Wilson

CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
RF Cody Ross
1B Aubrey Huff
3B Juan Uribe
SS Edgar Renteria
RHP Matt Cain

Why Texas wins World Series in 6 games

October, 26, 2010
Here were are, with one more series to predict in this historic playoff run for the Rangers. And now that this team has managed to beat Tampa Bay in five and the Yankees in six, they face the San Francisco Giants, another organization looking to end a long drought without a championship.

My prediction: Rangers in 6. Why? Here are some reasons:
FOX play-by-play announcer Joe Buck joins Galloway & Company to analyze the upcoming World Series matchup between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants.

Listen Listen

* It starts with the lineup. The Rangers crushed the Yankees. Sure, the series went six games. But it sure felt closer to a sweep, didn't it? That's because the Rangers scored early, often and rarely allowed the Yankees to feel like they were in the series. The Giants are pitching better than the Yankees were, but this offense has the versatility to score runs. They are hot and show no signs of slowing down.

* Power. So often, close postseason games are decided by one swing of the bat. The Rangers have sluggers hitting for power in these playoffs, led by Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton. Texas has more power than San Francisco. And while moving runners over, running the bases well and scoring runs in a variety of different ways is important (and Texas does that, by the way), sometimes there's no substitute for that one big swing. Texas will find a way to do that in some key moments in this series.

* Rotation. Sure, the Giants have the advantage in the starting rotation at first blush. Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain have been solid all playoffs. And no rotation has a better postseason ERA than the Giants. But to win the series, the Rangers must pitch well enough to stay in games and let their offense get the job done for them. Clearly, Cliff Lee can win games by himself. That won't be easy against Lincecum, but there's little doubt those games should be close. I think C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis can match Sanchez and Cain. If they do that, the offense should be able to do just enough to get some close wins.

* Schedule. Oddly, I think the fact that the Giants have homefield advantage is good for Texas. The Rangers' goal should be a split in San Francisco. They've played well on the road all season, so that is a very realistic goal (especially with Cliff Lee on the mound). If they can then win two of three in Arlington, they'd take a 3-2 advantage back to California. That's a good spot to be in. To me, the pressure is on the Giants to hold serve in those first two games at home.

* Lee. He has the ability to create momentum by himself. He did it in the Tampa series, winning two of those five games to push the Rangers to the ALCS. And he did it in Game 3 of the ALCS by giving the Rangers a leg up in Yankee Stadium. He can do it again by getting this series started off on the right foot with a win on the road in Game 1.

* Hamilton. He's the likely AL MVP and sure looked like it against the Yankees. How the Giants pitch to him could impact the entire lineup. We saw the Yankees try to pitch around him and take their chances with Vladimir Guerrero in Game 6. It didn't work. Look for him to make an impact.

Overall, while the Giants probably have a slight edge in total pitching depth, I don't think it makes up for the Rangers' offense. Texas scores enough runs and gets the pitching it needs to win this World Series in six games.

What's your prediction?

Two underdogs ready for World Series scrap

October, 24, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Outside of North Texas and the Bay Area, perhaps the World Series matchup most wanted to see involved a team in famous pinstripes and another with a famous fuzzy, green mascot.

Too bad. The Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants knocked off the heavyweights in their respective leagues and will open a most unexpected World Series on Wednesday at beautiful AT&T Park. No apologies needed.

"The two best teams have arrived," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. 'Tampa Bay nor New York laid down for us. Atlanta or Philadelphia didn’t lay down for San Francisco. Every game that we’ve won to be here, we’ve won it. They certainly didn’t give it to us. So the two best teams are here. And you know, once again, it’s not always the best team that wins, it’s the team that wins the best. I keep preaching it and that’s what the game offers. San Francisco played better. The Texas Rangers played better. So here we are. And now we got to see who plays better in the next seven."

The Rangers enter the World Series as slight favorites after being underdogs in the ALDS and ALCS. That came as news to Washington.

"We're the favorites?" he asked, rhetorically. "The game is played between the lines. Its' the best team that plays that night is the team that's going to win."

The Rangers get the nod with their dangerous lineup -- although they will lose the designated hitter spot in the first two games -- having led the majors with a .276 batting average and a postseason-high 17 home runs. The Giants hold a slim advantage on the mound with their starting pitching depth. However, Rangers ace Cliff Lee is the only one who has pitched on the World Series stage before, beating the Yankees twice a year ago.

Led by Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez, the Giants bring a postseason-best 2.47 ERA into the World Series. During the regular season, they led the majors with a 3.36 ERA and 1,331 strikeouts.

"They have an extremely good staff," said lefty C.J. Wilson, who will start either Game 2 or 3. "They led the National League in everything the last time I heard. They got the guy that won the Cy Young the last two years (Lincecum), they got a guy that's thrown a no-hitter (Sanchez), they got a dude that; what's Cain's career ERA, like 3.20, 3.40 (3.45)? He's got good stuff."

One team will bring home a long-awaited championship. The Rangers have never won a World Series title. This trip marks the franchise's first appearance. The Giants haven't won it all since 1954, when they still called New York home.

"This area and community has been starving to have a champion and this team and this organization has given it to them," Washington said. "Now we just have to finish it off."

*The Rangers worked out at Rangers Ballpark on Sunday afternoon. They leave for San Francisco at 3 p.m. on Monday and will not hold a workout until Tuesday at AT&T Park.

Vlad Guerrero will start either Game 1 or 2

October, 24, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Without the benefit of the designated hitter in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series at San Francisco, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said Sunday he will start Vladimir Guerrero in the field in one of the first two games.

"I don't know yet. Haven't decided," Washington said of which game he might give his cleanup hitter the start. "We really haven't sat down and talked about it yet, but you can best believe we'll figure out a way to get Vlad in in there. In the staring lineup, some kind of way."

The San Francisco Giants will likely throw two right-handers in the first two games at AT&T Park. Tim Lincecum is the expected Game 1 starter with Matt Cain being the projected Game 2 starter. Guerrero is 1-for-1 off Lincecum in his career. He singled as a pinch-hitter last season during interleague play.

Guerrero is 0-for-3 with a strikeout against Cain, but those matchups came in the 2006 season. Whichever game Guerrero does not start, he will be a valuable right-handed bat off the bench. National League rules typically demand greater use of pinch-hitters in the pitcher's spot of the order.

Guerrero hit .300 during the regular season with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs. He slumped during the ALDS and much of the ALCS, but came on strong in the Game 6 clincher against the New York Yankees, collecting three of his four postseason RBIs. He's hitting .267 in the postseason with three doubles and no home runs.

Rangers-Giants features good arms

October, 23, 2010

We now know the Rangers will take on the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night.

One thing we do know: One of these organizations is ending a long championship drought. The Rangers have never won one in their history. The Giants have won one since 1954, when they were still in New York.

We'll have matchups and previews throughout the coming days, but at first glance, this sets up for some great pitching matchups. Neither team has set its rotation, but some possible matchups if the teams stick with what they had in the LCS:

Game 1: Cliff Lee vs. Tim Lincecum

Game 2: C.J. Wilson vs. Jonathan Sanchez

Game 3: Colby Lewis vs. Matt Cain

Of course, those could be scrambled. Cain, in fact, started the second game of the division series, but the third game of the NLCS, so that could change. But no matter how you line them up, it's some good starting pitching.

But winning playoff games is not just about the starters. The Giants bullpen certainly did the job in Game 6. Sanchez went just two innings before getting pulled, leaving things to five relievers. Jeremy Affeldt, Madison Bumgarner, Javier Lopez, Lincecum and, of course, closer Brian Wilson, combined to pitch 6+ innings of scoreless baseball.

The Giants can mix and match with that bullpen. That should be interesting with how well the Rangers bullpen has done all season.

C.J. Wilson, by the way, had this tweet just after the NLCS ended: See your beard soon mr wilson

Should be an entertaining series with plenty of storylines. No, I don't see Neftali Feliz growing a beard for the series (not sure he could). But seeing Bengie Molina play against the team that traded him in June will be neat.



Colby Lewis
10 5.18 133 170
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182