The Texas Rangers are in turmoil. In what should have been the team’s finest hour, errors by the Rangers and their manager, Ron Washington cost Texas a world championship in Game 6 of the World Series. Now the Rangers take on the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the Fall Classic, a do-or-die situation for both teams. The Cardinals have the momentum after their come-from-behind Game 6 win while the Rangers are still thunderstruck by the occurrences o the contest.
Washington made several errors in Game 6, electing not to pinch hit for starting pitcher Colby Lewis at a time he should have and then doing the opposite to reliever Scott Feldman. Washington was clearly all-in during Game 6, bringing in Game 4 starting pitcher Derek Holland as a reliever. Holland can still be used as a reliever in Game 7, but Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has his team in perfect position, pitchers and all, to win the title.
Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter won Game 1 of the World Series for St. Louis and pitched fairly well in Game 5 Cardinals loss. With short rest, La Russa will start Carpenter in Game 7, a gutsy move by the winningest active manager in baseball.
Washington had the option of saving Holland for a potential Game 7, but made the decision before Game 6 to start Matt Harrison in the possible final contest. Harrison was bombarded by the Cardinals in a 16-7 Game 3 loss while Holland pitched nearly entirety of Game 4, a shutout Texas victory.
Now the shaky Harrison will start the biggest game in franchise history while the Cardinals have their ace on the mound in Carpenter. Washington will undoubtedly have Holland and Texas ace C.J. Wilson available in the bullpen like he did in Game 6, but Harrison starting may be enough to kill the Rangers’’ chances of winning.
Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando was the best in the Texas bullpen throughout the regular season and the first two playoff series. For whatever reason, Ogando can’t seem to throw a strike in the World Series, leading to Washington’s questionable bullpen decisions in the Fall Classic, particularly in Game 6.
The cards are stacked against the Rangers in this World Series Game 7 road game, but Texas has been resilient all season, especially in the playoffs. However, don’t expect Washington’s managing or Harrison’s pitching to win the title for Texas. Just like they’re used to, the Rangers’ bats and defensive play will have to win it.
Contact Jeric Griffin on Twitter @JericGriffin