Rangers vs. Cardinals Game 6 Preview!

Posted: October 27, 2011 in MLB playoffs, Texas Rangers

By Chris Bates

    The Texas Rangers are one win away from their first world championship in their 30 years of existence.  Coming off a dramatic 4-2 win over St. Louis in Game 5 on Monday, the Rangers travel to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals in Game 6 tonight.  Weather should not be an issue in St. Louis as it is supposed to be in the mid 40’s with clear skies.

Matchup

    Colby Lewis, the Rangers best postseason pitcher, takes the mound for Texas.  In his game 2 start, Lewis gave up 1 run in 6 2/3 innings.  He kept the Rangers in the game as their offense could not manage any runs against Jaime Garcia.  Lewis will be ready to go tonight in what is the biggest start of his career and the biggest game in Texas Rangers history.  Rangers first baseman Michael Young said the team is feeling no pressure because of the experience of playing in big games last year.  Josh Hamilton has started to hit, recording a hit in his last 3 games.  C.J. Wilson and Derek Holland are both expected to be ready in the bullpen should Ron Washington call on them.  Lewis is looking to move his record to 5-1 in postseason play in his career with an ERA just under 2.3.  His record in the regular season was 14-10 with a 38-38 career record.

     Jaime Garcia, was brilliant in Game 2 for the Cardinals, giving up just 3 hits and no runs in 7 innings pitched.  Garcia is and has been the Cardinals 2nd best pitcher this season, winning 13 games for St. Louis.  Garcia is 5-5 in his career in interleague play including 2-1 this season.  In his career, Garcia is 27-16 with a 3.27 ERA.  Garcia should have a similar performance tonight as he did in Game 2.

Keys to the Game

    For both teams, the keys to the game are their batters getting ahead in the count.  Both pitchers do an excellent job of putting away hitters that are behind in the count.  Obviously, the Cardinals cannot win if they strand 12 runners on base such as they did in Game 5.  Getting the big hit with runners in scoring position is always a key, but especially is for St. Louis.  The Cardinals have had so many opportunities to close the door on the Rangers by getting that one big hit but havent been able to manage that hit.  The Rangers must continue to pitch well out of the bullpen.  Both teams are now fully rested after having 2 days off and I don’t think either team benefits from it.  The Rangers know what to expect going into a hostile environment being just 27 outs away from their first World Series title.  St. Louis is a veteran team and for them to force a game 7 they just need to play their game and everything else will take care of itself.  Whichever team that has their starter pitch longer I think will win Game 6.

Prediction

     The Rangers know that the game tonight must be treated like a Game 7.  You don’t want to give the Cardinals any hope of winning the series if they win tonight.  I see the Cardinals fighting until the last out and I think it will once again be an excellent-pitching, low-scoring game.  Whichever team comes through in the clutch will win.  Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said the bullpen phone works now so there should not be an issue in relaying to the bullpen coach who he wants to pitch.  In Game 5 La Russa and his bullpen coach were not on the same page in terms of who La Russa wanted to come in and face Mike Napoli with the bases loaded.  He wanted his closer Jason Motte but the bullpen coach did not hear him resulting in the current pitcher on the mound Marc Rzepczynski staying in and pitching to Napoli who crushed the game winning two run double.  The phone appears to be working for Game 6 to solve this issue.  Only a few hours until game time and then all will tell what happens.

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