by Josh Kipnis
My favorite baseball colloquialism to call out to a teammate at the plate is “Right man, right spot.” It is the ultimate pick-me-up; it says, you are the man for the job and the time to do that job is now.
Going into the potential last game of the World Series, the Texas Rangers have taken this motto to heart in every one of their wins in this big showdown.
Texas has essentially trailed the entire series. The St. Louis Cardinals captured an early series lead in Game 1 and it looked as though the Cardinals’ pitching was going to continue the dominance they have displayed all postseason. But the Rangers proved what is possible with just three outs left in a game. Trailing 1-0 in the top of the 9th, Ian Kinsler hit a single, stole a rare base off catcher Yadier Molina, and was later driven in on Josh Hamilton’s sacrifice fly. The very next batter, Michael Young, drove in the go-ahead run on a sac fly of his own. The right men at the right time.
The next two games proved to be the most lopsided of the series. Albert Pujols put on a clinic in Game 3, arguing his case as Senor Octobre and becoming the third player in MLB history to have three bombs in a World Series game. Game 4, however, Texas' pitcher Derek Holland took center stage and watched the roses fall to his feet in his 2-hit, 0 ER dominant performance.
And in Game 5, the Rangers synced their watches once more. Trailing 2-0, a pair of solo home runs by Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland put Texas back in striking distance. With the game still tied in the bottom of the 8th, Mike Napoli continued his tear on the Redbirds by smashing a 2-RBI double to right center, sealing the deal for Texas.
In a game where timing is everything, the Rangers’ game was as sound and smooth as Beethoven’s 5th, while the Cardinals’ sounded more like nails on a chalkboard.
The Cardinals were a pitiful one for twelve with runners in scoring position last night. St. Louis had a total of seventeen base runners but were only able to send two all the way home. The Cardinals stranded runners on second and third in the 5th, 6th, and 7th inning, while also stranding one on second in the 8th. If you have that many opportunities to score, you have to take advantage-you have to convert.
“We did have a lot of chances,” said Lance Berkman. “But for whatever reason, we didn’t capitalize. If you’re going to beat a good team at their ballpark, you’ve got to capitalize when you have the opportunity.”
Expect the Cardinals to turn this demise around; but nevertheless, if they repeat this performance, if they are unable to string those hits together, this series will be over Wednesday night-crowning the Texas Rangers as World Champs for the very first time.