Rangers Better Prepared for This Fall Classic
In the words of team captain Michael Young, nothing's going to sneak up on the Rangers this time; they're ready.
Ready to exorcise some demons that have haunted them since Nelson Cruz swung through a Brian Wilson fastball finishing off the Rangers in the 2010 World Series.
Ready to prove they're a better baseball team than that and believe it or not, a better baseball team than what they showed in this season's American League Championship Series.
The Rangers are back in the World Series because of their bullpen and Nelson Cruz.
Take away the third inning outburst in game six and the Rangers offense was a matter of how many runners were on when Cruz carried that boomstick to the plate and launched a record six home runs.
The Rangers offense is better than that and will have to be in this matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals who unlike the Tigers can match the Rangers bullpen as they showed in the NLCS reaching the World Series in the same manner as the Rangers.
Which of course brings us to the starting rotation that was shockingly ineffective in the ALCS causing Ron Washington to lean heavy on the bullpen, something he was able to do because the Rangers starters went deep into the game all season long giving Washington a fresh bullpen to work with.
CJ Wilson has to turn things around and start attacking hitters again like he did in route to 16 wins and the best ERA the Rangers have gotten from a starter since Nolan Ryan.
He has the stuff to be that ace, the guy that wins two World Series games all on his own, but he gets into trouble when he starts nibbling around the strike zone trying to fool the hitter.
He keeps it simple, throws the cutter, the fastball, the slider that dives down and in on right handed hitters and attacks these mashers in the middle of the Cardinals lineup and he will put the Rangers in position to win the game and save the bullpen by going deep in the game.
The same can be said for Derek Holland and Matt Harrison who pitched a bit timid against Detroit and got away from what made them successful all season long.
People are quick to forget Derek Holland was tied for first in complete game shutouts in the American League with four; it's time to remind them Derek who arguably has the best stuff in the Rangers postseason rotation.
If the Rangers starters can get back to what made them successful, leading the league in quality starts, the Rangers can beat the Cardinals in the World Series, but if they pitch like they did in the ALCS the Rangers will be in trouble.
You think Miguel Cabrera was tough? Try pitching to Albert Pujols.
One huge advantage the Rangers have in the World Series that they did not have last season is the versatility of Michael Young who will start at first base in the first two games in St. Louis.
Last year the horrid defense of Vladimir Guerrero in San Francisco was a huge factor, but this year the primary DH can also play defense when necessary and at a high level.
This in a sense neutralizes the advantage the National League team always has in their park in the World Series as the Rangers keep their all time hits leader in the lineup and don't suffer a setback defensively at all, something that could be a big time X-Factor in this series.
The Rangers have been here before, they now know what to expect the moment they land in St. Louis and start getting ready for game one on Wednesday night.
They expect to win the World Series this time around and they're better prepared for it both in terms of the talent they will put on the field and the approach they bring mentally.
Game one is Wednesday night and the Rangers are ready to go.