Tag:World Series
Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:12 pm

Ratings up for Game 2

By C. Trent Rosecrans

For all the gloom and doom about the ratings for the World Series, at least for one night there was an increase in viewership. According to Fox, Game 2 of the World Series had a five-percent increase from 2010 with an 8.9 rating and 14.3 million viewers, according to a release by the network.

The ratings also increased for Game 2 from Game 1. So far, Fox is averaging and 8.8 rating and 13.2 million viewers, up one percent from last season's first two games.

Perhaps, just perhaps, people who like baseball are tuning in and watching -- and all of those watching have been rewarded with great baseball.

Like Matt wrote earlier this week, there's little reason to worry about the ratings -- instead, sit back and enjoy a fantastic postseason.

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 1:35 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 2:09 am

Overheard: Notes, quotes from World Series Game 2

Jason Motte

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- The Rangers came through in the ninth inning offensively and all game with pitching and defense. The result was a 2-1 victory, and the series is now tied as it shifts to Texas for three games. Here are some of the post-game notes and quotes from Busch Stadium.

• "I knew there was a lot of talk about the starting pitching not being up to par, but I'll tell you, these last two (games), I think the starting pitching has shown what they're capable of doing." - Rangers manager Ron Washington.

Elvis Andrus' big single in the ninth broke an 0-for-8 mini-slump.
World Series Game 2

• "I've got to say those of you that have bad hearts, watch yourself." - Washington on the drama in the series thus far.

• "They caught a break with a blooper, but after that they did some good classic baseball stuff to make two guys come around and score. They deserve credit for how they played in the ninth inning offensively." Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

• "No, not really. You know, load the bases, that's a really difficult thing to do," La Russa said, when asked if he considered walking Hamilton in the ninth and keeping Motte in the game. "We thought we could get -- we had a chance to do something with Hamilton with Rhodes, maybe they score a run but they don't advance the other guy, and he did a good job. That's what I'm telling you, he pulled a ball, so he got a run in, got a guy over and Young did a very good job getting the ball to the outfield. I don't think walking him there would have made it easier for us. I think it would have made it tougher."

Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals was the first Mexican-born starting pitcher in the World Series since Fernando Valenzuela took the ball for the Dodgers in 1981.

Ian Kinsler, when asked about how safe he was on his late stolen base: "Enough. I mean, my hand just barely got in there. It took everything I had. Yadier made an unbelievable throw, quick, on the money, and I was just able to get my hand in there."

• Remember, the Rangers lost Game 1 of the ALDS and then went on to win five straight games over the course of two series.

• The Cardinals are 4-2 on the road this postseason.

• "If he tells me he can play, I'm putting him in the field. All I can say is I know my players better than you guys." - Washington, responding to the sentiment from some that Josh Hamilton shouldn't be playing.

• "Up and down our lineup our guys want to win ballgames, and it doesn't matter if we're down five runs or we're up five runs. We have the attitude of, you know what, until the last pitch is thrown, last out is made, we're going to keep fighting. You know, you can't really say why that is other than the character of the guys on our team." - Hamilton, on the Rangers' fight all the way until the end of the game.

• I walked right by Hamilton in the hallway after his press conference interviews, and he had a massive ice bag on his injured groin. He was laughing, too, so evidently he agreed that it looked hilarious.

• Hamilton on the current state of his health: "It is what it is. I'm tired of talking about it. I'm going to hurt until the season is over. You know, so it's a non-issue as far as talking about it. So stop asking me, please."

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 1:37 am

Grading Game 2 of the World Series

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Another game, another chance to hand out grades (I was a student teacher once upon a time, after all). Let's dive in without any further ado.

The starting pitchers from both teams were pretty maligned heading into the series after a collectively brutal performance in the LCS round. Considering these two teams sport some of the most powerful offenses in baseball, we were going to see a slugfest, right? Wrong. Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia was dominant, giving his ballclub seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out seven. If he pitches like that in his second turn this series -- assuming there is one -- the Cardinals will have some real confidence in him. Colby Lewis also turned things around for his Rangers. No Texas starting pitcher had worked into the seventh inning this postseason until Lewis did so Thursday night. His final line: 6 2/3 innings, four hits and one earned run. It's worth noting he wasn't on the hill when his one charged run scored.

The Rangers' defense. Elvis Andrus was incredible, but an Ian Kinsler error could have really burned the Cardinals in the fourth inning. He booted a groundball off Lance Berkman's bat, meaning the Cardinals had a runner on base with Matt Holliday and David Freese to follow. That was absolutely playing with fire in a game where runs were at a major premium. Sure enough, though, the defense is what got them out of the inning -- when Andrus and Kinsler teamed up for a beautiful double play, keeping the score tied at zero.

The Rangers' offense. They were asleep for eight innings, and it appeared the lack of offense would send the Rangers home trailing 2-0 in the series. At that point, I had the Rangers' penciled in for an F. But the game wasn't over yet, and Texas did something no one has done in a while: Get to Cardinals (unofficial) closer Jason Motte. Kinsler's hit to start things off was a bit lucky, but that's how the game is played. Then, Kinsler showed some serious guts and stole second on Yadier Molina. Andrus followed with a single and consecutive sacrifice flies won the Rangers the game. They won with pitching and defense, but the offense salvaged enough in the ninth to get a C.

It's hard to blame Jason Motte for Kinsler's single, again, but Motte also allowed the big hit to Andrus and also didn't keep Kinsler on his toes prior to the paramount stolen base. "We steal bases on the pitcher," Andrus said in the locker room after the game. And he was right. Yadier Molina couldn't have possibly made a better throw, but it wasn't enough to get Kinsler. An out there likely ends any threat for the Rangers in the ninth, and sends the series to Texas with a 2-0 Cardinals lead.

Anyone who has read me regularly knows I often call Albert Pujols the best player in baseball, so keep in mind this grade is relative. It was an "F" game for Pujols' lofty standards. He went 0-for-4 and then made a pretty costly mistake in the ninth inning. He failed to cut off Jon Jay's throw home cleanly, and that allowed Andrus to advance to second base. That meant Andrus was able to get to third on Josh Hamilton's sac fly and then score on Michael Young's.

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:37 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 1:53 am

Andrus' glove helps propel Rangers to Game 2 win

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Elvis Andrus came through with a big single in the top of the ninth Thursday night and then scored the eventual winning run in the Rangers' 2-1 victory. If you only look at the offensive statistics, he was one of the heroes of the game. And that would be a correct assertion, but it wouldn't even come close to telling the whole story.

Andrus is a dazzling defender and he showed it once again in Game 2. In the fourth inning, Andrus flashed his range and glove control, cutting down a ball up the middle, scooping it to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who then proceeded to bare-hand the ball and complete an incredible double play to end the inning. Then, in the sixth, Andrus showed even more range up the middle, making a diving stab and then making the throw from the ground, getting it to Kinsler just in the nick of time to end the inning. Had he not made the play, Nick Punto likely would have scored, and any run in a 2-1 contest changes the entire complexion of the game.
World Series Game 2

"Having him at shortstop, it’s fun to watch," said center fielder Craig Gentry, who enjoyed a pretty nice view of the plays. "He had two plays tonight where I was like ‘wow.’ That was impressive. But he’s been doing that all year."

It's true, Andrus is so good defensively it's gotten to the point where his teammates don't necessarily take him for granted, but they expect him to make those plays. It's not just Andrus, either, because the entire defense is a strength. He's just the defensive leader.

"You never wanna make mistakes, but, boy, they take care of you," reliever Mike Adams said. "Sometimes you make a pitch and the ball’s gonna go through and these guys come up with some amazing plays."

"Our pitchers feed off that, they know they can let ‘em put the ball and play and our defense is behind them," Gentry added. "We take pride in that."

And it was especially evident Thursday night.

"It’s a totally different game if a few of those plays aren’t made tonight," Adams said.

A few of those plays would obviously be Andrus' two gems. So which one was better?

"I liked the second one," Andrus said with a laugh. "I’ve made that play a couple of times, but in the World Series … "

Indeed, he saved at least one run for his team on the biggest stage of them all, and in a game the Rangers won by one. It's no surprise Andrus couldn't really finish that thought in words, only with a smile. Just as it's no surprise that he continues to make life easier on his pitchers and teammates in the field.

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 1:08 am

Rangers take down Cardinals, tie World Series

Ian Kinsler
By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- The Texas Rangers used a two-run ninth inning to knot the World Series at one game apiece with a 2-1 win.

Hero: Tough to pick just one here, because the Rangers' offense was brutal until the ninth inning. So, we're going to go with Colby Lewis. He didn't get the win -- archaic stat alert -- but pitched 6 2/3 innings of pretty good baseball against a great offense, allowing just one run. And that run scored off Alexi Ogando, after Lewis had been removed. This was the first time all postseason a Rangers' starter had worked into the seventh inning, so give props to Lewis for giving his team those innings. Credit has to go to the defense, too. And that credit is going to come soon, here on this blog (spoiler alert!).

World Series Game 2
Goat: The Cardinals' offense. You can point to Jason Motte, Arthur Rhodes, Lance Lynn or even Tony La Russa's bullpen decisions in the ninth inning if you want, but the offense needs to provide more than one run to win games against this Rangers ballclub. That isn't going to cut it moving forward.

Turning point: Ian Kinsler's stolen base in the ninth. He moved into scoring position and took the double play off the board, setting the tone for the rest of the inning.

It was over when ... Rangers closer Neftali Feliz recorded the final out. This thing hung in the balance all night for both teams.

Next: We shift down to a bit warmer weather, as the series moves to Texas for three games. Friday is a travel day, and Game 3 will take place Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. CT (note I put Central time because that's where both of these teams are located). The tentative pitching matchup is Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals against Matt Harrison of the Rangers.

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 8:35 pm

Pitcher's duel through two in Game 2

World Series Game 2
By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- The high-powered offenses have been largely dormant thus far in the World Series. Game 1 was a 3-2 game and Game 2 is now through two innings and we haven't even seen a hit, much less a run. A Matt Holliday walk accounts for the only baserunner in this 0-0 game.

Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia has been dominant, striking out two while inducing three groundouts and one pop out. Rangers starter Colby Lewis is no slouch thus far, either, as he's only allowed a walk.

With all these powerful bats throughout both lineups, however, it could change in an instant. So make sure to keep up by clicking on the link below.

Follow along live on CBSportscom's GameTracker

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 7:16 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 7:29 pm

La Russa's tinkering at the forefront, as usual

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Depending upon whom you talk to, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is a either mastermind or an overmanager. Whether it's using three relievers in one inning, double-switching or going with defensive replacements, he always seems to be doing something. This postseason, nearly every button he has pushed has worked out, including when he left in Marc Rzepczynski to face two righties Wednesday night.

It just seems like some are too eager to heap tons of praise or blame on each individual move. It's the players who produce the results.

"Mostly it comes down to you make a move; if it works, hey, what a good move," La Russa said Thursday afternoon. "If it doesn't work, what was he thinking? He should have done something else. That's just the name of the game."

"If (Esteban German) would have got a hit, then it would have been a good choice (by Rangers manager Ron Washington), and I would have would have been asked, why did I (not) bring (Octavio) Dotel?"

And he's right. All the questioning of Washington after the game and the praising -- gushing, from some -- of La Russa is all based simply on the outcome, not on why the move was made at the time. It's all second-guessing.

Generally speaking, though, La Russa's use of so many different relievers in any situation has the bullpen on alert at all times, and maybe that's a good thing. They're always ready.

World Series Game 2
"When the phone rings, everybody is prepared, everybody is ready to go and everybody is ready to go out there and do their job," said Arthur Rhodes.

"When I came over here, everybody said the bullpen was struggling a little bit, but now you look at this bullpen now, everybody is going out there and doing a great job," Rhodes added.

So now you have the butting of the heads of the La Russa method and the recent convention -- which is to have a seventh-inning guy, an eighth-inning guy and a closer. Jason Motte is being used as the closer, but otherwise anyone could see action in any inning.

And at the end of the end of the day, when the pitchers pitch well, La Russa is a genius. If they don't, he's just overmanaging and his guys don't know their respective roles. Either way, he doesn't seem to mind.

"I've been told this a long time ago," La Russa said. "The compliments and the criticism, basically you just ignore them."

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 4:03 pm

Weather for Game 2 similar, but a little better

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Compared to how things looked Wednesday at this time, it's beautiful outside in St. Louis. The sun is out, the wind is mild and there's no sign of rain. The temperature is only 55, compared to 51 at this time yesterday, but the lack of wind and rain teamed with the presence of the sun makes all the difference in the world.

The outlook for Thursday evening's Game 2 is similar to Game 1 in terms of temperature. Weather.com's hourly outlook shows gametime temperatures beginning at 49 degrees and dipping down to the mid-40s. What makes things appear better is the low chances at rain.

According to the Weather.com forecast, there's only a 10 percent chance of rain throughout the game and there doesn't appear to be much on the radar. So this thing should be played without any delays. Of course, we've heard that before ...

Still, things are looking up. Game 2 is coming soon.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com