Tag:Texas Rangers
Posted on: October 31, 2010 11:33 pm

Giants move to one win from Series title

ARLINGTON, Texas -- From the most unexpected of places, the San Francisco Giants struck to seize firm command of this World Series.

Rookie starter Madison Bumgarner?

Heck no. That kid, just 21, has been pitching like a veteran since making his big-league debut in late June.

No. Where the lightening came from in the Giants' 4-0 antler-busting Game 4 World Series win was ... drum roll, please ... from Fort Worth-native Aubrey Huff, who was ensconced in the lineup as manager Bruce Bochy's designated hitter.

Imagine, a National League club marching into an AL yard and flexing its DH muscle. Huff cranked a two-run homer in the third inning, smashing a cutter from Rangers starter Tommy Hunter deep into the Texas night to deliver the Giants a 2-0 lead.

The blast immediately interrupted the Rangers' hard-earned momentum from Game 3 a night earlier. It gave the Giants an early lead that allowed Bumgarner to pitch relaxed with some wiggle room. And it returned the swagger to a club that momentarily was knocked off course, however briefly, on Saturday night.

The game stayed 2-0 until the Giants scratched another run across in the seventh, then it went to 4-0 when Buster Posey, the other half of the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since Yankees right-hander Spec Shea and catcher Yogi Berra in Game 1 in 1947, blasted a Darren O'Day breaking ball over the center-field fence.

But Huff's homer was all the Giants would need. Talk about the Giants Huff-ing and puffing and staring people down in the wake of their ongoing DH struggles. In interleague play this year -- six games in AL parks -- San Francisco DH's combined to go 2-for-22 with just one homer and two RBI.

In Game 3 here, a flat 4-2 loss for the Giants, their DH, Pablo Sandoval, went 0-for-3. Buried within that was a grounded-into-double-play and a strikeout.

Huff's swing kick-started the Giants back to life, and put them in the best position yet to win their first World Series since moving to San Francisco in 1958.

How good is their position? Teams that have taken a 3-1 lead are 37-5 in World Series play.


Posted on: October 29, 2010 8:42 pm

Trick-or-treating with Jeff Francoeur

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- There was a time when the boys of autumn who will be playing a World Series game on Halloween night this weekend dressed up and trick-or-treated like most every other kid.

And Texas outfielder Jeff Francoeur still lights up at the thought of his old neighbors across the street supplying a cotton candy machine for kids on Halloween night.

In fact, that's such a sweet memory for Francoeur that when he was playing in Atlanta and living with Braves catcher Brian McCann, the two rented a cotton candy maching for Halloween, 2006.

"I swear we had 700 kids lined up," Francoeur says. "Their parents wanted a margarita machine."

Amiable hosts that they were, Francoeur and McCann drew the line there, and not just because they were short on salt.

"I don't really think that would be good on Halloween," Francoeur says, smiling broadly.

Likes: The Margaritaville frozen drinks machine that my buddy Dr. Dan sent to me a couple of springs ago after he picked one up for his office party one year when the Indianapolis Colts were headed to the Super Bowl. ... The House of Prime Rib in San Francisco. Had the King Henry VIII cut the other night with three different kinds of horseradish. Excellent, excellent meal. ... Snickers and M&Ms on Halloween. Hot Tamales and Milk Duds are good. No Butterfinger bars or Milky Ways, please.

Dislikes: The World Series on Halloween. Besides the fact that baseball should not be played into November for myriad reasons, it takes me away from my daughter and her friends as they trick-or-treat and from my wife on her birthday (yes, Halloween day). Time was, if you covered baseball, Halloween was extra festive because it marked the beginning of some time at home in the off-season. No more, and it stinks.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The zombies were having fun
"The party had just begun
"The guests included Wolf Man
"Dracula and his son
"The scene was rockin', all were digging the sounds
"Igor on chains, backed by his baying hounds
"The coffin-bangers were about to arrive
"With their vocal group, "The Crypt-Kicker Five"

-- Bobby "Boris" Pickett, The Monster Mash

Posted on: October 29, 2010 5:54 pm

Lee on short rest? Feliz sighting? Texas regroups

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Are the Rangers in deep enough trouble that they would dare consider asking ace Cliff Lee to do something he's never done, come back on short rest for Game 4?

It might all hinge on Game 3, a game manager Ron Washington called "must-win" as the Rangers worked out Friday afternoon preparing for it.

"You certainly don't want to go down 3-0," Washington said.

Colby Lewis will start Game 3 for the Rangers on Saturday, with young right-hander Tommy Hunter the scheduled Game 4 starter. Lee, as things stand now, is to start Game 5.

Asked Friday whether he's thought of using Lee on three days' rest, Washington responded, "The only thing I'm thinking about is Colby tomorrow. I can't answer that."

That open-ended answer will send hordes of people into a raging debate, of course.

But don't expect Lee to go in Game 4.

If he does, it will rank as the biggest shocker of this series.

The Rangers had a chance to use Lee on short rest in the Division Series against Tampa Bay in Game 4. But leading the series two games to one at that point, Washington opted against the idea. The Rangers lost, then went back to Florida to beat Tampa Bay in Game 5.

Last October, the Phillies didn't ask Lee to go on short rest in the World Series, either. Lee has never pitched on short rest.

The key here is this: Whether or not the Rangers would consider moving Lee up to start Game 4, they still need to win Game 5.

Meantime, Washington answered another pitching question that completely has taken on a life of its own in the aftermath of Texas' horrendous bullpen Game 2 meltdown:

Why did closer Neftali Feliz remain sitting on the bench as the meltdown progressed in the eighth inning? Especially with a fresh arm, as he has yet to pitch in the World Series?

Washington reiterated a day later that he did not even consider the option.

"No, I didn't, because if I would have went to Feliz right there, he would have had to do something he's never done before," Washington said. "And I wasn't going to challenge him like that.

"Nope, we had other guys down there that I have a lot of confidence in getting us out of that inning. It just didn’t happen."

Posted on: October 29, 2010 2:25 am

Put him in coach, Fontenot ready to play

SAN FRANCISCO -- Poor Mike Fontenot.

There he was, ready to play in the first World Series game of his life.

There he was, in the on-deck circle to bat for relief pitcher Javier Lopez in the eighth inning as the Giants were en route to a 9-0 crushing of Texas in Game 2 on Thursday night.

There he was, being introduced by the public address announcer as the next batter with San Francisco comfortably ahead 6-0.

There he was ... U-turning back to the dugout when manager Bruce Bochy elected to hit Aaron Rowand when Texas summoned lefty reliever Mike Kirkman.

"Fontenot, he's entered a game in the World Series," said Giants veteran Mark DeRosa, who has been sidelined for most of the season with a wrist injury. "He told me that when he got back to the bench.

"He said, 'I played.'"

Indeed, because he was announced as a pinch-hitter, you will find Fontenot's name in the Game 2 box score. No plate appearance, but, hey. He played. Sort of.

Maybe next time.

Likes: The Willie Mays statue in front of AT&T Park rightfully gets all the recognition, but the Juan Marichal statue a little further down Third St. next to McCovey Cove is very cool, too. The statue captures the incredibly high leg kick of Marichal, who had the grace of a ballerina. You'd swear it would topple over with a good gust of wind. ... Went for a long run along the Embarcadero here down toward the ballpark, and you forget how many delivery trucks it takes to make sure a ballpark is well-stocked for a postseason game until you see them all parading through around 10 a.m. or so. ... Jokes about manager Bruce Bochy's cap size never get old. Especially because he's making all the right moves right now. ... The energy in this city is incredible. Orange and black Giants garb being worn everywhere. ... Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High ready to debut in the state football playoffs on Friday night against those big, bad Dundee Vikings. My Falcons advanced to the Division 6 state title game last year, and Coach (and friend and classmate) Jack Giarmo has 'em ready to rock again. Go get 'em, Falcons.

Dislikes: Early morning flights, like the one I'm on very shortly here as I type these words!

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Goodbye to all my friends at home
"Goodbye to people I've trusted
"I've got to go out and make my way
"I might get rich you know I might get busted
"But my heart keeps calling me backwards
"As I get on the 707
"Ridin' high I got tears in my eyes
"You know you got to go through hell
"Before you get to heaven"

-- Steve Miller Band, Jet Airliner


Posted on: October 28, 2010 11:14 pm

Giants demolish Rangers in Game 2

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rangers, one night after watching Cliff Lee get hammered, could not even raise (Matt) Cain and now head back to Texas in a deep hole.

Their first World Series threatening to get away from them, the Rangers were dropped 9-0 by the Giants thanks to a wicked combination of Matt Cain's continuing postseason brilliance, one jaw-droppingly bad break, a couple of missed opportunities and another searing bullpen meltdown.

Bottom line is, the Rangers are in trouble unless they figure out this masterful Giants pitching. You can rip the Texas bullpen if you wish -- and you should -- but San Francisco pitching is shredding this Texas lineup like wet toilet paper.

Anybody who's not yet ready to give San Francisco's pitchers full credit, maybe you'd better go back to whatever it was you were doing before this postseason caught your attention.

We've heard a whole lot about Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia, but behind Cain, Tim Lincecum and the rest, the Giants take a back seat to nobody.

Cain entered the game as the first pitcher to not allow an earned run in either of his first two postseason starts since Atlanta's Steve Avery in 1991. He departed after 7 2/3 innings having not allowed a run in his first THREE postseason starts.

The Rangers went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position against Cain, who now is up to 21 1/3 scoreless postseason innings. Think October agrees with this young man? Opponents now are 0 for 17 against him this postseason with runners in scoring position. He's produced more bagels than Einstein's the past three weeks.

And the one time the Rangers thought they had him, well, that's where the jaws dropped. Ian Kinsler slugged a deep fly to center to start the fifth that appeared to be gone. But in an impromptu test of gravity, physics and geometry, the ball bounced off the top of the wall, and somehow angled itself off the padding to bounce backward toward center fielder Andres Torres.

Instead of a homer and a 1-0 Texas lead, Kinsler got a double. Then he got left at second when David Murphy, Matt Treanor and C.J. Wilson were mowed down behind him (Mitch Moreland was intentionally walked before Wilson grounded out).

The Giants broke the scoreless tie with Edgar Renteria's solo homer in the fifth, tacked on a run in the seventh after Wilson left with a blister and then turned it into a laugher with seven runs in the eighth against four 'B'-league level Rangers relievers with manager Ron Washington inexplicably slow to the switch.

Now, it's tough to tell which needs a change of venue more, the Texas Rangers or this World Series.

We'll get one for Game 3, back in Texas on Saturday. But unless the Rangers figure a few things out, this Fall Classic is destined for all the drama of a Saturday afternoon oil change.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 7:19 pm

Daniels: I did not ask Mets to wait

SAN FRANCISCO -- Texas general manager Jon Daniels is a Queens native and a hot commodity these days, but says he did not ask the Mets to delay plans to hire a GM until after the World Series so that he would be free to take the job.

"Complete bull," Daniels, 33, told CBSSports.com before Game 1 of the World Series here Wednesday regarding one published report that he was in contact with the Mets and asked them to wait on him. "That really pissed me off."

Daniels, the architect of the Rangers' first-ever World Series team, called the report "completely inaccurate."

"All I'm thinking about is the Rangers and the World Series. I'm in a great spot," he said.

The Mets appear set to hire Sandy Alderson as their GM, likely on Friday.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:18 pm

Giants contemplate roster, lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will wait until Wednesday morning to finalize their World Series roster, but it is expected that Barry Zito, who has been left off of the roster in each of the first two postseason rounds, will remain on the sidelines.

As for a lineup, outfielder and leadoff man Andres Torres has been instrumental in making the Giants go this summer. But with lefty Cliff Lee starting Game 1 and with Torres having strained a muscle near his left hip in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, indications are that the Giants may go with an outfield of Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand and Cody Ross in Game 1.

"The lineup, you'll probably see it get tweaked a little bit with the left-handers, as we did when Cole Hamels was throwing against us," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Again, you're going with match-ups, how lefties handle certain lefties.

"I know they have a couple going against us the first two games. You could see it teaked a little bit. As far as Torres, I'll know more [Wednesday]."

Torres has never faced Lee or Game 2 starter C.J. Wilson. Rowand, career, is hitting .280 (7-for-25) with one home run against Lee. Overall, the Giants only have a few players with a very small number of at-bats against Wilson -- Juan Uribe leads the team with four at-bats against him.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 10:56 pm

The Flying Molinas and the World Series

SAN FRANCISCO -- The road to the World Series goes through the Molina brothers.

Texas catcher Bengie.

St. Louis catcher Yadier.

And Toronto catcher Jose.

One of the three has played on a World Series team in five of the past nine seasons: Bengie (Texas this year, the Angels in 2002), Jose (Yankees, 2009), and Yadier (Cardinals, 2004 and 2006).

"It's because there's so many of them," Rangers reliever Darren Oliver jokes. "They're all over the place."

It's sort of true.

Bengie, the current World Series Molina, said Tuesday that it is not a subject he and his brothers discuss.

"Not yet," Bengie says. "Once we're done with baseball, we're going to sit down with some pina coladas somewhere special and talk about what we've accomplished. But that's not now."

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