Posted on: October 24, 2011 5:09 pm

Schumaker replaces Jay in Cardinals lineup

ARLINGTON, Texas -- With Jon Jay hitless in 14 World Series at-bats, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has switched center fielders for Game 5 of the World Series.

Skip Schumaker is playing center field and batting eighth.

Schumaker went 6-for-10 in the Division Series against the Phillies, but strained his right oblique in Game 5 and was left off the roster for the National League Championship Series. Schumaker started just five games in center field this season (plus one in the Division Series), but he has started there 115 times in his major-league career.
Posted on: October 24, 2011 1:12 pm

Rain (of course) in the forecast for Game 6

ARLINGTON, Texas -- This is going to shock you.

There's rain in the forecast for Game 6 of the World Series.

Of course there is. How could there not be?

It's been rainy all season, in so many places. It's been rainy all month. It rained in St. Louis before Game 1 last week.

Sure enough, weather.com says there's a 70 percent chance of rain on Wednesday, when Game 6 is scheduled for Busch Stadium. It figures, just as it figures that it has been beautiful in St. Louis all weekend, while the World Series has been in Texas.

The good news: If there is a Game 7, it will be Thursday. And as of now, the forecast says there's only a 10 percent chance of rain on Thursday.
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 24, 2011 1:57 am

Even WS couldn't keep Adams away from Cowboys

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Mike Adams was determined.

The Rangers reliever was going to make it to the Cowboys game Sunday, even if he was going to have to leave before the first quarter ended.

"The Cowboys are one of my biggest passions," Adams said, pointing to the Miles Austin Cowboys jersey hanging from his locker and the Cowboys helmet sitting on top of it.

Sunday, it wasn't going to be easy, even though Cowboys Stadium is just down the block from Rangers Ballpark.

The Cowboys kicked off at 3:15 local time. Rangers batting practice for Game 4 of the World Series began exactly one hour later.

"I have responsibilities over here," Adams said.

And he had no idea that Sunday would be the easiest night of the postseason for the Rangers bullpen.

Starter Derek Holland pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings. Adams warmed up in the eighth, but never got in the game. Closer Neftali Feliz finished up by getting the final two outs.

"That helped the bullpen tremendously," Adams said. "It took a lot of heat off us, I guess."

It was a good night for the Rangers, who beat the Cardinals 4-0 to even up the World Series. And a good day for the Cowboys, who beat the Rams 34-7 to even their record at 3-3.

Adams comes by his Cowboys passion naturally. He grew up in Sinton, Tex., near Corpus Christi. He wears his Cowboys jersey proudly, and he says he wore it to Petco Park on July 31, the day the Padres ended up trading him to the Rangers.

And he said he has already lined up tickets to three more Cowboys games once the World Series is over.

He won't be leaving those games early. Turns out, he didn't really need to leave early Sunday, either.

Posted on: October 23, 2011 2:53 am

Nowitzki's fastball was a Rangers highlight

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's a cheap joke, and totally unfair, to say that Dirk Nowitzki was the Rangers' best pitcher of the night.

Sorry. I'm saying it, anyway.

Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks star, became something of a story earlier in the week when baseball first said he wouldn't be chosen to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. The Rangers insisted, Bud Selig got involved, and Nowitzki was handed the honor for Game 3.

Now we know why.

Not because he was good luck for the Rangers (quite obviously, he wasn't). Not because he could have retired Albert Pujols (on Saturday's evidence, no one could have).

No, simply because he looked good -- and entertaining -- while throwing the first pitch to Michael Young.

"Dirk had great rhythm with his pitch," Rangers starter C.J. Wilson said. "He was throwing downhill. He was kind of Ogando-ish."

Wilson meant Ogando-ish, as in the way Alexi Ogando has thrown all season and for most of the playoffs. Not Ogando-ish, as in giving up four runs and a Pujols home run that caromed off the facing of the second deck.

Anyway, the point is that Nowitzki made the most of the chance. He even did "the claw," which the Rangers players use to signify a big play.

He also took some advice from the Rangers players.

Or tried to, anyway.

"My last [first pitch] in July was a little high," Nowitzki said. "This time they told me to throw a four-seam fastball. I still don't understand what that means. But I think that's the grip I had. Or was it a two-seam fastball? No, I forgot."

Either way, Wilson was impressed.

"His hand's so big, it's like me throwing a golf ball," Wilson said.

However he did it, he did it well.

And yes, he did it better than any of the Rangers pitchers who followed.

Posted on: October 23, 2011 12:11 am

Pujols' 3 HRs make statement in Cardinals rout

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Let's get a couple of things clear about Albert Pujols.

Whether or not he likes microphones, he does like big stages. Whether or not he likes to talk, his bat makes plenty of noise.

And whether or not you believe he's a leader, you'd better believe that he's capable of leading the Cardinals (and maybe some other team, too) to a championship.

Two days after his clubhouse disappearing act after Game 2, Pujols went back to making baseballs disappear in Game 3. He reminded us what he does so well, and it's not talking.

He homered once. He homered twice. And then, just in case you didn't get the point, he homered again.

He had arguably the best offensive night in World Series history, with a World Series-record 14 total bases.

Three home runs, making Pujols just the third player ever with three homers in a World Series game (joining Babe Ruth, who did it twice, and Reggie Jackson, who did it once). Three home runs, giving Pujols' Cardinals a 16-7 win and a two games to one lead over the Rangers in this World Series.

Yes, three home runs. Any questions?

Pujols hit his first two home runs in back-to-back innings, and he became the first player in World Series history with hits in four straight innings. His sixth-inning home run turned an 8-6 Cardinals lead into 11-6, and his homer in the seventh made it 14-6.

His ninth-inning home run made it 16-7, and made it perfectly clear that this game was all about him.

As if it wasn't, already.

Pujols' first home run went off the facing of the club level high above left field. His second home run went deep into the seats in center field.

Both were estimated at greater than 400 feet, and the first would have gone much, much farther if the upper deck didn’t get in the way.

The second home run also made this the highest-scoring game in Cardinals postseason history.

And that's quite a history. This is the Cardinals' 24th trip to the postseason, and this was their 200th postseason game.

They'd never scored like this. Of course, they'd never played a postseason game in Rangers Ballpark before.

Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:15 pm

Hamilton is hurt (sports hernia?), but playing

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton has played in every game of this postseason. Josh Hamilton is playing center field in Saturday night's Game 3 of the World Series.

Josh Hamilton is hurt.

And yes, it's possible that Josh Hamilton is playing with a sports hernia.

The Rangers say it's impossible to know for sure if he is, for one simple reason: Hamilton hasn't been tested for a hernia yet, and likely won't be until after the World Series.

"We've got a player who says he's able to play," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "The doctors say they're OK with him playing."

So why is Hamilton, who at the very least has a severe groin strain, playing in center field? Now that the World Series has moved to the American League city, did manager Ron Washington consider using Hamilton as the designated hitter?

"No, not at all," Washington said. "Hamilton is ready to play. As I keep saying, he's dealing with some nagging injuries, but they're not injuries he can't play [with]. He's out in center field."

Hamilton was 0-for-7 in the first two games of the World Series, but he delivered the game-tying sacrifice fly in the ninth inning of Game 2.

Daniels said Hamilton will undergo tests within a week after the World Series. Even if he is found to have a sports hernia, he should be fine for spring training.

Posted on: October 21, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 7:16 pm

Fair or not, Albert just doesn't get it

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Albert Pujols says it's not fair.

I'm saying he still doesn't get it.

Not the way Michael Young does. Not the way Derek Jeter does.

Not the way Hideki Matsui does.

"I'm not trying to help the media," Matsui tells the huge contingent of Japanese reporters who he talks to before and after every game. "I'm helping the fans."

He's helping you understand what happened in the game you just watched, just as Pujols did Friday, when he finally gave the answers he should have given Thursday night.

Yes, he said, he should have caught center fielder Jon Jay's throw in the ninth inning of Game 2. Yes, he said, it was right that he was charged with an error on the play.

"It hit my glove," he said. "As soon as I saw [Ian] Kinsler take a big turn at third base, I thought I had a chance at him. I took my eyes off the ball, and I missed it. It was a good throw. I maybe make that catch 99 times out of 100."

And that's the best -- and most accurate part -- of what Pujols said Friday.

The worst part was when he claimed that he had no idea any reporters had wanted to talk to him. The worst part was when he said his only responsibilities were "with God and my family" . . . and not, apparently, with his team.

"C'mon guys, I don't think it's fair," he complained. "To rip someone's reputation for something like that, it's not fair."

To twist the truth, as Pujols did Friday, that's what is not fair.

Pujols claimed he was in lunch room after Game 2, claimed that the only reason he didn't talk to reporters was that no one told him that anyone wanted to talk to him.

I wasn't in the Cardinals clubhouse Thursday night. I didn't need to or care to talk to Albert Pujols. But I've been in the Cardinals clubhouse many times this postseason. When Pujols wants to talk, as he has on most nights, he is waiting at his locker when reporters are allowed in the clubhouse, or shortly thereafter.

He knows the deal. He knew that the ninth-inning throw that he didn't catch was a huge play in the game, which the Cardinals lost 2-1 to the Rangers.

He chose not to be there.

You can say that's his choice, and that you don't care. That's basically the Cardinals' position.

"I don't feel he did anything in the wrong," general manager John Mozeliak said.

Technically, maybe he didn't. I think he did, but if you want to say he didn't, fine.

But the reality is that there's a separate responsibility for a team's most prominent player. Young, the face of the Rangers team, understands that and is at his locker after every game.

Jeter does the same with the Yankees. Lance Berkman did the same when he played for the Astros. Heck, when I filled in covering the Detroit Pistons years ago, first Joe Dumars and then Grant Hill did it.

"For one thing, I think you guys would follow me home," Young joked Friday, when I asked him about it. "But it's just a matter of trying to be respectful."

It's being respectful to reporters, and it's being respectful to fans. It's also about being respectful to teammates.

Every question that Young or Jeter or Pujols answers is one that doesn't get thrown at his teammates. Not every player believes this is a big issue, but some of them sure do.

It's enough of an issue that when Rafael Soriano ducked out of the Yankees clubhouse after a bad game in April, Yankees president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman were on the phone next day with Scott Boras, Soriano's agent.

"He's new to this market, so, like everything else, you live and you learn," Cashman told the New York Times.

Pujols isn't in that market, and maybe it's best if he never thinks about going there. Maybe it's best that he stays in St. Louis, which is a fine but also very forgiving baseball town.

Maybe it's best that he stays with the Cardinals, a team that has never been willing to confront him about anything.

Mozeliak said he did speak with one Cardinals player Friday. He talked to Berkman, clarifying a point about whether Pujols could have been requested to go to the interview room. Berkman had gotten it wrong when he phoned a national radio show Friday morning to try to defend Pujols.

But Berkman is one who almost always gets it right. He's one who gets it.

He was the most prominent player when he was an Astro, and he accepted the responsibilities that come with it.

"That's part of being that guy," Berkman said Friday. "Different players embrace that to different levels."

Some get it, some don't.

Thursday, when he didn't talk, Albert Pujols showed he doesn't get it.

Friday, when he did talk, Pujols showed it again.

Posted on: October 20, 2011 7:27 pm

Rangers GM Daniels defends Washington

ST. LOUIS -- Tony La Russa is a great manager. He's had a great postseason.

But is he the reason the Cardinals won Game 1 of the World Series? Or is Ron Washington the reason the Rangers lost it?

I don't think so. Neither does Jon Daniels.

The Rangers general manager couldn't wait for the question before Thursday's Game 2. He couldn't wait for a chance to defend his under-fire manager.

"For me, that game was not about managerial decisions," Daniels said. "They executed in a couple of situations with the game on the line, and we didn't.

"I read where it was manager vs. manager, and that's crazy. The game is about the players. Did Wash beat Jim Leyland [in the American League Championship Series]?"

For all the La Russa love, the moves the Cardinals manager made in Game 1 were fairly straightforward. He got six innings out of starter Chris Carpenter, he used his best pinch hitter (Allen Craig) to hit for Carpenter with the go-ahead run on base with two out in the bottom of the sixth, and he went right-left-right-left-closer out of the bullpen.

Nothing against him, and it worked in large part because he has set up his bullpen well through the postseason, but it wasn't exactly revolutionary thinking.

Washington's use of his bullpen was fine. The game-winning hit scored on Craig's single off Alexi Ogando, but Ogando was the perfect reliever to have in the game at that point.

I believe Washington erred in using Esteban German to pinch-hit with two out in the seventh, and that's the move he has been most criticized for. He should have used Yorvit Torrealba.

More than that, if he thought German was the best guy in a game-on-the-line situation in Game 1 of the World Series, he should have given German at least one at-bat sometime after Sept. 25.

But if Nelson Cruz catches Craig's slicing fly ball in the sixth inning (and he did come close), we're not having this conversation now.

If Albert Pujols doesn't make a nice play on Michael Young's ground ball to strand the go-ahead run on third base in the top of the sixth, maybe we're not having this conversation.

They didn't, and we are.

"I don't think I can win a chess game against Tony," Washington said Thursday afternoon. "But you know, the best I can do is try to put my players in a position to be successful and hope that they execute. I think the chess matches take care of themselves."

And when they don't, Washington's general manager will be there to defend him.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com