Okay. I watched the first 5 1/2 innings of this game on the little screen in the seatback in front of me on a plane.* Then an inning or so following on my Blackberry while traversing the airport, getting the luggage, and getting picked up by my wife and kids. Then I listened on the radio until I got home, when I watched the final three outs. So I may have missed some things.
* I didn't know until this trip that Continental has screens in most of their planes now, and you can get DirectTV for just $6, or $4 if you have a Continental Airlines credit card. That was the best $4 I ever spent. Mythbusters until the game started, then the Rangers.
However...a few thoughts...
First of all, I was worried about Colby Lewis early on. He seemed to be getting his pitches up, and I was worried, especially in the first, that we could see a homer with runs on and see the team get in a big hole early. That would completely take the crowd out of the game, and already down 2-0 in the series, be a pretty huge gut punch.
But Colbyashi had this. He fought threw it, settled down, relied on his breaking ball, and got the job done against the Giants. He allowed two homers, but they were both solo shots, and really, for most of the middle innings, he was in control.
It wouldn't be the Ranger postseason if we didn't have an 8th inning controversy. I sent out a snarky tweet at the start of the 8th, saying that clearly Neftali Feliz needed to come into the game, since it was the 8th inning and close. This was, of course, absurd, since Lewis's pitch count was under control and he was cruising. He promptly when home run/hard fly ball/0-2 HBP, and got yanked.
And even though Neftali was warming, Darren O'Day came into the game.
I'm not going to re-hash all this. I wanted Neftali to come in. But Darren O'Day is a good reliever, too. And he got the job done.
On the offensive side, a lot of missed opportunities, but they were mostly rendered moot by Mitch Moreland. I was for the longest time a Mitch Moreland doubter. I still don't think he's necessarily the long-term solution at first base. But he's a guy who battles up there, who gives you good at bats, who has some pop, who won't kill you in the field. I said before I thought he projected another Mike Lamb, and that is probably his floor, but watching the game today, it occurred to me that Moreland's ceiling may be that of a guy wearing a San Fran uniform...Fort Worth Brewer's own Aubrey Huff.
Also on the offensive side...Ron Washington needs to give Vladimir Guerrero a red light for the rest of the series.
Finally, a rant about Tim McCarver. Tonight was the perfect example of why I think the "hard core" fans don't like McCarver.*
* Joe Buck sucks, too, but he's less offensive than McCarver. Joe Buck said last year he isn't interested in baseball, and it shows, but at the same time, that lack of interest isn't as big of a deal for a play-by-play guy. He's just telling you what is happening, with an occasion diversion into shrill schoolmarming over a Randy Moss fake-moon or a ridiculous interview with "Leon."
During a Cruz at bat, McCarver started talking about Cruz's stance, how unusual it is and how uncomfortable it looks.
Now, for a color guy doing a nationally broadcast game, this is actually a pretty good stepping off point for a brief little feel-good story about a really good player that isn't that well known nationally. McCarver could talk about how Cruz was a guy with a ton of ability, lots of power, who could mash in the minors but failed time and again in the majors, got traded several times, passed through waivers unclaimed. And then, in 2008, after Cruz had passed through waivers unclaimed and was going back to AAA to resume what seemed likely to be a career as a AAAA player, Scott Servais approached him about opening up his stance to allow him to pick up the ball better. Cruz was open-minded about it, tried it, worked hard, was able to eliminate the hole in his swing as a result of the new stances, and managed to resurrect his career and turn himself into an All Star as a result.
That is where I assumed McCarver was going with this. But what did McCarver say about why Cruz has such an unorthodox stance?
"Its just his style. Its a matter of personal preference."
And you know, not only do most avid Rangers fans know the Nelson Cruz story, but I would wager that quite a few non-Rangers fans know about it, know about how he adopted that stance and turned his career around. McCarver had an easy softball opportunity to spread some warm fuzzies, and he whiffed.
Did he think that the fans don't care? I doubt it. My guess is that, quite simply, he doesn't know why Nelson Cruz has an open stance. He doesn't do Rangers games. He's not familiar with the Rangers. We talked before about how Joe Buck, prior to the World Series, hadn't done a Ranger game since doing an exhibition a decade-plus ago while he was the play-by-play voice for the Cardinals. I don't know if McCarver has ever done a Ranger game, but if he did, it probably was at least a decade ago.
Is it too much to ask that, rather than just recite platitudes about playing the game the right way and offering an anecdote or two from the press notes that are provided, that the people who are doing the games actually learn enough about the teams and the players to talk about them intelligently?