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Friday morning Rangers stuff

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And back to Arlington we go, with the Rangers up 3-2 in the ALCS.

Jeff Wilson's game story talks about Ian Kinsler's first pitch double play, which, based on the way Ranger fans were reacting, should have resulted in him being immediately pulled from the game, released, and the ground near second base where he normally stands salted.

Here's what Kinsler said about swinging at the first pitch:

 

"I was looking for a fastball. I'm looking for a good pitch. It looked like a good pitch, and I swung at it," Kinsler said. "You've got to be ready to hit from the first pitch and not just go up there and take a pitch. I'm going to go up there aggressive and ready to hit."

 

A couple of things here.

First of all, Ian Kinsler doesn't swing at many pitches in the first place.  Kinsler swung at 38.3% of the pitches he saw this season.  Only Bobby Abreu, Brett Gardner, Jamey Carroll, Carlos Santana, and Kevin Youkilis swung less frequently in 2010.  Kinsler's track record isn't that he goes up there hacking, and doesn't swing unless he feels it is his pitch.

Secondly, under the circumstances, I've got a hard time condemning Kinsler for not refusing to swing at the first pitch, regardless of what it was, or with Ron Washington not simply putting the take sign on.  It appeared to be a strike.  If Kinsler is taking, no matter what, he's now in a hole, 0-1.  If you get a good pitch to hit in the first pitch of the at bat, are you really better off taking it and getting in a hole, against a pitcher like Justin Verlander?  Is it really that realistic to think that Verlander is going to suddenly go on tilt and walk in the go-ahead run?  

Verlander, for what it is worth, has walked in a run once in his major league career.  In 91 career plate appearances with the bases loaded, he's allowed one walk.

The response to this is, well, yeah, but Verlander just walked Mitch Moreland on four pitches, and seemed like he might be losing it.  Maybe.  Or maybe he was pitching around Moreland.  Either way, I don't think it is unreasonable to say, Verlander is going to come in with a fastball to get ahead in the count, and if he does, and it is in my zone, I'm going to jump on it, because that will probably be the best pitch I see all at bat.

If Kinsler jumps on the first pitch and lines it down the left field line for a double, we're praising him for how smart he is for knowing that Verlander would have to challenge him and being ready to jump on the first pitch rather than let himself get into an 0-1 hole.  Instead, he's being ripped because "everyone knows you HAVE to take the first pitch in that situation."

T.R. Sullivan's game story says in the headline that the Rangers unraveled when they had a chance to clinch.

Evan Grant says that, because of the sixth inning yesterday, we have a "whole new series" in the ALCS.

Wilson writes that, with the Rangers, accountability starts with their manager.

Randy Galloway is excited because the Rangers lost, and it means he gets to do his doom-and-gloom bit, complete with this comment on C.J. Wilson:

 

What team would be stupid enough to pay anything close to $100 million, or even $50 million, or even fifty cents, after C.J.'s performances in this playoff run, including Thursday.

 

Galloway seems convinced that the series is over and the Rangers are done, because Derek Holland pitches Saturday and he's terrible, and the Rangers won't be able to touch Doug Fister in Game 7.  

Gil Lebreton's column talks about the Rangers returning to Texas, and has this quote from David Murphy, who was responding to a question about whether the pressure was now on the Rangers:

 

"Pressure?" Rangers left fielder David Murphy said, repeating a reporter's inevitable question after the Tigers' 7-5 victory in Game 5.

"We're up, three games to two, and we're going home. If there's pressure on anybody, I don't see how it could be on us."

Nelson Cruz set an ALCS record by hitting his fifth home run in the series yesterday.

 

The S-T's notes talk about Ron Washington walking Miguel Cabrera in game 4, Jon Daniels talking about C.J. Wilson's price tag (shocking news here -- Wilson may want to be paid more than the Rangers would like to pay him), and Mitch Moreland's slump.