Major League Baseball
 
Is tonight the night for the Rangers?

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor


Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Fans in Arlington have waited 51 years for their Texas Rangers to win a world title, what is one more night?

It rained a little in St. Louis on Wednesday. Probably not enough to warrant a postponement, but Major League Baseball made the right decision by making an early call. Better safe than sorry. They've been burned a few times here this postseason, no need to even risk it when the forecast in St. Louis is pretty good for both Thursday and potentially Friday.

"I think everybody pretty much was in agreement with the fact that because of all the forecasting ... we just didn't want to take a chance," MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, Joe Torre said. "We anticipate it's going to rain. If it doesn't rain, you made the decision on what you knew.

"If the forecast wasn't as good for [Thursday] and Friday, chances are, we'd probably wait a little longer [to come to a decision]."

Colby Lewisi
Colby Lewis has emerged as one of the best postseason pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons.
So, that takes us to tonight.

The Rangers enter the tilt with all the momentum following a wild win on Monday. Plus they have their modern-day Bob Gibson on the hill in Colby Lewis, who can further cement his postseason legacy by delivering the Rangers their first-ever World Series title.

"Well, you definitely think when you're a kid, you want to be in this position, be on this stage," Lewis said. "I think just being in the situation that we were last year throughout the playoffs gives you more of an edge, more relaxation. That's for sure."

Lewis has emerged as one of the best postseason pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons, going 4-1 with a 2.22 earned run average and a 1.07 WHIP (walks and hits per inning) in seven starts.

"He totally believes in what he's trying to do out there," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He never gets away from what he does best. That's mainly the key right there. ... Colby never doubts what he's capable of doing, and I think that's what [sets] him apart from some guys at this stage."

Lewis, who is 1-1 in three starts this postseason with a 2.95 ERA, did not get a decision in his Game 2 start, despite a terrific effort that saw him allow just a run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Has there ever been a more mediocre regular season pitcher who has done this well on the big stage?

St. Louis, meanwhile, will counter with an equally impressive Jaime Garcia, who, despite posting an 0-2 mark this postseason, was brilliant against the Rangers in Game 2, scattering three hits in seven scoreless innings of a no- decision.

"You don't want to think that because that happened once, that's going to happen again," Garcia said. "Every time I go out there, I'm thinking that I want to do good. What I've done in the past against them, you learn from that, but you move forward."

Of course, tonight could be the last game in a Cardinals uniform for Albert Pujols, who aside from his epic performance in Game 3, has been virtually invisible at the plate going 0-for-12. Not to mention, his botched hit-and-run in the seventh inning of Monday's Game 5 loss.

I expect Pujols to stay in St. Louis. It's kind of hard picturing him in any other uniform, but that will be a topic for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.

Either way, should there be a Game 7 both teams will be in pretty good shape thanks to the rainout.

St. Louis will now undoubtedly throw Chris Carpenter on three days' rest. He didn't do well on short rest in Game 2 of the NLDS, but he's the best pitcher on either roster. Heck even if he pitches tonight I'd still rather have him go in Game 7 than Kyle Lohse.

Now Texas is interesting. Washington said it again on Wednesday that he still intends to go with Matt Harrison rather than Derek Holland should there be a seventh game. Now Holland isn't exactly Roy Halladay, but he did tie for the American League lead in shutouts this season and is coming off a marvelous effort in Game 4 that saw him allow two hits in 8 1/3 scoreless innings.

With Holland there is the potential for brilliance. Can you say the same about Harrison, who got drilled for five runs in 3 2/3 innings last Saturday?

What do I think? I think the Rangers get it done tonight and Washington never has to make a decision.

And for all those people who complain that it's the same teams in the baseball playoffs year in and year out, consider this; should the Rangers win this series, they would become the ninth different team in the last 11 years to win a World Series title.

How's that for parity?.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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