The Rangers, after polishing off the A’s in Arlington, are returning to a place that all Rangers fans probably still hate and still don’t want to talk about. The place where the 2011 World Series got away. I know that game 7 of that World Series happened, but who remembers that? We all just remember the missed catch and the ending of game 6. It’s something that still makes me sick to my stomach to this day.
Some big differences from 2o11 to today. For instance, Lance Berkman is wearing a different uniform and Yu Darvish is now with the Rangers. Both teams are still in series contention this season as well. The Rangers (41-32) are coming off of a really bad home stand that they salvaged by beating the A’s three out of four times, and the Cardinals (47-26) are 6-4 in their last ten. The Rangers will send Derek Holland (5-4, 3.30 ERA), Martin Perez (0-1, 5.06 ERA) and Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.84 ERA).
We all remember the last time that Derek pitched against the Cardinals. He almost threw a complete game shutout in the World Series. But he is 0-2 in his last two starts, and he has allowed eight runs in those starts. It will be very interesting to see how he pitches in the ballpark in St. Louis tonight.
Perez is being called up to take the hill on Saturday. He has been a highly touted prospect for a long time and the Rangers are ready to give him another shot at the big league level seeing the struggles that Josh Lindbloom, Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm have been having lately. Perez is 5-1 with a 1.75 ERA at Round Rock this season, and the Rangers are hoping he can bring just a little of that ERA to the big leagues on Saturday.
Sunday will be the bounce back game for Yu Darvish, we all hope. Darvish allowed 5 runs (4 earned) against the A’s in his last start. He did still strike out 10, so at least there was that. I expect Yu to have a good game Saturday night, if he can finally get a win in June depends on the offense. Moreland and Kinsler will both be back with the team, so hopefully that will help. The return of Kinsler seems to have sparked this offense a bit anyway.
The Cardinals are in first place for a reason. They will send Tyler Lyons (0.3 WAR, 3 RAR), Shelby Miller (3.1 WARm 28 RAR) and Adam Wainwright (3.7 WAR, 37 RAR). They have a team batting average of .277, first in the National League, and they have a team ERA of 3.22, also first in the National League. The Rangers have a tough challenge ahead of them, that is for sure.
I don’t believe that the Rangers are thinking much at all about the 2011 World Series as they prepare for this series, but I know that I and many other Rangers fans are. And if Nelly misses a fly ball deep in right field at some point during this series, well……..