I think we can all agree that after two nights of nonstop references to the 2011 World Series, enough is enough, right? On Saturday, FOX abused the point ad nauseam even with the Rangers leading for most of the game, eventually defeating the Cardinals, 4-2.
So if you are in the mood to see more of Nelson Cruz and The Play, maybe a David Freese highlight reel, and perhaps even some Albert Pujols moonshots for good measure — then don’t fret, because tomorrow evening’s game is on ESPN, and there’s a whole new crew with tons of more hard-hitting perspective and analysis on the 2011 World Series. It should be a great time; I can’t wait.
Lost in all the past Ranger-devestation, and present Cardinal-ass-kissing, is the fact that after two games Texas has already secured a series victory, and will be going for the sweep on Sunday against arguably baseball’s best pitcher in 2013, Adam Wainwright.
On Saturday, the offense provided 4 runs on two key at-bats, one an A.J. Pierzynski two-run homer to right, the other a two-run Nelson Cruz blast to the opposite field.
But the real star of the game was Texas’s starting pitcher, Martin Perez, who emphatically tossed the best game of his Major League career, and against baseball’s best offense, no less. He finished the night having gone 7.0 innings (a career-high), allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, walking 1 Cardinal hitter and punching out 3.
With a 4-2 lead in the 8th, the game got sketchy for a quick second. Tanner Scheppers allowed back-to-back one-out singles to put men on 1st and 3rd, but luckily for Tanner, he induced a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Matt Holliday, and the fire was put out.
The Cardinals made no noise off Joe Nathan in the 9th, who recorded his 24th save in 25 chances. Joe is sort of a fascinating guy on the pitching staff, because even though he’s still extremely effective (1.78 ERA, 9.2 K’s/9), there has noticeably been a drop-off from his dominant 2012 campaign (+1.8 fWAR, 10.91 K’s/9).
The big difference is the strikeout and walk rates. Last year he struck out 10.91 per 9 IP, and walked only 1.82/9. This season? 9.2 K/9, and 2.97 BB/9. This decline isn’t substantial enough where you should really be worried about Joe, but all signs point to some regression this year.
In 2012 his xFIP was 2.60, which was pretty much on par with his 2.80 ERA. But in 2013, the numbers suggest he’s been quite fortunate to come away with a 1.78 ERA, because his xFIP is nearly a full 2 runs higher (3.77).
Anyway, that’s my nitpick of the night. The Rangers have been playing some exceptional baseball over the last week, and it’s come at a time where wins were not necessarily expected.
OAK – W
OAK – L
OAK – W
OAK – W
@STL – W
@STL – W