After scoring a dramatic come-from-behind victory in Game 2 to even the series, the Texas Rangers certainly have momentum on their side. As they prepare to host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3, however, they will have an even bigger advantage.

That advantage will be the use of the designated hitter with the American League’s Rangers at home. It seems as though the Rangers will use the extra lineup spot to insert Yorvit Torrealba at catcher and switch the power-hitting Mike Napoli for first base or DH.

Torrealba, most likely, isn’t going to make a huge difference offensively, but the move will make Texas a much tidier team defensively. Also, the DH spot will take away what may be the Cardinals’ most obvious advantage—that being Tony La Russa’s managing edge.

La Russa is known around the league as a fantastic strategic manager who excels at manipulating his lineup with double switches. With a DH added to the equation, though, there isn’t much La Russa will be able to do other than sit back and watch.

St. Louis also doesn’t have an obvious DH candidate on the roster, although one would presume that Allen Craig will play in right field with Lance Berkman moving to designated hitter. While that is a decent option, the Cardinals simply aren’t accustomed to using a DH.

Also, while it may not seem like a huge factor, St. Louis’ pitchers have a lot more experience at the plate compared to Texas’, so the Cardinals had a slight advantage in that regard at home. La Russa knows how to use his pitchers as hitters, and he uses them effectively in playing small ball.

The Rangers will now be able to play American League ball at home and won’t have to worry about that looming No. 9 spot coming up in the order. You have to believe that having a wasted lineup spot inhibited them in a way while playing in St. Louis.

Now, Texas will have a far more circular lineup in which each and every hitter is capable of doing some damage. This is in addition to what looks to be a starting pitching advantage for the Rangers, who will throw Matt Harrison against the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse.

With all of those factors coming together, the Rangers would have to be considered the heavy favorites in Game 3. If they are able to win on Saturday night as most are expecting, then they will have a huge advantage moving forward.

Seeing as everything is working in their favor currently, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Rangers close out the series in Arlington. But even if they can take two out of three at home, they will be in the driver’s seat heading back to St. Louis. 

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