Tag: 2011 World Series

Texas Rangers: Top 5 Wins Above Replacement Scores Among Batters Since 2000

The Texas Rangers have been known for quite some time as a team that usually wins with their bats. They are third in Major League Baseball since 2000 in runs scored and this is a team that has only been to the postseason twice since the turn of the millennium.

This offense has featured many prolific names but there are five that stand out from all the rest. We will be ranking these players by their WAR (wins above replacement) which is a stat that represents the number of wins that a player’s presence translates to compared to a replacement player.

Since runs are dependent on other batters, it is not appropriate to gauge worth using that stat which is why WAR is being used. Read on for more.

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World Series 2011: Bold Predictions That Will Lead to Rangers Being Champions

When the Rangers came back in the ninth inning to beat the Cardinals in Game 2 they won the series. The Cardinals needed to sweep the first two at home to have a chance in this one.

Now the series returns to Texas where the conditions, ballpark and rules benefit the Rangers’ dynamic offense. Here is how it will all unfold.


They Will Split Games 3 and 4

My initial inclination is to think the Rangers will sweep the Cardinals in Texas. This offense is on the verge of exploding, and they will be facing less than elite pitching in the next two games.

However, this is a scrappy Cardinals team with a strong offense of their own. I see their offense exploding for a big inning either against Matt Hamilton or Derek Holland. Neither guy has been able to get deep into games this postseason, and it will cost the Rangers a game.


Rangers Will Beat Chris Carpenter

That split will set the table for a huge Game 5. And the edge would seem to side with the Cardinals with staff ace Chris Carpenter on the mound. However, Carpenter was not quite as sharp in his last start as he had been.

He only allowed two runs over six innings, but the Rangers were close to touching him up for more.

They will do just that in this one, and crush the Cardinals’ hopes in the process.


Rangers Win in Six

The Cardinals have bounced back from a lot this season, but they will not be able to recover from losing that huge Game 5.

Just as they did against Carpenter, the Rangers offense will have much more success against Jamie Garcia the second time around. The Rangers will win this one in six and finish what they couldn’t quite do last year.

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World Series 2011: Albert Pujols Owes the Media Nothing

The St. Louis Cardinals are going for their 11th World Series championship, which would strengthen their hold as the team second only to the New York Yankees with respect to titles.

The Cardinals and Yankees have met five times in the World Series. The Cardinals won in 1926, 1942 and the last time the teams met in 1964. The Yankees beat St. Louis in 1928 and 1943.

There is no question the Cardinals are one of baseball’s iconic franchises. To play in St. Louis means playing under great scrutiny and even, at times, greater pressure.

The Cardinals have had some great first basemen. Stan Musial, Jim Bottomley, Orlando Cepeda and Johnny Mize are all in the Hall of Fame. Keith Hernandez might have been the second greatest defensive first baseman in the annals of baseball history next to Hal Chase.

Musial was the National League MVP three times and Cepeda won it once and Hernandez won it once.

The current Cardinals’ first baseman, Albert Pujols, has surpassed them all, with the possible exception of Musial. He has already won three MVP awards.

In the second game of the 2011 World Series, Cardinals’ center fielder John Jay made a weak throw home in the ninth inning. Pujols lunged for the ball but failed to cut it off, allowing the Texas Rangers‘ Elvis Andrus take second base on his single.

No error was charged until the game had been over for quite a while.

Pujols didn’t speak to the media after the game for which those in the media excoriated him—not just the actions, but the man.

Joel Sherman, who is employed by the bastion of fair reporting, the New York Post, concluded that Pujols was an extremely fortunate individual.

Sherman pointed out that Pujols should be grateful that Mark Teixeira was a New York Yankee, that Adrian Gonzalez was a Boston Red Sox, that Ryan Howard was with the Philadelphia Phillies and that the New York Mets were a financially challenged team.

Why did the perceptive Mr. Sherman think that the above were fortuitous circumstances for Pujols? 

Because none of the the big northeast markets would be in the bidding for his services when he becomes a free agent.

It is a blessing, according to Sherman, because Pujols couldn’t handle playing in any of those cities. The primary reason is that Pujols couldn’t take the booing.

That says it all about Mr. Sherman.

He doesn’t realize that Pujols wouldn’t have to take the booing because he would bask in the cheering. He denigrates the greatest player in the game who has done fairly well in some cities where the fans know how to boo.

He has batted .331/.436/.589 with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs in the postseason, including batting .333 in the 2004 World Series against the Boston Red Sox and their friendly fans.

Sherman ranks among the most upset by the fact that Pujols refused to speak to the media after the tough loss.

“He should figure out how to stay in St. Louis, where he forever will have a city that loves him and an organization that will cover for him, and where his small-time behavior and big biceps are an acceptable combination.

“New York, Boston and Philadelphia would not kowtow to this behavioral model.”

Mr. Sherman seems bothered that the “big market” teams were all “upset” before they could get to the World Series. He is at a loss to explain to explain why Pujols, Lance Berkman and Yadier Molina weren’t available to express their remorse after a really tough loss.

Well, Mr. Sherman, perhaps you might have read that after the seventh game of the 1960 World Series, reporters found Mickey Mantle sitting at his locker. His head was in his hands and he was crying. The reporters walked away.

Winners need time to accept the fact that their team lost. Some, like Mantle in this instance, never can accept that reality.

Contrary to the propaganda of the media and Bud Selig, Pujols’ role is not to help MLB and Fox Sports to make money. They are quite good at that task.

Pujols makes money for them by being Albert Pujols. He makes money for them by hitting home runs or by not hitting home runs when he is beaten by a pitcher. His job, and his only job, is to play baseball. It is not to give interviews on demand.

Albert Pujols, unlike Joel Sherman and most others in the media, is a winner.

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World Series 2011: Game 3 a Must-Win for St. Louis Cardinals on the Road

The St. Louis Cardinals were unable to take both games at home to start the 2011 World Series against the Texas Rangers, making Game 3 on Saturday night a must-win for the Cardinals on the road.

Since the series will switch to an American League park, the designated hitter is play, which gives the already dangerous Rangers lineup another quality bat to use.

After losing the first game by just one run, the Rangers survived Game 2 by the score of 2-1, and took home-field advantage with them to Texas.

The Cardinals have to win Game 3 because falling behind 2-1 with two more games to play in Texas would be tough to come back from, especially since the Cardinals have just one ace who can dominate a game in Chris Carpenter.

The scary thing for the Cardinals is the Rangers offense has yet to awaken, and playing in their hitter-friendly home ballpark might be exactly what they need to get their struggling bats fired up.

The Cardinals can win a close game, but it’s unlikely they can survive a slug-fest for three games in Arlington.

For the 14th time in 107 World Series, the first two games were decided by just one run. It’s also the fourth time in the last 32 years that this feat has happened.

History shows us that most of time when a World Series begins with two really close games, the series will likely go six or seven games total.

However, the Cardinals don’t have the firepower or the dominant pitching to survive any six- to 10-run games. They have done it a few times in these playoffs, but it’s unlikely they can contain a very talented lineup like Texas top to bottom to just a few runs per game much longer.

The Rangers’ bats are going to break out at some point, so the Cardinals need to win Game 3 to put the pressure on Texas and put some fear and panic into their minds.

One of the best ways to get a good lineup off of its game is to have them pressing and trying to hit a home run every at bat because they are down in the series and feel like they need to make up ground in one swing.

The Cardinals can really put the Rangers in a tough position tonight with a win, and in the process, give themselves lots of confidence to wrap things up in Texas or possibly go back to St. Louis up 3-2, with two shots to win the title at home.


Nicholas Goss is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for the latest sports news and updates.  

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World Series Game 3 Live Blog: St Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers

Jason Motte we hardly knew thee. As we all know by now, game two of the World Series ended on an… exhilarating? No… Exciting? No… Sacrifice fly? There it is. 

I should take that back. To be honest, I’m sure the Texas Rangers and their fans were plenty ramped up when Elvis Andrus crossed the plate on Michael Young’s shot to center. All-in-all, it ended the game—and for me, evened up a bet that I made before game one with a co-worker here at Bleacher Report.

The pitching matchup for Game Three is not the star-studded matchup that many were hoping for. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia? Not this time. Tonight we have Kyle Lohse and Matt Harrison readying up their arms to guide their teams to a big advantage heading into game four. 

While you may not be very familiar with the names, their pitching stats seem to be familiar with each other. They’re almost identical. With the Cardinals, Lohse pitched to a 14-8 record with a 3.39 ERA. Funny, that’s the exact same ERA that Matt Harrison had this season, while also notching 14 wins with the Rangers.  

Neither of these arms are known for big strikeout numbers, but they are workhorse pitchers that every team needs if they’re trying to make it to the Fall Classic. 

With names like Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton putting their clutch reputations on the line, there are sure to be some fireworks in this critical Game Three.

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MLB World Series 2011 Schedule: Josh Hamilton Injury Gives Cardinals Advantage

Texas Rangers star outfielder Josh Hamilton is being held back by a nagging groin injury and when you combine his struggles in the third hole with Elvis Andrus’ woes batting second, the St. Louis Cardinals have a clear advantage as the World Series shifts to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday.

Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com passed along some discouraging information after Game 2.

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said his strained groin is bothering him enough that if this were the regular season, he’d probably be on the disabled list.

Hamilton, speaking to reporters prior to Game 2 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, said he’ll just continue to play through the discomfort. He was playing left field in Game 2 and batting third, his usual spot.

Playing through an injury that would cost him at least 15 days during the regular season is nothing to take lightly. Groin problems not only make running, both on the bases and in the field, a pain but can change a hitter’s swing at the plate.

And for somebody with such a natural stroke like Hamilton, even a minor tweak to his approach can throw off his entire game.

The former first-overall pick is 0-for-7 in the World Series and has an on-base percentage of .264 during the playoffs, more than 80 points below his regular season total. And it’s hard for Texas to generate runs without Hamilton being a force in the middle of the lineup.

Manager Ron Washington has said Hamilton will continue to play the outfield, even at home where the designated hitter spot is available. His stance may change if his superstar’s ailment becomes more problematic in Game 3.

The next two games should be closer to the high-scoring duel than most were expecting when the series began with the back end of both rotations taking the mound. It will be difficult for Texas to keep up with St. Louis without big production from Hamilton and Andrus.

At this point, if Hamilton says he wants to play, Washington should let him play, but maybe sliding him down in the order wouldn’t be a bad idea. Now that the issue has become public, it will surely be the focus of tonight’s game, putting even more pressure on the slugger to produce.

Moving down in the order would alleviate some of that pressure.

Hamilton’s a warrior, so he’s going to give everything his body allows him to give every game. It’s up to Washington to makes changes if they will help the offense score more runs. Right now, moving Hamilton down Texas’ deep lineup seems like the best way to do just that.

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MLB World Series 2011 Schedule: DH Will Be the Difference for Rangers in Game 3

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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World Series Game 2: Tim McCarver Was Wrong, Albert Pujols Did Not Make an Error

Albert Pujols did not make an error on center fielder John Jay’s throw toward home plate in Game 2 of the 2011 World Series. Tim McCarver made an error because he doesn’t know the meaning of Rule 10.12(a)(8).

“The official scorer shall charge an error against any fielder.. whose failure to stop, or try to stop, an accurately thrown ball permits a runner to advance.”

Here is a link to a video of the play.

John Jay’s throw home was weak. Jay got his hand on the side of the ball, as the throw had some curve action to Pujols’ glove side, ducking down and away and ultimately under Pujols’ glove.

Pujols was coming over from first base to be the cutoff man. He lined up at a slight angle to home plate, took a step and then a second.

Pujols then lunged in an attempt to get the slightly errant throw that wound up to the third base side of home plate, at least 15 feet off the mark.

Since it was not an accurate throw, under Rule 10.12(a)(8), Pujols did not make an error.

If Jay had made an accurate throw, Pujols would have cut it off easily. A fielder doesn’t have to lunge for an accurate throw.

Tim McCarver spoke. Who has the temerity to challenge the words of Tim McCarver? Certainly not Jack Buck’s son and certainly not official scorers Jeff Durbin, Ken Davidoff and Joe Ostermeier.

According to McCarver, it was simple. Some things are difficult, such as predicting where the batter will hit the ball, but this was easy.

Albert Pujols had to be charged with an error because, according to McCarver, Pujols actually touched the errant throw. That prevented catcher Yadier Molina to throw out Elvis Andrus at second base.

The key is that the official scorers did not charge Pujols with an error, McCarver continued to whine, apparently to no avail, but the mainstream media allows the public to know only what they want the public to know.

Well after the game had ended, the official scorers decided that McCarver was right. After all, he is a former player. He is an expert analyst. He is Tim McCarver.

Pujols was charged with an error. So much for integrity.

That bastion of fair, unbiased reporting, the New York Post, reported that the official scorers changed their collective minds after numerous reviews. Other media outlets’ “experts” agreed with McCarver’s snap judgment which, based on the rule and replays, was dead wrong.

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Albert Pujols Skips out on the Media and Then Skips out on Respect

Entering last night, I had pretty much been on Albert Pujols’ side with regards to the actions he took in the aftermath of Thursday’s World Series Game 2. That is, until he chose to make some fairly insensitive comments about this controversy.

His arrogance when discussing the issue, in which he was actually “in the right,” was disheartening to say the least. Throughout his statement, he made a number of good points regarding the frequency in which he does address the media and the rarity that he skips out on a chance to answer tough questions. All very valid points and all quite true.

Then there was this statement from ESPN.com, “My responsibility is to my God and my family, I don’t have any responsibility to anybody else.”

I’m not a religious person, but I respect the rights of anyone and everyone to practice their faith. That being said, this is a fairly arrogant statement. Michael Young made some very valid points with regards to addressing the media and, while I know nothing of Young’s religious beliefs, it seems quite obvious that he recognizes the importance of treating others in the manner in which you’d like to be treated.

From the same article, “I do think there is a responsibility,” Young said. “You guys have a job to do. These are big games and it’s just a matter of being respectful. You guys have jobs to do, too. You’re not here for your health. If I can help I will.”

Pujols could perhaps think about someone else in the equation besides his god and his family. Other people have those things, too. It’s not all about him.

This was one of those non-issues magnified by the magnitude of the World Series. Had it been a regular season game, it wouldn’t even be noticed by most of the national press. It is the World Series, though. To somehow act shocked or amazed that normally minor stories can become major would be naive to say the least. If Pujols was eating his postgame meal, and was not notified that he was wanted by the media, then that’s fine. It’s okay to make a mistake, it’s okay to have a miscommunication. 

It’s also okay to admit some form of fault. From Lance Berkman, another veteran who did not make himself available to the media, “That won’t happen again. I’ll make sure—if I have to stand in there—that one of us is available for comment, win or lose.”

Stan Musial is probably considered the greatest Cardinal in history. He probably made mistakes in his career, though. He also probably handled them with more grace than Pujols did.  There were members of the media who, in the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s disappearing act, were quick to pounce all over Pujols, painting him in a terrible light for one of his few miscues. That was wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Sorry Albert, you do have a responsibility to other people besides your god or your family. For a player with a fairly spotless reputation throughout a spectacular eleven-year career Pujols made a minor mistake on Thursday Night, and then compounded it by showing an inability to act like an adult. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy, it’s just disappointing.  

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MLB Playoffs 2011: Texas Rangers Prove They Can Win World Series with Small Ball

An American League team playing small ball? Is that for real? Is it possible to win that way?

With their 2-1 Game 2 victory in this year’s World Series, the Texas Rangers proved that not only can they play small ball, but, yes, they can also do so in order to win a ballgame.

Truthfully, though, it should not come as a surprise.

To be sure, the Rangers are no ordinary American League team. Although, they are one of the most potent lineups, sporting an AL-best .283 team batting average, while ranking second in home runs, total bases and OPS and third in runs scored. However, as they proved throughout the season, the Rangers are a versatile squad.

Fearsome at the plate, Texas also demonstrated their ability to play fundamental station-to-station baseball, ranking fourth in the AL in stolen bases and fifth in sacrifice hits. Furthermore, they are natural contact hitters, striking out the fewest number of times. Essentially, the Rangers are built for small ball.

Last year’s team floundered against the pitch-heavy San Francisco Giants. Critics pointed to the Giants’ otherworldly starting rotation as the kryptonite to the Rangers’ bats. The Rangers were held to a minuscule .190 batting average, and critics pointed to their inability during the series to manufacture runs at the right moments.

Though ultimately there wasn’t a lot to be done against Tim Lincecum, et al., the Rangers took to heart the need to generate offense when their bats were not working.

That meant running more and playing sound, situational baseball.

True, Texas has thus far clobbered 14 home runs this postseason—Game 2 of the World Series was an example of what the Rangers can do when not playing long ball. As a result, Texas swiped the game from the clutches of the Cardinals in the ninth inning, tying the series going back to Arlington.

Fortunately, for the Rangers return home to their launching pad at The Ballpark. But it’s inspiring to know that the team has the fortitude and skill to make things happen when their bats aren’t smoldering fastballs. Undoubtedly, Texas will likely not stay sizzling hot the entire way.

At some point, there will be a close game that requires one team or the other to make a move, assembling a run in a variety of methods. The Cardinals, behind manager Tony La Russa’s mechanical devises, will certainly be able to manufacture a run the old-fashioned way—but Texas, with their incredibly balanced lineup, can build runs of their own. 

Shortstop Elvis Andrus handles the bat well, and has two sacrifice hits in the postseason. Meanwhile, Josh Hamilton is the most clutch hitter, providing three sacrifice flies so far in the playoffs. Moreover, the team as a whole has eight stolen bases—but a more telling sign is their willingness to run, as the Rangers have 14 total attempts.

Yes, Game 2 was a display of how far the Rangers have grown as a team from last year. In the 2010 World Series, it’s difficult to envision the team coming back against the Giants bullpen in the ninth inning without trying in vain to swing for the fences. 

Instead, there is no panic. The Rangers are aggressive yet patient; risk-takers yet confident; powerful yet speedy. Their balance is one of the most admirable and exciting aspects of this World Series.

Watching manager Ron Washington construct his counterpoints to La Russa’s intense stratagems is inspiring. Hit-and-runs, stolen bases, walks, bunts. Washington has signaled them all. Every step of the way, the Rangers have pulled through.

If their bats are not mashing home runs, the Rangers are dashing on the bases. It’s one of the many reasons to root for them. When the long ball gets tough, the tough play small ball.

And that is why this time around, the Rangers will win the World Series.

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