Nobody said this was going to be easy. Nothing worth winning ever is.
What? Did you figure that the Blue Jays would simply roll over? Yeah – the team that led the majors in home runs, slugging percentage, runs, and probably bad haircuts, is not going to go gently into that good night.
This third win will be the hardest one to get.
Ah, but the truth of the matter is, the Rangers are still sitting where they want to be. Yeah, I know, you’re all nervous because if Texas drops Game Four today, it’s back to Toronto for a deciding Game Five and the Jays would have momentum.
What’s that? All of the pressure is on Texas now? Excuse me? There’s only one team that is playing later today in Arlington that is one loss away from elimination. Would you rather be in the Blue Jays’ shoes? (I know – birds don’t wear shoes. Just go with me).
This is simple, really. Go win a home game. Dutch – you have the ball. Do your job and this thing ends later today. R.A. Dickey, the former Ranger, is scheduled to start – a conformed knuckleballer. He’s 41 and has never pitched to a batter in the postseason. Now, color me non-surprised if David Price somehow makes it to the mound instead. But the Rangers can’t control that.
What they can control is their lineup, or rather, their lineup production. If the Rangers want to win today, the big boys need to step up at the plate. Shin Soo-Choo, Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland – we need to see some runs produced. And Josh Hamilton – you’ve broken your o-for streak at the plate; time to put an RBI or two on your ledger.
Then there’s the x-factor in all of this – Adrian Beltre. Will he be able to go today? Is his back healthy enough? I’m calling yes, and the impact it will have on this team’s psyche will be enormous. I’m also feeling that Mr. Mike Napoli might have a big hit in him today.
Today’s 3 p.m. start comes on one of the most unseasonably warm October days in years. Will that play a factor? Certainly the Rangers are used to playing in this. But weather aside, this one comes down to the heart of the order for both teams. Which team’s impact hitters will make the difference?
Teams that have won the first two games on the road in a best-of-five series have gone on to win 93 percent of the time. The road team has won Games One and Two 29 times and only the 2001 Yankees and 2012 Giants have rallied to win.
So, again, I ask you – would you rather be the Rangers or the Blue Jays as we stand this morning? Buck up, shelve your negative thoughts, and enjoy Game Four.
To quote Dean Vernon Wormer in Animal House: “Let’s finish this damn thing.”