The first two games were utter failures for the Rangers. There is still hope in Texas.
1. Colby Lewis: While Cliff Lee was the dominant force in the LDS for the Rangers, Lewis won two games in the LCS against the Yankees. He is the stopper for the squad and will be able to start a winning streak that ends in a World Series title.
2. Cliff Lee: That was a horrible outing in game one, but Lee will be able to correct it and bring his A game back in Arlington.
3. Josh Hamilton: He is going to be the key for the Rangers’ bats to get going. If he can get hot, the whole team will follow suit and turn this around in a hurry like it’s a 90-mph fastball.
4. Claws: Not a lot of claw-worthy at bats in San Francisco. But with the home crowd behind them and back to a more hitter-friendly field, and with the designated hitter back in the lineup, claws should be going up constantly.
5. Antlers: Just like the claws, not a whole lot of positives at a stadium where the Rangers have never won a game, but back home should inject some life into the players’ legs.
6. Defense: Like everything else, not great in the first two games. But the Rangers were a better team at home than on the road this year, and with their backs against the wall, expect some flawless play.
7. Boomstick: Possibly my favorite Ranger, Nelson Cruz, lovingly referred to as Boomstick. If the Rangers have a chance, he needs to come up big in the late innings of games three and four. He made a habit of ending games this season. He hit three walk-off home runs and also had a walk-off sacrifice fly and (believe it or not) strikeout. If he comes up in the late innings, Bruce Bochy and Brian Wilson’s beard better be careful.
8. Neftali Feliz: The X-factor in this series. He is a rookie closer, one who should win the Rookie of the Year award, and has never been on a stage like this in his 22 years. Washington was reluctant to use him on the road, but he must not be afraid to use him, because he is the best arm in the now-struggling bullpen.
9. Ron Washington: If there is anyone who can get this team motivated for a comeback, it’s Wash. The first two games were rough, but like he says, “That’s the way baseball go.”
10. Destiny: So C.J. Wilson was a reliever, Neftali Feliz was supposed to be a starter, Frank Francisco was the closer, nobody knew who would own the season in July, the American League belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees, and now they are 0-2 and as good as dead in the World Series. Don’t tell this team any of that. As corny as it sounds, everything is falling into place for this to be a team of destiny this year. But this team is built to win several more of these in the coming years.
It might take all seven games now, but this squad still has the talent to overcome this hurdle and get their first World Series crown.