The Rangers really had to win Saturday's game 3 in order to avoid going down 3 games to none to the Giants in the World Series, and they did just that, getting to Jonathan Sanchez early, then shutting down the Giants the rest of the way to hold on the win.
Sanchez once again had a rough start, as he's really hit a wall after finishing the year so strong, then dominating the Braves in his lone NLDS start in Atlanta. He struggled in his 2 starts in Philly, looking very bad in his last on in game 6, a game in which he failed to get out of the 3rd inning. He didn't throw particularly bad Saturday, but gave up a huge 3-run bomb to Mitch Moreland in the 2nd inning. After that, Sanchez really cruised into the 5th inning, until, once again, he was taken out of the yard by Josh Hamilton. That AB by Moreland was a tough battle, and you kind of have to tip your cap to the Rangers' first basemen for fighting off those tough pitches until he got that low fastball in the zone where most left-handed hitters can crush the baseball. The homer he gave up to Hamilton was really a mistake on his part though, and it was a big blow, moving the Rangers up 4-0 on a night when Colby Lewis was dealing. The Giants have to really hope that shot by Hamilton doesn't awake the beast, cause he was really quiet in SF after carrying the Rangers offense past the Yankees. If he gets going, along with Nelson Cruz who had a big game, the Giants are going to be in some trouble. With the way the Giants rotation lined up, Sanchez would be set-up to take the ball in a possible game 7, and although it would be played in San Francisco and not on the road where Sanchez has struggled the last few outings, Bochy has to really consider using Timmy on 3-days rest. Again, this is getting way ahead of things, but after seeing the Rangers wake up on Saturday, I'm thinking this series is coming back to San Francisco.
On a positive not in Game 2, Cody Ross continued his postseason brilliance, with his 5th postseason home run which put the Giants on the board in the 6th. It's too bad the 2 hitters in front of Ross haven't done more this series, cause this dude continues to hit, and needs to have runners on when he's up there. Speaking of the 2 guys in front of him, Pat Burrell and Buster Posey, they have been having a real rough go of it through the first 3 games. Burrell went 0-4 with 4 k's on the night, dropping to 0-9 on the series with and astonishing 8 strikeouts. That's pretty brutal right there out of your #5 hitter. Still, it's tough for Bochy to do much else, as the Giants don't really have another power hitting outfielder on their bench to spell Pat, and even though he's struggling, he's still very capable of hitting that huge 3-run homer when they really need it. I'd just think about maybe dropping him down a few spots and moving Ross and Uribe both up a spot. Posey hasn't been quite as bad as Burrell, but he just looks tired, as he's played the most baseball of his life this year. Posey's gone 3-12 in this series, and even has an RBI, but he's struck out 5 times, and all 3 of his hits have been off balance little bloopers barely over the infielders heads. His timing just looks a little off, but he's still getting it done behind the plate, and like Burrell, you never know when this kid will break out with a 4-hit game.
A Glance At Game 4: Now, even though Giants are still in pretty good shape at the moment, Game 4 becomes a pretty big one, because if the Giants lose, they face Cliff Lee in his home ballpark with a chance to put his Rangers ahead in the series. Not to mention, if they win tomorrow night, they'll have all the momentum on their side, and have their fans in a ruckus in game 5. So, this makes it a huge game for the rookie, Madison Bumgarner, who's last appearance came in relief in game 6 of the NLCS and was a big part of that series clinching game. I'd give him the slight advantage over the Rangers' starter Tommy Hunter, who's struggled this postseason, but I thought the same about this match-up tonight, and look how that turned out. You can just never count out that Texas offense.... The Giants bullpen did look very well in relief of Sanchez, going 4.1 shutout innings... Speaking of good bullpens, Rangers' closer Neftali Feliz is a freak of nature and reminds me very much of Francisco Rodriguez when he came up with the Angels in 2002 (knock on wood). What makes him even more tough and gives him an edge on most flame-throwing closers, is that he's a former starter, and can get 6+ outs in a pinch if needed.
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