October 30th, 2010

Texas Rangers 2

History Favors the Rangers over the Giants

The Rangers were so bad in the first two games of the 106th Fall Classic that it reminded me of the 2002 World Series between the Giants and the Angels.


The turning point in the Series came in Game 6. Leading 5–0 with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, eight outs away from the Giants' first World Series title in San Francisco, Giants manager Dusty Baker pulled starting pitcher Russ Ortiz for setup man Félix Rodríguez after Ortiz gave up consecutive singles to third baseman Troy Glaus and designated hitter Brad Fullmer. In a widely publicized move, Baker gave Ortiz the game ball as he sent him back to the dugout. During the pitching change the Rally Monkey came on the JumboTron, sending 45,037 Angels fans into a frenzy.

Angels first baseman Scott Spiezio came to the plate and fouled off pitch after pitch before finally hitting a three-run home run that barely cleared the wall in right field. The rally continued in the eighth inning, as Angel center fielder Darin Erstad hit a leadoff line-drive home run, followed by consecutive singles by Tim Salmon and Garret Anderson. (Chone Figgins pinch ran for Salmon.) When Bonds misplayed Anderson's shallow left field bloop single, Figgins and Anderson took third and second respectively. With no outs, two runners in scoring position and now only a 5–4 lead, Baker brought in closer Robb Nen to pitch to Glaus, hoping that Nen could induce a strikeout that might yet preserve the Giants' slim lead. However, Glaus slugged a double to the left-center field gap over Bonds' head to drive in the tying and winning runs.

In the ninth inning, Angels closer Troy Percival struck out Rich Aurilia to preserve the 6–5 victory in front of the jubilant home crowd. The comeback from a five-run deficit was the largest in World Series history for an elimination game. Angels pitcher Brendan Donnelly was the third replacement player to win the World Series, behind both Shane Spencer of the 1998 New York Yankees and Damian Miller of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Giants collapse in Game 6, blowing a five run lead late in the game,  forced game 7.  The Angels won, capturing the World Series in 2002.  This was San Francisco's third appearance in the World Series since moving from New York.  The Giants have lost all 3 series.  The Giants, call themselves the "tortured" franchise as a result.

The 2002 World Series was a seven-game drama of hope and heartbreak. That team boasted the best player in the game, so getting to a World Series wasn't a complete shock. The manner in which the Giants lost -- with a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning of Game 6 -- was.

Just remember Rangers' fans, "it ain't over, till it's over."  It's the Rangers job to preserve the "tortured" franchise!