Rangers Even Series With Lefty’s Brilliance

Derek Holland stuns Cardinals in two hit shut-out.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

“When I came off the field…arm hair stood up…it was tingly…it felt good.” Words spoken from 25 year old left handed Rangers pitcher, Derek Holland, who described his feelings after leaving the mound in the 9th inning of Sunday night’s big World Series victory. Holland pitched the best post-season game in Rangers history after completing the two-hit shut out, becoming the youngest left-hander to go at least eight innings and allow two hits or fewer in World Series history.

Holland had a better than average season, but was sporting a 5.26 post season ERA before Sunday night, so needless to say, the Rangers weren’t sure what they were going to get from him on the Game 4 start.

The Cardinals threw Edwin Jackson, who although walked seven batters through five innings, kept them in the ball game, down only 0-1. That all changed when manager Tony La Russa decided to relieve Jackson with Mitchell Boggs, a pitcher normally used for mop up duty.

The first pitch released from Boggs hand found itself in the left field stands nearly 400 feet from home plate.

“Got a pitch I could handle and did something good with it,” said Mike Napoli, the Rangers catcher who broke the game wide open with his three run homer off Boggs in the 6th inning. The Rangers were only 1-8 with runners in scoring position. If not for Napoli’s big hit, it may have been a different game.  

The crowd in Arlington continued to chant both Napoli’s name, along with youngster Holland, even after the last pitch. I’m sure it’s going to be a night tough for both of them to forget. Just the opposite thoughts of the Cardinals I’m sure, a night which the red birds only hit three balls out of the entire infield.

Cardinals Outlook: While it’s important for the Cardinals to win with Carpenter on the mound, it’s guaranteed this series is going back to St.Louis. I give the edge in Game 5 to St.Louis though simply because I have more confidence in Carp than Wilson.

Rangers Outlook: C.J. Wilson still hasn’t found his groove, but neither had Derek Holland until Sunday night. Wilson should pitch well enough to keep the Rangers in the game. Josh Hamilton finally got his first two hits of the series this weekend as well. If he gets hot, that could be the difference maker.

Stats Of The Night: The last time the World Series was tied up at 2-2 was in 2003 between the Yankees and Marlins. The last World Series to see a complete game shut-out was in 2005 when the White Sox beat the Astros 1-0.

Game 5: Monday – St.Louis @ Texas.  7:05 CT
STL: Chris Carpenter (3.52) vs C.J. Wilson (7.17)