It’s Now A Best Of Three Series

The Narrative: After last night’s Albert Pujols show, the Texas Rangers needed a player to step up. To take the reins. To put in the type of performance that Michael Young gets credited for, whether he actually plays that way or not. And on their way to a 4-0 victory tonight in front of the seventh largest crowd to ever assemble at the Ballpark In Arlington, the Michael Young performance of the night was put in by twenty five year old starting pitcher Derek Holland.

It would be difficult to summarize this game in any way other than Derek Holland, Derek Holland, Derek Holland, Derek Holland, Derek Holland, Derek Holland, Derek Holland, Derek Holland and Derek Holland. So much so, that he got his own section of the summary.

Of course, even at their best, a starting pitcher can only be responsible for 50% of a game. The Rangers still needed their offense to put up the runs. They did so through a Josh Hamilton RBI single in the first and a Mike Napoli three run homer in the sixth. Considering the way in which Edwin Jackson pitched tonight, four runs allowed is the Cardinals getting off easy.

The Premonitory Moment Of The Game

This is how Albert Pujols, who went zero for four tonight, started out his batting practice before the game.

The Anatomy Of The Greatest Outing Of A Young Pitcher’s Career

Derek Holland pitched eight and a third innings, giving up only two hits, two walksand no runs, while striking out seven. He threw 116 pitches, 76 for strikes, nine of which were swinging. It was as efficient as it was brilliant.

Holland threw 72 4-seam fastballs at an average velocity of 94.4 miles per hour, 23 curveballs at an average velocity of 76.4 miles per hour, 16 sliders at an average velocity of 83.7 miles per hour and five changeups at an average velocity of 85.4 miles per hour.

Here’s his location for the night:

And his velocity on each pitch throughout his outing. The lack of a decline in velocity is a sign of great stamina:

A Rangers Run Or The Death Of Socialism?

The Most Important Play Of The Game

After walking his seventh batter of the game, and second in a row, Edwin Jackson was pulled from the game by Tony La Russa, making way for reliever Mitchell Boggs with Mike Napoli due up for the Rangers.

The Texas designated hitter was clearly thinking fastball, and that’s exactly what he got from Boggs first pitch of his appearance. Napoli sent his pitch 393 feet in the direction of left center field where it went over the fence to score three runs for the Rangers. The home run increased the team’s probability of winning by 17.4%.

The Underused Pun Of The Game

That’s what Mama Napoli calls amore:

The Biggest Disappointment Of The Game

When the opposing pitcher only gives up two hits and two walks all game, your team isn’t going to get a whole lot of missed opportunities, because, well, you just didn’t get very many opportunities at all. The closest thing that the Cardinals got to an opportunity was in the fifth inning when Lance Berkman led off with a single.

David Freese was next up, and he killed any chance of a rally batting into a quick double play. The ground ball decreased his team’s chances of winning by 10.7%.

The Shamsky Award

Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.

Lance Berkman got two hits tonight. They were the only two hits that the Cardinals got all night. Nick Punto, Jake Westbrook and Berkman were the only players on St. Louis to have a positive WPA. The Big Puma was tops, increasing his team’s probability of winning by 8.2%.

The Questionable Thing The Broadcast Did That Should Lead A Television Executive To Question The Hiring Process Of His Company

The Statistics You Won’t Believe

It took Yadier Molina 5.2 seconds to reach first base after grounding out to Ian Kinsler in the second inning.

Ian Kinsler has been picked off 21 times in his regular season career.

Derek Holland allowed one base runner through three innings.

Mitch Moreland is now two for 22 in the postseason with seven strikeouts.

42 of Edwin Jackson’s first 77 pitches were breaking balls.

Through five innings, Holland has thrown 64 pitches, Jackson has thrown 94 pitches.

Only 14 pitchers in World Series history have walked seven or more. Jackson was the fifteenth.

Ron Washington’s Five Favourite Songs

5. Love Shaking On Shakedown Street

4. Shake

3. Hippy Hippy Shake

2. Shake, Rattle & Roll

1. Shake Your Tail Feather

Honourable Mention: Walking On Sunshine

The Aggravating Thing That The Managers Did

After a lead off walk in the fifth, Ron Washington called on Elvis Andrus to go for a sacrifice bunt. With Edwin Jackson unable to control his location, this made absolutely no sense.

Stray Observations

The ability of the broadcast booth to stick to their preordained narrative despite what the actual results on the field suggest is simply incredible. There was little criticism for Yadier Molina when it took him more than five seconds to get to first base on a two out ground out in the second inning, but God like praise for the youngest of the catching Molina brothers when he picked off Ian Kinsler in the bottom half of the inning.

Mitch Moreland at bat seems like the equivalent of a pitcher hitting.

I imagine that the results of Edwin Jackson’s pitching performance reveal a far better outing than he’s actually having.

It’s pretty hard to take Joe Torre seriously when he’s already dressed up in his zombie costume for Hallo’ween.

I wonder if Elvis Andrus gets two strikes on purpose when Ron Washington asks him to sacrifice bunt.

Mike Napoli was waiting for that sixth inning fastball back when he still played for the Los Angeles Angels.

I love watching Adrian Beltre play baseball. His fielding is a privilege to see, but his swings at pitches outside the strike zone are truly Vladesque.

The tweet of the night, after the FOX broadcast booth invited viewers into their green screened hovel.