By Matt Snyder
Rangers at Cardinals, 7:05 p.m. CT, Busch Stadium, St. Louis. Series is tied, 3-3.
ST. LOUIS -- While there is rightfully plenty of focus on the Cardinals' Game 7 starter -- it's Chris Carpenter, even though the Cardinals wouldn't say anything on record Thursday night -- I've gotten a good chuckle out of the public reaction to Rangers manager Ron Washington naming Matt Harrison the Game 7 starter.
|World Series Coverage|
Let us also realize Harrison wasn't that far from having a much better outing in Game 3. He was the victim of bad defense and a botched call in the top of the fourth inning when everything came unraveled. It's entirely possible that if Ron Kulpa made the correct call at first base and the defense was perfect behind him that Harrison comes away with a win.
With a 3.39 regular-season ERA, Harrison is no slouch. Plus, Holland will surely be in relief again -- he did a good job in relief in Game 6 after Alexi Ogando's pathetic effort. It would be foolish to count the Rangers out and it would be incredibly short-sighted to question Washington's decision on a Game 7 starter.
Then again, don't you have to like the Cardinals' chances when simply looking at Carpenter vs. Harrison?
Carpenter vs. Rangers: In 13 innings this World Series, Carpenter has allowed 11 hits, four earned runs and three walks while striking out eight. He has been susceptible to the longball, as he's coughed up three homers. Both Adrian Beltre (4-for-8 with a home run) and Mike Napoli (4-for-8 with two home runs) have hit Carpenter well. Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young (all hitting .167 off Carpenter) do not.
Harrison vs. Cardinals: All we have to go on was Game 3, and it was bad. Harrison was roughed up for five runs (three earned) on six hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The Rangers' pitchers would allow 16 runs in that game. There's no question the result was bad, but -- as stated above -- we have to keep it in context. The only Cardinals player who has more than one career hit off Harrison doesn't even play (Gerald Laird). Allen Craig has homered off Harrison while David Freese has doubled, otherwise it's just a bunch of three at-bat samples with a single or walk mixed in. There really isn't much to draw from.
|1||Ian Kinsler||2B||1||Ryan Theriot||2B|
|2||Elvis Andrus||SS||2||Allen Craig||LF|
|3||Josh Hamilton||CF||3||Albert Pujols||1B|
|4||Michael Young||1B||4||Lance Berkman||RF|
|5||Adrian Beltre||3B||5||David Freese||3B|
|6||Nelson Cruz||RF||6||Yadier Molina||C|
|7||Mike Napoli||C||7||Rafael Furcal||SS|
|8||David Murphy||LF||8||Skip Schumaker||CF|
|9||Matt Harrison||LHP||9||Chris Carpenter||RHP|
• The Rangers have still not lost back-to-back games since August, but the Cardinals have refused elimination even under the most dire circumstances. Game 7 will mark the ultimate test and something absolutely will give. It's just a question of which team does so.
• Carpenter was hit pretty hard in his only other start on three days' rest: Game 2 of the NLDS against the Phillies and it's worth noting the Rangers have a much better offense than Philly.
• Rangers ace C.J. Wilson will be available out of the bullpen, just as Holland should be as well. For the Cardinals, expect Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse to be available if need be -- this time with their arms, not just bats.
• Matt Holliday is done, but Cruz and Napoli are both playing. It will be most interesting to see how Napoli's ankle will react after being hyperextended?
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