They went on the road to San Francisco, ran into a buzzing AT&T Park and a buzzsaw of a Giants team and found themselves in an 0-2 hole and needing a huge turnaround in their Game 3 return to Texas, slated for Saturday at 5:30 p.m. CT on FOX.
As the favored team heading into the Fall Classic, the Rangers have watched as the Giants' unheralded offense erupted for 20 runs in two games, beating Texas ace Cliff Lee and outlasting C.J. Wilson in Game 2's belated 9-0 rout.
But take a look at the statistics.
Josh Hamilton is 1-for-8 with a single and no RBIs. Nelson Cruz is 1-for-9. Vladimir Guerrero is 1-for-4 and made two errors in right field in Game 1, forcing his benching in Game 2. Michael Young is 1-for-8 with a single and no RBIs. Is there any way that this will continue at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where they went 51-30 this year (as opposed to 39-42 on the road) and just took two of three against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series?
Back home, the Rangers will get Guerrero's bat without worrying about his glove. They won't have to watch their untested pitchers hit in key situations that can alter the momentum of games. And after seeing Ian Kinsler's deep shot to center field bounce off the top of the wall and carom back into the field of play, keeping Thursday's shutout alive for the Giants, well, the Rangers might even get one to bounce their way deep in the heart of Texas.
"I don't think we caught any breaks yet," manager Ron Washington said. "There's still a lot of baseball left to be played. We certainly don't feel like we're defeated. We're heading home. They took care of us in their ballpark, now we're headed to ours. I wish it would have hit and gone in the opposite direction, but it didn't, so we just had to live with it."
On Saturday, the Rangers will get a fresh start in a familiar yard with a hot pitcher on the mound. Colby Lewis beat the Yankees twice in the ALCS and has a 1.45 postseason ERA. He also went 6-4 with a 3.41 ERA at home during the regular season (he was 6-9 with a 3.95 ERA away from Arlington), so expect to see him continue his October resurgence.
The Rangers have been living well in Arlington all year, which is why they still sounded confident, even after the 9-0 laugher. Young said there's no need for a team meeting or any other motivational mantras. This club knows what is has to do.
"You come to win every night, so it's not going to be a reason to change our approach," Young said. "We'll be ready for Game 3 and come out and play hard."
They'll win, too, and all of a sudden this World Series will get a lot more interesting.