Down three games to one in the World Series and needing to win three in a row -- with Games 6 and 7 on the road. That's beyond frightening, especially so close to Halloween, and it's an order almost as big as Texas itself. Few people may expect the Rangers to be able to pull it off after the pre-Series favorites find themselves in this unenviable scenario after losing Game 4 to the San Francisco Giants at home on Sunday night by the score of 4-0. But they can't become the sixth team in the modern era to come back from a 1-3 deficit to win the World Series if they don't take Monday's Game 5, and they're more than primed to do so. (Opposing view: Why the Giants will win Game 5)
Not only do they have postseason maestro Cliff Lee on the mound, but he's had his regular rest for this all-or-nothing effort, and he had his one slipup of October in his last outing. That means it probably won't happen again. While Lee said he didn't mind the long layoff of eight days prior to the Fall Classic, it's known that pitchers, and particularly ones as routine oriented as Lee, prefer the regular four days. He's got that now, and oddly enough, it's the first time that he'll enjoy it in the postseason this year.
And even though he gave up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings in his Game 1 start, his 2010 postseason ERA is still 2.51, and he still has struck out 41 batters and walked only two in 28 2/3 postseason innings.Add to that the fact that Lee knows exactly what he did wrong in Game 1, and you're looking at a confident former Cy Young Award winner who is as good as they come at the art of self-correction. "I was throwing balls over the heart of the plate," Lee said. "I wasn't working ahead in the count as well as I would like. You know, I hit a guy on an 0-2 pitch; I walked a guy. Those are the things I don't need to do, especially in the World Series. But it happened. I mean, I made mistakes." The rest of the Rangers have made plenty of them, too, in digging this 1-3 hole they're in. But as they've shown all year, they know how to bounce back from adversity. When the Giants took the 2-0 lead in this series in San Francisco and some pundits were predicting a sweep, Texas took care of business at home in Game 3. The Rangers didn't get it done against a tough Madison Bumgarner and Brian Wilson on Sunday night in Game 4, but there's no panic in manager Ron Washington's crew, and their bats should at least be ready to tackle Tim Lincecum the way they did in Game 1, when they rapped out eight hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings. Winning games at home is nothing new to the Rangers in 2010. There's a lot more at stake in Monday's game, but with Lee on the mound, they're set to rise to the occasion one more time for the hometown fans.