Rangers ready for whatever NL gives them

Rangers ready for whatever NL gives them

Rangers ready for whatever NL gives them
ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton made clear one thought about the Rangers' return trip to the World Series.

"We wanted to win last year," Hamilton said. "We expect to win this year."

The Rangers still have to find out if they will play the Brewers or the Cardinals when the World Series opens on Wednesday night at 7 CT on FOX in the National League city. The Cardinals have a 3-2 lead the NLCS with Game 6 scheduled for Sunday at 7 p.m. on TBS.

"I don't care who we play," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "When they finish, we'll be ready for whoever we play."

"It doesn't matter," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "We just need to what we have to do. If we play hard and play our style of baseball, we have a pretty good chance."

Playing the Cardinals would be a new experience for the Rangers. As a team, the Rangers have never been to St. Louis. They have never set foot inside either the old or new Busch Stadium, and it remains the only current National League city they have never visited since Interleague Play began in 1997.

The Rangers have played just three games against the Cardinals. and that was in 2004 in the Ballpark in Arlington. The Cardinals won two out of three, but the Rangers did beat Chris Carpenter, 7-2, in their one victory, behind the pitching of Ryan Drese.

If the Brewers come back and win two straight to claim the NL pennant, the World Series would offer another intriguing storyline. The Brewers general manager is Doug Melvin. He was the Rangers general manager from 1994-2001 and put together three division championship teams in 1996 and '98-99. He also acquired infielder Michael Young from the Blue Jays along with pitcher Darwin Cubillan for pitcher Esteban Loaiza on July 19, 2000. That remains one of the most significant trades in Rangers history.

Melvin has been the Brewers general manager since 2002, and one of his big trades came with the Rangers in '06. Melvin traded outfielders Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz to the Rangers for outfielders Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix, reliever Francisco Cordero and Minor League pitcher Julian Cordero.

Cruz, who played in eight games for the Brewers in 2005, could possibly return to Milwaukee just after winning the Most Valuable Player Award in the American League Championship Series.

The Brewers also hired Jerry Narron to be their bench coach under new manager Ron Roenicke. Narron was the Rangers manager in 2001-02.

The Brewers and the Rangers have plenty of history going back to when they were both members of the American League. Club president Nolan Ryan won his 300th career game as a pitcher in Milwaukee back in 1990.

Here is another piece of trivia. When the AL split into two divisions in 1969, the Seattle Pilots were in the West and the Washington Senators were in the East. The Seattle franchise remained in the West after moving to Milwaukee in 1970. Then the Brewers were the team that shifted East in '72 when the Senators moved to Texas.

They have played just six times since the Brewers moved to the NL in 1998. The Rangers won two of three against them twice -- at the Ballpark in 2007 and in Milwaukee last year.

The Rangers will find out soon enough who they'll play. All that mattered to them on Saturday night is they have defended their AL title and are going back to the Fall Classic for a second straight year.

"We wanted to get to the World Series," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But the bottom line is getting to the World Series and winning it. We feel pretty confident about ourselves.

"It's not easy to get back here. It was a lot going on through the course of 162-game season, but they committed themselves. They brought the proper attitude every single day, and it was never a time where they didn't give the effort that it took to be where we are right now and have this opportunity to play for the World Series again."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.