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WS2011 Gm6: La Russa, Washington on rainout decision

ARLINGTON -- Only the date will change for Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.

A forecast for rain on Wednesday night forced the postponement of the game, which has been rescheduled for Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET. Both managers indicated on Wednesday that they would stay with their scheduled starters, Jaime Garcia for the St. Louis Cardinals and Colby Lewis for the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers, rain or not, will find themselves in a position that 29 other clubs can only envy.

They are one victory away from a World Series championship, with the man who has been their best postseason starter over the last two years going in Game 6.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, could still be envied by 28 other clubs. Two games ago, they were ahead, 2-1, in this World Series. Now, they trail, 3-2. Still, they are in it, and all the remaining action will take place at their home, Busch Stadium.

Since being battered for 16 runs in a Game 3 loss, the Rangers have given up only two runs behind a brilliant Game 4 start by Derek Holland and a gutsy Game 5 start by C.J. Wilson, coupled with highly effective relief work.

Trailing, 3-2
A team has come back to win the World Series when trailing 3-2 in the current best-of-seven format on 18 occasions.
Year Team Opponent
1924 Senators Giants
1925 Pirates Senators
1926 Cardinals Yankees
1934 Cardinals Tigers
1940 Reds Tigers
1946 Cardinals Red Sox
1952 Yankees Dodgers
1958 Yankees Braves
1968 Tigers Cardinals
1973 A's Mets
1979 Pirates Orioles
1982 Cardinals Brewers
1985 Royals Cardinals
1986 Mets Red Sox
1987 Twins Cardinals
1991 Twins Braves
2001 D-backs Yankees
2002 Angels Giants

Now, the Rangers have Lewis, their most reliable starter over the past two postseasons. He is 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA in three starts this postseason and limited the Cards to one run over 6 2/3 innings in the Rangers' Game 2 victory in this World Series. Over the past two postseasons, spanning seven starts, Lewis has a 4-1 record with a 2.22 ERA.

"I think when he gets in the postseason that he gets really focused," Rangers president Nolan Ryan said on Monday. "He's one of these guys that has a tendency to take his game to another level. I think he's extremely prepared and knows what he wants to do, and he sticks to his game plan. I know Colby well enough now that when he makes a pitch and he doesn't get it, I can see it. I can read it through his body language, but he does not let that carry over to the next pitch.

"So I just think that where he is in his professional career and the discipline that he has serves him quite well, and if you look at our pitching staff, Colby has been our best postseason performer over the last two years."

Rangers manager Ron Washington points to Lewis' confidence as a reason for his postseason success.

"You know, this game sometimes can bring out the worst in you, and this game can definitely get you to the point where you begin to doubt what you're capable of doing," Washington said. "Well, Colby never doubts what he's capable of doing, and I think that's what sets him apart from some guys at this stage. It doesn't bother him one bit."

For the Cardinals, Garcia lost two of his first three postseason starts but has made progress throughout October. Particular comfort can be taken from his start in Game 2 of the World Series. Like Lewis, Garcia was not involved in the decision that night, but he worked seven superb innings, shutting out the Rangers on three hits and one walk, striking out seven. Also encouraging for the Cardinals is the fact that Garcia's home/road splits, both in the regular season and postseason, dramatically favor his work at Busch Stadium.

"It's a process, a learning process," Garcia said on Tuesday about pitching in the postseason. "This is only my second full year in the big leagues, and I learned so many things during the regular season. So I feel like in the playoffs, I feel good physically. At the same time, I made some adjustments in my mechanics, being more repetitive and more consistent instead of trying to do too much or all the little things that I've been working on.

"So I've been feeling really good. I've been able to do the things that I want to do every time I go out there. Obviously, sometimes they go your way, sometimes it doesn't, but I feel really confident about myself right now."

Beyond that, giving up on the 2011 Cardinals before the last out has been recorded would be a very risky undertaking. They were written off when they were 10 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the National League Wild Card race. They were heavy underdogs in the NL Division Series against the Phillies, who were favored to win everything. The Redbirds were underdogs again in the NL Championship Series against Milwaukee, which had home-field advantage and the best home record in the Majors.

None of this made any difference to the Cardinals, who just kept playing. This challenge, given the Rangers' level of play, might be the largest of all for the Redbirds.

One of St. Louis' problems will be coming up with back-to-back wins against Texas. The last time the Rangers lost consecutive games was Aug. 23-25. Comments