Rangers relax for one day before World Series
Club has several decisions to make before Fall Classic begins
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers took Sunday off, one day after wrapping up the American League Championship Series with a 15-5 victory over the Tigers in Game 6 on Saturday night.They did not work out at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, but will do so on Monday before flying to St. Louis on Tuesday. Texas will face the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series at Busch Stadium on Wednesday on FOX. The Rangers have a few things to discuss and decide before the World Series begins. They have to decide on a rotation, first and foremost. C.J. Wilson has pitched Game 1 in the two previous series and is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA. Colby Lewis is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts this postseason and is 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA in six postseason starts over the past two years. They will likely pitch the first two games of the World Series with Derek Holland and Matt Harrison to follow in some order. Manager Ron Washington has made it clear that Alexi Ogando is staying in the bullpen, where he has proven to be a huge weapon. If Wilson pitches Game 1, he would also be able to pitch Game 5 and then be an option out of the bullpen for Game 7 if needed. If Lewis pitches Game 2 and Game 6, both starts will be on the road. He had a 5.54 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington this year and a 3.43 ERA on the road. So far both his playoff starts have been away from Texas. The Rangers will also review the composition of their roster. Changes are likely for the World Series. The Rangers went with four starters and eight relievers in the ALCS, which left them with four bench players. They could drop one pitcher, go back to seven relievers and add a bench player -- possibly catcher Matt Treanor -- for the World Series. There is a potential for four games in the National League city where a designated hitter will not be used. The Rangers will need pinch-hitters off the bench, especially considering how quickly they have been going to their bullpen lately. Adding Treanor frees up Yorvit Torrealba to be the Rangers right-handed pinch-hitter while in the NL city. The Rangers added Yoshinori Tateyama as their eighth reliever for the ALCS, but he only pitched in one game and faced just three batters in a Game 3 loss in Detroit. The Rangers also have to decide if they want to add Mark Lowe to the World Series roster. He was 2-3 with a 3.80 ERA in 52 appearances for the Rangers during the regular season, but hasn't pitched since Sept. 20 because of a strained left hamstring. He threw live batting practice on Friday and had no problems, and said that he's ready to pitch in the World Series. The Rangers also have to decide if they are better off with a pitcher who hasn't appeared in a game in almost a month or staying with Koji Uehara. Uehara has faced 11 batters in the playoffs and allowed five hits -- including three home runs -- and two walks. One annual decision will be easy for the Rangers. Every year the American League team has to figure out a way to get their designated hitter into the lineup for games in the National League city, and the Rangers agonized over that last year with Vladimir Guerrero. They won't have to do that in this World Series. Michael Young will start at first base in all NL city games. Mitch Moreland will be on the bench, and he gives the Rangers a left-handed pinch-hitter with power to use late in the game. For pinch-hitters, Washington will have Torrealba, Craig Gentry and Esteban German from the right side, with Moreland and Endy Chavez from the left side. As a group those five hitters posted a .275 average on the season. With the speed that group also offers, Washington has a deep, balanced and versatile bench to handle the intricacies of the National League game.
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.