10/28/10 6:34 PM ET
Rangers hope home is where wins are
By Mike Bauman / MLB.com
The Giants have the scoreboard, the 2-0 lead in the Series. The Texas Rangers can find consolation in the fact the Fall Classic scene will shift now from the shores of San Francisco Bay to, for the first time, Arlington.
"With your backs up against the wall, where do you want to be?" Rangers catcher Matt Treanor said. "In front of your home fans."
Lewis produced the performance of an ace in the Game 6 clincher against the Yankees. That kind of thing gives the Rangers a confidence boost in what amounts to a must-win situation for them.
"Colby Lewis, he has swing-and-miss stuff," manager Ron Washington said before the Rangers worked out Friday. "When he's commanding the strike zone, he's as tough as any pitcher in the game. We've needed him twice so far in this postseason, and he's come through, and that's why we're so confident with Colby."
On the Giants' side, Sanchez had a sensational September and had a terrific start against Atlanta in the National League Division Series. His last start in the NLCS against the Phillies, though, included a lack of command and a drop in velocity. The Giants can look upon that as an aberration and Sanchez himself, when asked what he took from that start, replied:
The Giants, meanwhile, did all they could do with the home-field advantage at AT&T Park. They were better in all facets of the game. Two victories were a perfectly logical result for them. Now, the historical postseason numbers give them reasons for even more optimism.
Fifty-two teams have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Fall Classic, with 40 of the previous 51 going on to win the World Series.
Seventeen of the last 25 Fall Classics, starting in 1985, have headed to Game 3 with one team on top, 2-0. Thirteen of those previous 16 leaders went on to win the Series. The 1996 Braves, the 1986 Red Sox and the 1985 Cardinals all started 2-0 but lost the Series.
The home team has taken a 2-0 lead 35 times and has won 28 of those previous 34 Series. Since the 1981 Yankees went up 2-0 at home but lost to the Dodgers, the last 11 home teams that took a 2-0 lead went on to win.
So the first two games and the bulk of World Series history are with the Giants. What the Rangers can hope for is an extremely happy homecoming, with the next three games scheduled for Texas. The Rangers' popularity, with their newfound postseason success, has never been greater. The Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex is widely known as a football hotbed. Fortunately for the Rangers' ascension, the NFL's Dallas Cowboys have cooperated, going a stunning/disappointing 1-5 so far this season.
What does it mean for the Series to come to Arlington?
"Well, I think it will mean everything," Washington said. "It's been 50 years. Our fans are starving for a championship, and they showed up, and they proved it. Once they come to the Ballpark, they're about as loud from the first pitch until the last pitch.
"You know, it's all been football in that area, and it's nice to take a little spotlight away from the football team. That means that we're doing a good thing because we're playing baseball deep into October, hopefully into November. The people are excited. The fans are grasping to a lot of things that the players are doing to make the game fun, and it's nice to see that they can associate with that."
National recognition has eluded the Rangers before now. But beating the Yankees not only got the Rangers into the World Series, it also got them into the national consciousness.
"Well, you know, it was strange, I was watching Jay Leno and he's talking about the World Series and talking about the Texas Rangers, and I'm thinking, 'Gosh, that sounds strange,' " pitching legend and Rangers team president Nolan Ryan said Thursday. "I think that it puts us on the map with a lot of people within the country and within baseball that we've made it to this level. I think we were more of a North Texas type franchise in the past because of the lack of the success that we've had. I think it definitely has a very positive impact on your organization and just on recognition."
What would have an even more positive impact on the public image of the Rangers would be a comeback in the 2010 World Series. The Rangers allowed 20 runs in the first two games of the Series, but they can find some solace in the precedent for that. The last time the Rangers allowed 20 or more runs in back-to-back games was on May 14-15 in 16-6 and 6-0 losses to the Blue Jays in Toronto. They lost again, 5-2, that Sunday to be swept, but then won five in a row at home.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.