Five outs from elimination, Rays remember winning formula
ARLINGTON, Texas -- They came early. Earlier than they'd ever come for a baseball game. On a hot Saturday afternoon, they lined up behind the tall steel gates an hour before they would open. They squeezed into the ballpark wearing the blue and red T-shirts and holding white towels and brooms with deer antlers tied to them. The Rangers faithful came for a baseball game, yes, but they also came for a party.
Late into Game 3 of the AL Division Series between the Rangers and Rays, the party -- a celebration of Texas' first-ever postseason series victory -- looked inevitable. When
And then, slowly ... the Tampa Bay Rays, for the first time in the series, began resembling the Tampa Bay Rays. On Saturday morning, Tampa's mad professor,
In a little more than 12 hours, both teams would be back at the ballpark again for Game 4. Suddenly, with the Rays now just one win from bringing this series back to Tampa for a winner-take-all Game 5, the pressure may very well be on the Rangers. Texas is now 0-5 in home playoff games, and has scored a total of just nine runs in those five games. The Rays got to Feliz, the gun-slinging rookie who was so dominant in the regular season but suddenly looked hittable under the October lights.
It's difficult to say who has the edge in Sunday's game with two young pitchers, Texas'
Maddon has confidence in his 25-year-old rookie. "He's kind of cold-blooded," the skipper said Saturday morning. "On an off-day in Toronto, the boys went bear hunting, and Wade was the only one that came back with the 300-plus pound black bear. If he can stay eye-to-eye with a black bear, I think tomorrow is not that big of a deal."
And so it'll be the Bear Hunter and "Big Game" Hunter in Game 4. The Rangers faithful will be back at the ballpark, now wondering if there will be any party at all.