Cards, Rangers looking for hits in World Series
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Nelson Cruz, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton got plenty of hits to put their teams into the World Series. Now that they're here, the big-bopping trio has become a virtual zero. A combined 1 for 19, held to a mere single by Cruz.
The rest of the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers haven't done much better while splitting the first two games.
So far, a total of just eight runs. The last time there were fewer through the opening two games at a Series? Try 1950, when Joe DiMaggio and the New York Yankees combined with Philadelphia for four.
"A lot of people thought this was going to be an offensive World Series,"Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus observed before Friday's workout.
Blame the slump on a few factors: raw weather at Busch Stadium, good pitching and, perhaps most significantly, hitters facing arms they've never seen before.
Both teams have flailed away at the plate, chasing sliders and curves that bounced, shattering bats and seeming to guess wrong on what pitches were coming next.
"We need to give good at-bats and get deeper and quit swinging at balls out of the strike zone," Mike Napoli said.
Napoli has hit the lone home run of the Series. He connected off Chris Carpenter, but maybe he had an edge - Napoli had been 3 for 3 lifetime against the Cardinals ace going into Game 1.
The hitting woes are a repeat for the Rangers. They batted .190 last season when they lost the World Series in five games to San Francisco.
"Those Giants pitchers, they were awfully good," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "When a pitcher is on, you just don't have any offense. It's a testament to the first two games in this Series."
Fresh off their two-run rally in the ninth inning and a 2-1 win in Game 2, the Rangers start Matt Harrison on Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark. Kyle Lohse will pitch for the Cardinals.
"It's a tough place to pitch, especially when you see those flags blowing in. It usually means that jet stream is going to right-center," Lohse said. "I think everyone in the league knows that."
Each team adds a designated hitter, with the AL rule in effect at Texas. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa will make Lance Berkman the DH and put Allen Craig - already with a pair of key pinch-hit RBI singles - in right field.
The Rangers will likely use Michael Young at DH, move Napoli to first base and put Yorvit Torrealba at catcher.
At this point, it might take more than a wind tunnel to help the hitters.
Texas is batting only .186, St. Louis is stuck at .203. Hamilton and Pujols are hitless, and Cruz has been held to a mere single after tearing through the AL championship series.
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