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Lewis tries to pitch Rangers to Game 2 victory
By: Nick Bracken - StatFox
Published: 10/20/2011  at  9:37:00 AM
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World Series Game 2 - St. Louis leads series 1-0
First pitch: Thursday, 8:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Texas -115, St. Louis +105, Total: 8

The Rangers will try to get their bats going and even the World Series against the Cardinals on Thursday night at Busch Stadium. St. Louis took Game 1 of a low-scoring, 3-2 pitchers’ duel led by ace Chris Carpenter on Wednesday night.

Getting the nod for Game 2 for the Rangers will be Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40 ERA in regular season). Lewis has been terrific in the postseason in his career, going 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA in six playoff starts. The Cardinals will send lefty Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56 ERA in regular season) to the mound. Garcia has only lasted 8.2 innings in his past two starts combined, but pitched well enough in his most recent short start in Game 5 of the NLCS, where he gave up just one run over 4.2 innings. One statistic that is very important, especially in the playoffs, is how teams bounce back after losses. Texas has been fantastic at exactly that, going 43-25 (63%) after a loss and 24-10 (71%) after a loss by two runs or less. The Rangers also have been very hard to beat when they’re favored to win, going 81-47 (63%). With Texas usually bouncing back nicely after close losses, the Cards have not been so successful coming off close wins, where they are just 39-42 (48%) after a win of two runs or less in the past two years. Stringing together long win streaks also hasn’t been too common for St. Louis considering it is 42-52 (45%) after winning 2+ consecutive games in the past two seasons. The Rangers understand how difficult it is to climb out of an 0-2 hole, and they won’t put themselves in that situation with the pitching edge. The pick for Thursday is TEXAS on the road.

Some more FoxSheets trends for Texas include this pair:

Play On - Road teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (TEXAS) - good baserunning team - averaging 0.85 or more SB's/game on the season, in October games. (34-14 since 1997.) (70.8%, +21.4 units. Rating = 2*).

TEXAS is 61-31 (66.3%, +18.3 Units) against the money line vs. teams averaging 2.75 or less extra base hits per game in the second half of the season this season. The average score was TEXAS 5.9, OPPONENT 4.0 - (Rating = 1*).

Lewis got roughed up in Game 3 of the ALCS, allowing four runs and eight hits over just 5.2 innings. Luckily for the righty, he will be pitching on the road where is ERA was a considerably better 3.43 than his home ERA of 5.54 during the regular season. Lewis hasn’t had too much work against any of the Cardinals, but has done a nice job with switch-hitting slugger Lance Berkman. Berkman, who had two of the team’s three RBI in Game 1, is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his career versus Lewis. The Rangers only had six hits in Wednesday’s loss as the 2-3-4 heart of the order (Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young) went 0-for-11 with three strikeouts. Nelson Cruz finally came back to earth on Wednesday with a modest 1-for-3 and the game-ending fly out.

Garcia is very happy to be pitching at home for Game 2 where he went 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA during the regular season (4-3, 4.61 ERA on the road). Tony La Russa gained a lot of confidence in Garcia after he got hot at the end of the season, going 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA in September which carried over to his first start in the NLDS, where he threw seven innings and allowed three runs on six hits. The lefty will also be a new arm to basically every Rangers batter as only backup catchers Matt Treanor (1-for-4) and Yorvit Torrealba (0-for-2) have ever faced the 25-year-old Garcia.

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