Lewis, Moreland get Rangers right back into World Series

Texas Rangers' Mitch Moreland (R) is congratulated by teammates Bengie Molina and Nelson Cruz (L) after hitting a three RBI home run against the San Francisco Giants in the second inning during Game 3 of Major League Baseball's World Series in Arlington, Texas October 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Here are five quick-hit observations from the Rangers’ 4-2 win over the Giants in Game 3 of the World Series. The victory cut San Fran’s series lead to 2-1.

1. Colby Lewis brilliant yet again in key situation.
Lewis is now perfect in his last three postseason starts, recording two wins against the Yankees and one Saturday night versus the Giants. Until Cody Ross took him deep in the seventh, Lewis was nearly unhittable. On the night he allowed just two runs on five hits while striking out six in 7.2 innings of work. The Rangers absolutely needed to have this game and Lewis was unfazed by the pressure of pitching in a World Series with his team down two games to none.

2. Ron Washington fortunate that 8th inning blunder didn’t cost Rangers.
Washington’s lack of experience showed in the eighth inning when he left Lewis in after he gave up a home run to Andres Torres to make the score 4-2. Closer Neftali Feliz wasn’t warmed up and instead of bringing in a relief pitcher after Torres went yard, Washington stuck with Lewis and the starter wound up hitting Aubrey Huff to bring the tying runner to the plate. Fortunately for Washington and the Rangers, Darren O’Day got Buster Posey to ground out to short or else this night could have ended in disaster. Washington should have made the change after Torres hit his home run and certainly should have had Feliz warming up in case the closer needed to pitch multiple innings.

3. The Giants are in trouble if this series goes seven games.
The reason is that Jonathan Sanchez would likely be their starter for Game 7, which isn’t good given his last three appearances this postseason. After lasting just two innings in Game 6 of the NLCS, Sanchez followed up that performance on Saturday night by throwing only 4.2 innings while giving up four runs on six hits. He also walked three batters and gave up two dingers, one of which put the Giants in 3-0 hole after Mitch Moreland went deep in the second. Josh Hamilton then went yard in the fifth to put Texas up 4-0 and Sanchez was pulled shortly thereafter. After a fantastic outing in Game 3 of the ALDS, Sanchez has fallen apart. He had a solid regular season, but he’s started to revert back to the pitcher that loses his cool and succumbs to pressure situations. If Tim Lincecum pitches Game 5 and Matt Cain Game 6, then Sanchez would pitch Game 7 if this series lasts that long. That has to be a concern for Bruce Bochy and company, even if they won’t admit it now.

4. The Giants have to sit Pat Burrell.
Burrell is one of the reasons why the Giants are in the World Series and his experience has kept him in the lineup to this point. But the guy is brutal right now and looks completely overmatched. After striking out four times on Saturday, he’s now 0-9 with eight strikeouts against Texas. Bruce Bochy can’t continue to write Burrell’s name in at the cleanup spot with this kind of production. Nate Schierholtz has primarily been a backup all season, but he would give the Giants another lefty in the lineup and he would dramatically upgrade their defense. Bochy has to make a switch because Burrell just doesn’t have it right now.

5. If Nefatli Feliz was nervous, he certainly fooled me.
As Joe Buck and Tim McCarver noted in the broadcast, there had to be some concern for the Rangers about how the 22-year-old Feliz would perform in his first World Series. But after he threw a 96 mph heater to the first batter he faced in the 9th inning, that concern had to fly out the window. He retired all three batters he faced in order and struck out Pat Burrell and Juan Uribe (two home run threats when they’re on) on straight cheddar. What an impressive World Series debut by the youngster.

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