Rangers starter Colby Lewis will have a slight case of déjà vu when he takes the mound Thursday night against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in Game 6 of the World Series.
The 32-year-old Lewis eliminated the New York Yankees by tossing eight stellar innings in Game 6 of the 2010 ALCS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to help Texas advance to the World Series.
Now, he has the opportunity a year later to lead the Rangers to their first ever World Series title when he battles southpaw Jamie Garcia and a St. Louis squad looking to force a Game 7.
“When you’re a kid, you always want to be in this position,” Lewis said. “I think being in the situation we were in last year during the playoffs gives you more of an edge and relaxation. You know what is expected and how to react to certain things. The biggest thing for me is to go out, compete and give my team a quality start. If I do that, we’ll be right where we need to be.”
Lewis and Garcia went head-to-head in Game 2 with strong outings.
However, neither factored into the decision, as Josh Hamilton and Michael Young led Texas to a 2-1 victory with ninth-inning sacrifice flies.
Lewis’ consistency in the 2011 postseason has slipped under the radar, especially with Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli doing their part at the plate, as well as Derek Holland making headlines by yielding just two hits over 8 1/3 innings in Game 4.
He is 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA over 18 1/3 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .191 batting average in three starts this postseason.
Lewis said the Rangers must keep it simple on Thursday and hold back emotions — knowing they’re one game away from winning it all.
“It’s very exciting,” Lewis said. “That’s for sure. We have two games to do it. We definitely want to get it done as soon as possible. We have to hold emotions back and focus on the job we need to do. We’re going to do what we’ve been doing all year long.”
Skipper Ron Washington couldn’t be more proud and credits his players and coaches for staying focused and executing their roles.
“It’s like anything else,” Washington said. “When you start a baseball season, it all starts in Spring Training. You do the things you think it will take on a daily basis to be successful. You become fortunate enough that your players execute the things you ask them to do and get focused on the things it’s going to take to be successful. When they do that, it makes you proud. It makes you proud of your coaching staff. You delegate to them. They have to apply it to the players, and the players have to accept it and get it done. It works for the Texas Rangers. My players get along with my coaches. My coaches get along with my players. I get along with everyone involved.
As far as being close to winning a World Series title, we know where we are and I know where we are. Our focus is on Game 6 and trying to play the very best possible game we can. We’ll try to execute to what the game asks us to do. We’ll try to play the type of game that we know we’re capable of playing. That is pitch, catch and run the bases, if the opportunities present themselves. We’ll try to take advantage of opportunities that is given to us and limit opportunities that we can give to our opposition.
“All of those things come into play. That’s the mindset. It’s not, ‘Well, we have got to win this game.’ Yeah, we want to win, but we have to play to win the game. If we come out and play the way we’ve been playing and do the things the game asks to do, the results take care of themselves. We can’t make the results. We’ve got to play between the lines and the results happen.”
Major League Baseball postponed Game 6 Wednesday night and decided to reschedule it for Thursday night due to a wet forecast.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.
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