The 2011 World Series provided some great memories for both the St. Louis Cardinals and even the Texas Rangers. Unfortunately, the series was affected by two things: a stupid decision by Bud Selig and a costly mistake by Ron Washington.
I support Bud Selig and MLB in adding more playoff teams and in moving the Houston Astros to the American League so that there are 15 teams in each league. But the fact that the All Star game determines which league has home field advantage in the World Series is just ridiculous. What is the point in playing 162 regular season games if that won’t be the deciding factor as to which team has home field advantage? In the 2011 season the Rangers won 96 games and the AL West division; the Cardinals won 90 games and made the playoffs as a wild card team. In no right mind should a wild card team have home field advantage over a division winner, especially when the division winner won more games during the regular season.
I am a huge Ron Washington fan and have been since he became the manager of the Rangers, but I can’t say that I support his decision of starting Matt Harrison over Derek Holland in the World Series deciding Game 7. Harrison started Game 3 for the Rangers and that game turned out to be a massacre as the Cardinals beat Texas 16-7. Now I’m not blaming the whole game on Harrison because it is a team game, but it was clear St. Louis got the best of Harrison. Derek Holland started Game 4 for the Rangers and he ended up throwing 8 1/3 scoreless innings; it was clear that Holland dominated the Cardinals.
I love that Wash believes in his players, but when the World Series is on the line you have to go with the hot hand and clearly Holland was pitching better than Harrison at that point. I know people blame the blown call during Game 3 that got the Cardinals off and running, but the fact is that Holland shut down the hot Cardinals. Rangers know all too well how hot pitching can shut down a hot hitting line up; they learned this the hard way in the 2010 World Series when the San Francisco Giants shut the Rangers down.
The 2011 World Series was a great series, but it hurts as a Rangers’ fan that they didn’t win the World Series; especially when Texas came within one strike of winning it all twice in Game 6. The Texas Rangers are favorites to make it back to the World Series and as all Rangers’ fans are hoping, I too am hoping they win it all this season.