Growing up watching the World Series, I have always loved the big moments, where we all know something incredible has happened, and the booth goes silent so we can listen to the crowd react as we sit on our couches and take in the magic of October. Those are the best part of baseball to me, but never had I gotten to see the Rangers in one.
Until last night, though, one of those moments had never involved a Ranger. Derek Holland's standing ovation as he walked off the mound was the kind of think Texas fans have long waited for, and it was special. While Joe Buck gets a lot of (deserved) criticism, he does no when to shut up and let the crowd take over, and it made the ovation all the better.
You could argue what happened last night was the best game ever pitched by a Texas Ranger. It was not quite as dominant as a couple of Cliff Lee's starts last season, but given the danger of the lineup and the championship leverage of the situation, it deserves a ton of consideration.
It's obvious the game affected the complexion of the World Series. Here is what the model used from the series preview says about it:
- The win did not just tie the series, the model says it made them once again the favorites to take home the trophy. The Rangers now come out as 61% to win the World Series. Not quite as strong as it looked before the series or coming to Arlington, but still comfortable favorites. They currently need "merely" to win a three game series with Kyle Lohse starting one game, and the other at home. Of course, they are also playing a good team.
- The loss would have dropped them down to 18% to win. You knew Holland's start was huge, but if you needed some idea of the leverage, there you go.
- Tomorrow's game comes out dramatically in favor of Texas, just like the one they lost 16-7 (though closer). A win does not actually bump the percentage as much as you might hope, as a result. Only 77% since they should be expected to win, and then go on the road.
- A loss and the chances of winning it all plummet to 27%.
Obviously, the loser of game five will be facing elimination from here on out. For most of the rest of the fans of baseball, it is probably happy to have a series going on that looks like it should be exciting. We haven't gotten those very often lately. For Rangers fans, game five will likely be the most stressful event in franchise history. The meaningful difference between winning and losing is something we have never experienced before.
By the way, this will also be the first time Tony LaRussa has ever managed a World Series game six.