This is going to sound a little odd, but I believe that I'm just about analysis'd out. Seriously. I don't know what else I can say about this series at this point, and I don't really have an appropriate pep talk stored up inside of me. I had a feeling -- not that this is worth much, mind you -- before this series that we'd see at least a Game 6 out of it, and, well, here we are, with today's narrative revolving around Derek Holland needing to grow up and flash the dominance that he flashed with such regularity over the final three months of the regular season.
But while I don't really have any strong analysis or words of encouragement to share, there are a couple of things that do occur to me this morning: first, if the Rangers are ever going to invoke the short hook, Game 6 -- and Game 7, if it comes to that -- represent the appropriate times to do it. Despite Max Scherzer's reasonably solid effort (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR) against Texas back in Game 2, I harbor no concerns whatsoever about this offense's ability to score runs, or about this team's sense of resiliency within the context of either a single game or an entire playoff series, or about the front end of the bullpen being able to clamp down on a lead entrusted to it by the big bats.
What I do worry about, however, is the starting pitching burying this thing. About a rattled Holland getting hammered for 4-5 runs -- or more, obviously -- before the Rangers' lights-out bullpen is prepared to come riding to the rescue. That can't happen, and, given that tonight's Game 6 matchup portends more favorably for Texas on paper than that looming Game 7 matchup between a chronically homer-prone Colby Lewis and Doug Fister, I would suggest that tonight represents the more favorable opportunity to finish the Tigers off. I'm patient with Derek Holland, but I'm not patient enough in a post-season setting to see him get extended much leash if things begin to unravel early on.
The same line of thinking applies in an all-hands-on-deck Game 7, where you'll still have a reasonably rested bullpen -- or at least one that shouldn't be fully torched by Game 6 -- and Matt Harrison available on three days' rest. Lewis has a good post-season track record, and he seems to bristle at the notion of the short hook ... but neither one of those factors is sufficient justification for sticking with him if things don't start well. Deal with a bruised ego later, if you're fortunate enough to still be playing later.
It's time to end this thing.