SDI Revisited: The Ball Is Hanging In The Air

Napoli
And it is sailing out over the left field fence. Brandon Inge has just hit an 0-2 pitch off Alexi Ogando to tie a pivotal game 4 at three runs apiece. It is the first 0-2 pitch that Ogando has ever allowed out of any ballpark.

The ball is hanging in the air.

And Nelson Cruz is waiting under it with Miguel Cabrera on third, expecting to tag with one out. As the ball drops into the webbing of Cruz’ glove, Cabrera takes off from third, racing home for the go-ahead run. The slow running Cabrera never had a chance when the throw from Cruz arrived just 3.88 seconds later, giving Napoli enough time to brace himself for a home plate collision.

The ball is hanging in the air.

It is off the bat of Mike Napoli. Josh Hamilton is on second and Adrian Beltre is on first, having been intentionally walked. Napoli hits a bloop off the fist pitch, just over the second baseman and falls harmlessly into shallow right-center field. Hamilton speeds home, looking a bit gimpy, but scores a run on the slide. Rangers lead in 11.

The ball is hanging in the air.

Except now it’s hanging for a long, long time. It is off of the bat of Nelson Cruz, whose fabled “Boomstick” has come to life in a big way. In a second 11th inning in this series, Cruz hits the ball seemingly to the moon and scores some big time insurance runs.

A friend called Nelson Cruz; an insurance salesman.

And that’s exactly what he has been. Adding big-time hits in big-time pressure situations. And even bigger than his big bat was his cannon of an arm. The frozen rope he threw to Napoli to deny the Tigers a late-inning lead did as much to breathe life into the Rangers as any other moment in the game.

The Rangers lead is now three games to one. Justin Verlander is on deck to face CJ Wilson in game five.

We all know the stakes. The Rangers must win one game to get to the World Series. The Tigers must win three.

Each game has been incredibly close, the score be damned. Every pitch seems to have the entire series riding on it. The Rangers have yet to have a dominant start from any pitcher other than Colby Lewis during game three against Tampa Bay.

This team just seems to find a way to win. As I’ve said before, nothing is written in the stars and nothing is promised. So it’s time for the Rangers to go out and take it.

The ball is hanging in the air.

Or is it a trophy? 

Mike McGehee is a co-founder and Senior Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. He is also the co-host of “Chin Music”. He can be reached at Mike.McGehee@ShutdownInning.com or on Twitter @SDIMikeMcGehee.
Mike McGehee

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