Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 10/21/11
The Rangers may or may not have been staring into the abyss with three outs to go on Thursday night, teetering toward an 0-2 World Series deficit, but don't ask them to dwell on those dark images. The American League champs understand only that the Fall Classic looks infinitely more promising, now that they've got home field advantage, a forecast of warmer weather in Texas and with it, images of a weekend-long home run orgy. Make no mistake, the Rangers' come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game 2 has likely changed everything about this Series. Ian Kinsler wasn't exaggerating when he called the ninth-inning rally "huge." Three reasons why. First, like most teams, the Rangers are more dangerous at home than on the road. But the gap was especially wide this season: Their 52 home victories were equaled by the Yankees and Phillies; only Milwaukee won more games at home (57). Second, the Rangers are ready to explode, thanks to a ballpark that practically incubates offense. The Ballpark in Arlington ranked first in the majors in home run park-factor in 2011 (in runs and triples, too), which is why Tony La Russa is certain to use Chris Carpenter in Game 4 on three days rest. The right-hander, who out-pitched C.J. Wilson in Game 1, could be the Cardinals' only hope. Finally, the Rangers are body-surfing a surge of momentum after they methodically broke the Cardinals' hearts in Game 2. No amount of scheming and maneuvering by La Russa could reverse Texas' two-run rally, which left the crowd at Busch Stadium murmuring in disbelief as Neftali Feliz mowed down the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth. La Russa was gracious enough to say his Cardinals were beaten fair and square. He spoke to reporters without bitterness; there were no angry postmortems or excuses other than to point to the Rangers "classic" execution when their season was practically on the line. "They're a good club for a lot of reasons," La Russa said. "They showed in the ninth inning they can play the game correctly when they advanced runners and scored them ... (we're) playing against legitimate competition and when they get the win and beat you, you tip your cap. We did the best we could, they did it better." The Cardinals may have blown a great opportunity to go into Texas with a comfortable two-game lead, but they're not panicking. In fact, they have a feel-good list as well. First, they'll actually get a greater boost than the Rangers from the addition of the designated hitter in Games 3-4-5. Craig Allen, who's delivered two pinch-hit singles in Games 1 and 2, will become the DH. He's far more productive right now than Mitch Moreland, who'll come off the bench to play first base and allow Michael Young to assume Texas' DH duties. The other factor working in the Cardinals favor is knowing Carpenter is healthy -- at least he says he is -- and that his Game 4 appearance will be followed up with a Game 7 start if necessary. Carpenter is by far the Series' most dominant pitcher and figures to benefit from nighttime temperatures near 60 in Arlington -- some 10-12 degrees warmer than when he took the mound in Game 1. Still, there's no getting around the Rangers' overwhelming firepower, which carried them past the Rays and the Tigers. Only the Yankees hit more home runs during the regular season, while only the Red Sox had a higher slugging percentage. It's almost inconceivable that Texas could've been limited to just three runs in the first two games, but apart from the change in weather, how Josh Hamilton responds to even 24 hours of rest could alter the calculus in their favor. Hamilton is playing hurt, as the free world knows. An injured groin, operating at only 50 percent capacity, has severely constricted his torque and hip rotation. Hamilton has been all arms and upper body trying to cope with Carpenter and Jaime Garcia so far. The result? No hits in the Series and no home runs since Sept. 23. Hamilton's .370 slugging percentage in the playoffs is almost 170 points lower than his average in the last four regular seasons. Which is to say, the centerpiece of the Rangers offense has been invisible except for the critical sacrifice fly he lifted against Arthur Rhodes on Thursday, tying the game at 1-1. If the Rangers do end up winning the World Series, they'll look back at Hamilton's at-bat as the turning point moment. Not that he's thinking that far ahead -- Hamilton's idea of bliss is moving without pain for once, even for a single at-bat. Although he'll enjoy the day off, the outfielder gave the Rangers no reason to believe his condition will change radically by Saturday night. "Healthwise, it is what it is. I'm tired of talking about it," Hamilton said. "I'm going to hurt until the season is over. You know, so it's a non-issue as far as talking about it. So stop asking me, please." Don't bother prodding Ron Washington about a change in the lineup, either. "These are the guys who got me here," the manager said, meaning it's status quo from this point forward. The Rangers will hunker down and be thankful for the small blessings that are now before them: nice weather, friendly crowd, home-field advantage over the Series' final five games. Life could be worse.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jarvis Landry stands by prediction that Dolphins will beat Patriots twice

Dak Prescott: No finger-pointing on Cowboys offense

CFL commissioner explains why he blocked team from signing Johnny Manziel

Everson Griffen asks for help naming son after sack

Manny Pacquiao trying to bait Conor McGregor into fighting him

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Watch Chargers punter Drew Kaser somehow miss kicking net on practice attempt

Marvin Jones makes amazing catch in between Vikings defenders

Report: Chip Kelly could make decision by Sunday

Lane Kiffin reportedly would be open to Tennessee return

Jay Cutler reportedly throws passes in practice

Joel Embiid: I'm ‘the best defensive player in the league’

Raiders' fall from grace shows there's more work to be done

NFL Week 12 predictions

College football Week 13 predictions

The 'Getting a leg up on the competition' quiz

Biggest sports turkeys of 2017

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

The '303 yards and a cloud of dust' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Kyrie Irving has unlimited range

Anthony Davis may never escape his biggest flaw

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Raiders' fall from grace shows there's more work to be done

The 'Getting a leg up on the competition' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Kyrie Irving has unlimited range

The '303 yards and a cloud of dust' quiz

Anthony Davis may never escape his biggest flaw

NFL Week 12 predictions

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker