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Rangers, Cardinals Tied Going Into Game 3


Time now for sports.


SIMON: The World Series moves to Texas tonight, with the Rangers and the Cardinals tied at one game each. A ninth-inning rally pushed the Rangers past the St. Louis Cardinals in game two on Thursday. NPR's Mike Pesca will be at the ballpark in Arlington tonight for game three.

Mike, thanks for being with us.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: You're welcome.

SIMON: And, look, we promise not to pull you if it looks like you can't handle the question. OK? Don't worry about that.

PESCA: I'm going to go deep into the fourth question of this interview?


SIMON: Let's explain what we're talking about. Tony La Russa, the St. Louis Cardinals manager - who after game one was spoken of reverentially, almost as if he was a nuclear scientist for all the moves he'd made in game one - comes out of game two looking like a goat.

PESCA: Way too much credit always goes to the manager. What Tony La Russa did well in game one was he pinch hit effectively. He out - or the Cardinals out pinch hit the Rangers, and that indeed turned out to be the difference in the game.

But in game two, La Russa lifted his relief pitcher, Jason Motte, who had only given up one hit in ten innings of the playoff at that point, but he wasn't pitching that great. And he lifted Jason Motte. And Josh Hamilton delivered an RBI sacrifice fly. And that tied the game. And then the Rangers went on to win it by a 2-1 score.

The first two games have been excellent. They've been tight, they've been well-pitched, and what's surprising, unlike the playoffs thus far, starting pitchers have indeed gone deep into games because La Russa and Washington, the manager of the Rangers, were both lifting their starters after five innings or four innings sometimes and streaming a bunch of relievers. But we've got more traditional; let's see how late the starters can go and only lift them if we need a pinch hitter or if they get into trouble.

SIMON: Can you see the difference in the designated hitter rule between the two leagues playing a role so far?

PESCA: Well, normally it does, because the American League team, they play with a designated hitter and so they usually have someone on the roster who is well suited to that role. But it turns out that the Cardinals in Allen Craig, who delivered the game-winning RBI in game one, he will make an excellent designated hitter. Or, they could put him in the outfield and put Matt Holliday or one of their big lumbering outfielders in the designated hitter role. So, I don't think it'll be such a disadvantage to the Cardinals and I do think that these games in Arlington will have more offense. Of course, you can hardly have less offense than we've seen in games one and two.

SIMON: And, my gosh, that's a home run happy park, isn't it? And the weather's going to be warm I read. It's, like, going to be in the 60s or something.

PESCA: I hope so because I pack that way.

SIMON: Let's talk about football quickly. Four teams are going to be fielding new quarterbacks this weekend, including the Oakland Raiders. They got Carson Palmer in a deal with the Bengals. Usually when we see this many quarterbacks, there are injuries, but something else going on here.

PESCA: Right. There are actually a few reasons why the different quarterbacks are there. In the case of Washington, Rex Grossman is the guy who won the job out of training camp - was just no good - so they put in John Beck. In the case of Minnesota, Christian Ponder is the first-round draft pick and the team wasn't doing well. Donovan McNabb, who had been their quarterback, the veteran, wasn't that terrible but they just figured we're one in five. We're not playing for this year. Let's let the young guy go. In Denver, Tim Tebow is the quarterback. I'm fascinated by Tim Tebow. If he succeeds in the NFL, he will be the first guy who is that inaccurate and that unable to make basic NFL passes who has succeeded in years and years and years. But, you know, I don't put it past him. He was one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all time. And what we're talking about with the Raiders is that they're having a good year, unlike all the other teams we're talking about. They are 4-2, they can make the playoffs, but Jason Campbell, their starter, was lost for the season last weekend. The Raiders went out and traded for Carson Palmer, who refused to play for the Bengals. And now they may not start this game - he may - but he's going to be their quarterback for the future. The Raiders gave up many high draft picks to get him. It is a big risk for the silver and black.

SIMON: NPR's sports correspondent Mike Pesca. Thanks so much.

PESCA: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.