11/01/10 1:30 AM ET
Frustrated, yes, but Rangers aren't lying down
With Lee ready for Game 5, Texas confident about heading west
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
The magnificent center fielder qualifies as something of an authority on the subject, and it came up on Sunday night in the home clubhouse at Rangers Ballpark.
"That's what builds character," Hamilton said. "It's how you respond to it, not the adversity itself."
The atmosphere isn't exactly festive in his environment at the moment, but kindly keep in mind that these are the Rangers, no strangers to crisis management.
This is the bunch that rolled through the titans of Tampa Bay and New York, both American League East powers severely testing Texas' will in the process. These Rangers will look you in the eyes and tell you they are not about to roll over for anybody -- including the Giants of San Francisco, seemingly destiny's chosen ones.
Down to its final 27 outs after getting hog-tied by young Madison Bumgarner in Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday night, manager Ron Washington's Texas outfit isn't preparing any concession speeches.
"If you don't have confidence we can win, you should stay home," catcher Bengie Molina said following a 4-0 silencing by Bumgarner, with his deception, and closer Brian Wilson, with his heat. "I'm very confident we can win three games.
"Is it going to happen? It'll happen on the field. We have [Cliff] Lee, C.J. [Wilson] and Colby [Lewis]. I don't know the future, but I'm very confident."
It might be a road less traveled -- only five clubs have rebounded from a 1-3 deficit to win a modern seven-game World Series -- but these Rangers are familiar with challenging paths and how to negotiate them by now.
In their ace, Lee, the Rangers trust. They can't see the man with the precision arm enduring back-to-back subpar outings. Lee goes against Tim Lincecum in a rematch of Game 1, an improbable 11-7 San Francisco triumph. Lee lasted 4 2/3 innings, Lincecum 5 2/3.
IT CAN BE DONE
The Rangers jumped on "The Freak" early but let him off the hook in three of five innings before sending him off with a two-out, two-run rally in the sixth.
"In the back of his mind," Hamilton said, "he's going to be fired up, knowing we scored some runs off him. Having Cliff in an elimination game is great. We know what he can do."
If the offense delivers and Lee gives them life, the Rangers will return to San Francisco knowing they have the ability to quiet unfriendly crowds. They began this postseason taking their first five road tests, three in St. Petersburg and two in New York.
San Francisco can be inhospitable, but Yankees fans wrote the book on disruptive behavior long ago.
"We know have to do more offensively," said Ian Kinsler, who walked and was robbed of a hit by left fielder Cody Ross in three Game 4 at-bats. "We have to do better. We know that.
"There's nothing to be deflated about. We're in the World Series. Either we win Game 5 or we pack and go home. There's nothing else to talk about."
Nelson Cruz, whose 12 extra-base hits are a postseason record, contributed one of Texas' three hits, a single on a bullet through the middle in the seventh.
"We have the kind of offense that we can score five, six runs," Cruz said. "They have good pitching, no doubt. It's been hard for our offense to get going. I'm really surprised. I don't expect us to be shut down twice -- especially at home.
"We are a good team. We are capable of winning three in a row. We've got the pitching and offense to do it."
"It's tough to go down 3-1," Hamilton said. "But if you're down 3-1, it's good to play at home. It gives you a little advantage. And it's good to have Cliff Lee on your side."
Fighting through adversity, Hamilton for certain can testify, is never easy.
It wasn't easy for the Rangers against the Rays in the AL Division Series. Taking Games 3 and 4 in Texas, Tampa Bay sent the show back to Florida with momentum and all the home dome advantages.
The Rangers stood tall and strong behind Lee, the sheriff, and sent the club with the best record in the AL off on an early winter vacation.
The Yankees cruised into Rangers Ballpark for the AL Championship Series on a high, having swept the Twins and overcame an early five-run Game 1 deficit to prevail.
Their mettle tested again, the Rangers claimed Game 2, took two of three in the Bronx, outscoring the Yanks, 18-3, and knocked out the Bronx Bombers in a decisive Game 6 at home.
"This is more like that Game 5 when we had to go back to [St. Petersburg] than what happened against New York," Hamilton said. "Cliff gave us a great game and we scored [five] runs. We need to kind of feed off each other -- one guy get a hit, build off it. The snowball effect.
"We're probably frustrated a little bit. We know how we're capable of playing. In the postseason, it's the team that stays the hottest and is the hottest that is going to win."
Michael Young, the Rangers' longtime leader, was firm in his conviction that all things remain possible.
"We're going to have to do it the hard way now," Young said. "Everything revolves around Game 5. It's not over."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.