ST. LOUIS -- A lot has been made about the Cardinals' 8-for-43 showing with runners in scoring position thus far in the World Series but a bigger issue might be the 4-for-37 output of the top two players in their lineup. Rafael Furcal, just 3 for 20, stays in the leadoff slot tonight but Skip Schmaker moves into the No. 2 hole, where John Jay and Allen Craig have gone 1 for 18.
Furcal and Schumaker have to get on base to force the Texas Rangers to pitch to Albert Pujols. Absent anyone on, Pujols will see very little good to hit and may simply be walked intentionally ad nauseum.
"We have to occupy first base," Schumaker said this afternoon in the pregame interview room. "That's the No. 1 goal for me and Raffy because of how they do pitch Albert. Obviously last game shows they're not going to pitch to him at all, even with guys not on base. It's probably pretty smart. We're talking about the best hitter in the game.
"If I'm hitting second, which I am tonight, usually they're not trying to walk you, I know that. Because they don't want that base to be occupied, and that means they have to pitch to him. It's a different spot in the lineup. It's usually a place where Tony [La Russa] puts guys to get hot during the season because they see more pitches to hit. "
Schumaker said the Cards aren't fazed by being in a win-or-go-home scenario. They've basically been in one since the end of August.
"We had to face Doc [Roy Halladay] and Roy [Oswalt] to win the Philly series when we were down and that was as tough as anything for us," Schumaker said. "We pulled through with that. We've been backed into a corner for the last two months and I don't think this changes that at all and luckily for us, we have been backed into that corner, so we know what it feels like.
"This is the type of team that's pretty resilient. I've never been on a team like this before, and I'm just real happy to be a part of something like this and hopefully it can continue."
"I think that's one plus we have going for us," added La Russa. "We've played this game - literally we've played it a couple, three times, and there have been a bunch of other times we knew we couldn't lose another game that soon."
La Russa said still no decision on a Game Seven starter, although he admitted Chris Carpenter is in the mix.
More to come following the Rangers' pregame sessions with manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels.