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Back, by popular demand, is today's ALDS Game 4 open thread as the Rangers try to finish out the Rays following last night's epic nail-biter -- so nerve-wracking even Nolan Ryan said it was "as stressful a game as I've sat through." Before we get to first pitch, once more we turn our attention to the random thoughts of Noted Local Baseball Expert Jamey Newberg, whose official recap of Rangers 4, Rays 3 serves as this afternoon's must-read (as in: "Both of Napoli's hits, naturally, came with two strikes. He hit .291 with two strikes this season, second best in baseball, after hitting .149 in those situations in 2010. His two-strike slug was .509 this year and his OPS was .887, both tops in the big leagues").
Jamey's at the Trop at this very moment, where it's far from a packed house, and sends these freshly minted observations:
Joe Maddon re Evan Longoria's tough Game 3: "It's not going to be an oil painting every night." (Reporter noted Longo left postgame clubhouse quickly.)
Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine on with Ben and Skin said the Rangers could get creative in late innings today. Translation: Derek Holland perhaps?
Tremendously sparse crowd 40 minutes before first pitch. Weekday day game + "if necessary" status at 1st + elim game now = bad formula?
Josh Hamilton on Mike Napoli (and Adrian Beltre) replacing Vlad's production: "We're gonna look at who we can get from the Angels next year."
Bizarre. Trop showing Meatballs scene on video board: "It just doesn't matter if we win or we lose! It just doesn't matter!" (Uh, what?)
Answers forthcoming as we head to the comments for first pitch, coming down in mere minutes.