Rangers Manager Ron Washington, left, congratulates pitcher Derek Holland,… (Steve Mitchell / US Presswire )
Reporting from St. Louis -- Ron Washington rolled the dice again. Only this time, the Texas manager may have come up with snake eyes.
Washington has challenged convention throughout the World Series, but since he emptied his bullpen by using eight pitchers in Game 6 on Thursday, his already fatigued relievers would appear to have little to give in the decisive seventh game Friday.
Left-hander Derek Holland, who came within two outs of a two-hit shutout in Game 4, would have been a candidate to start Game 7. But he pitched two innings Thursday, leaving left-hander Matt Harrison as Washington's only option.
"We'll bounce back," Washington said. "We've been in some tough situations before. We've always responded, and I expect us to respond tomorrow."
The Cardinals also went through their bullpen, using seven pitchers. The difference, however, is that St. Louis was facing a must-win situation whereas the Rangers were protecting a one-game lead, meaning they had a tomorrow if they needed it.
Now the Rangers could be dealing with injury problems Friday. Josh Hamilton, who has played the whole series on one leg, might have aggravated his strained left groin racing from first to score in the fifth. And Mike Napoli (ankle) and Nelson Cruz (groin) also appeared to injure themselves Thursday, with Cruz coming out of the game in the final inning.
"I didn't want to take the chance and run him back out there," Washington said of Cruz, whose seventh-inning home run gave the Rangers a two-run lead. "I haven't had anything from the medical department as to the seriousness of it, but we'll just have to wait and see how everything is tomorrow."
The Cardinals, meanwhile, could be without outfielder Matt Holliday, who left the game after injuring his hand diving back to third base in the sixth inning.
"We thought at first he had fractured it, but I was told by the trainer later on that it's not a fracture," Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa said. "But I think it's swelling and he's got a pretty good bruise there.
"So it may be we need to replace him for tomorrow."
Since a wild-card round was added to the playoff format in 1995, the World Series has gone to seven games only three times — most recently in 2002, when the Angels beat the San Francisco Giants.
From 1969 through 1993, under the two-round format, the Series went to a Game 7 on 10 occasions.
Show me the money
Even the tiny handful of St. Louis residents who don't care about the Cardinals were rooting Thursday for the team to extend the World Series to Game 7. And with reason, since each Series date is estimated to be worth more than $2.5 million to the city's economy.
That's according to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. Regionally, each game is said to be generating about $6 million in revenue, said Ruth Sergenian, chief economist for the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Assn.
Tourist-related industries such as restaurants, hotels and taxi services are typically the biggest winners in such events. But sporting goods stores in the St. Louis area are also doing well selling Cardinals World Series merchandise.
Even a seven-game Series wouldn't match the impact the 2009 All-Star game had on the area. Sergenian said the weeklong activities surrounding that event were worth an estimated $60 million.