Advance scouting plays part in success

ST. LOUIS -- Before each game this season, the Rangers' batters receive a sheet complete with each pitcher's tendencies and how they've pitched to each of them before. The pitchers get a form explaining the opposing team's hitters past performances and what pitches and locations might work to get them out.

It's all part of the job of the advance scouting department for the Rangers. And that work is even more important in the postseason.

"All the information is here," outfielder Nelson Cruz said. "We get all the information we need to try to help us play better and make the right decisions."

Cruz points out it isn't just offense, either. The coaching staff is able to get reads on where to shade fielders and many times in these playoffs, the Rangers have been in better position to catch balls or make defensive plays because of the work of those scouts.

But entering this World Series, the job gets tougher. The Rangers haven't played the Cardinals since 2004 in Arlington. Most of the club's pitchers haven't seen the Cardinals hitters and most of the Rangers' hitters haven't faced Cardinal pitching.

"They've done an outstanding job," manager Ron Washington said. "Everything that we discussed at some point we saw materialize. It certainly helped us out tremendously."

The club started scouting potential NL opponents in September. They did the same with the AL, though they know those teams a bit better since the Rangers see them more often.

Josh Boyd is director of professional scouting and is assisted by Matt Klotsche. Adam Lewkowicz worked on all of the advance work as did Conor Brooks, who does advance work and sets up videos in the clubhouseon every trip. Joey Prebynski also is a big part of that video work. They coordinate a team that included:

* Tampa Bay advance work: Scott Littlefield, John Booher, Kevin Cash

* Detroit: Mickey White, Todd Walther

* St. Louis: Clarence Johns, Mike Grouse, Greg Smith

* It's worth noting that you have to have a group of scouts work on every team, so Mike Anderson and Scot Engler scouted Milwaukee and Russ Ardolina handled Philadelphia.

In a series dominated by so many storylines, the advance scouts can get lost. But they are crucial to any team's success and that's even more true when you're playing a team that you haven't faced in seven years.