The Texas Rangers defeated the New York Yankees on Friday night in Arlington Texas. I have to say up front that I predicted the Yankees to win this series in 6 or 7 games not because of any lack of respect for the Rangers who I actually believed to be the better team but because of how well the Yankees played in the 2009 post season especially against the Angels in the ALCS when the Angels had dominated the Yankees in the regular season. That being said my first playoff prediction of this season has gone down the tubes but it really doesn’t bother me because in my heart I was pulling for the Rangers to take the American League and the World Series if the Phillies come back against the Giants this weekend to take the NL Pennant. If the Giants win the Pennant of course I will be cheering them on but I will analyze the hell out of the series and make my predictions accordingly.
The Yankees rolled into Arlington having escaped elimination at the “house that George built” on Wednesday night. The Rangers set the tone early against Yankees starter Phil Hughes with Elvis Andrus slamming a leadoff double and scoring on a sacrifice ground ball by Vladimir Guerrero. The score remained 1-0 until the 5th inning as both Hughes and Rangers’ starter Colby Lewis shut down the opposing lineups.
The Yankees scored in the top of the 5th when Alex Rodriguez doubled to lead off the inning advanced to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on a wild pitch which actually hit Nick Swisher. This was yet another badly blown call by an umpiring crew that leads me to scream at the top of my lungs for an increased use of replay and an “eye in the sky” umpire as part of the umpiring crew, but I digress, I will cover replay after the World Series.
The Rangers opened things up in the bottom of the 5th scoring 4 runs against the now hapless Hughes and reliever David Robertson. Mitch Moreland singled and then advanced to third on consecutive ground outs. Hughes then intentionally walked Josh Hamilton to get to Vladimir Guerrero. Guerrero gave Hughes a fine “how do you do” tattooing a double to deep center which scored both runners. That was the end for Hughes as he was relieved by Robertson. Nelson Cruz welcomed Robertson back to Texas slamming a home run to deep center. The Rangers added an insurance run in the bottom of the 7th as Michael Young doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler.
That was the last Yankees’ run of the season, Lewis shut the vaunted Yankee’s lineup down through eight innings and Neftali Felix put the Yankees down in order in the 9th fittingly striking out Alex Rodriguez looking.
The Rangers won the American League Pennant downing arguably the two best teams in the League to do it. The team which has bonded through great difficulty with ownership issues, as well as addiction and substance abuse issues involving both Hamilton and Manager Ron Washington. Instead of ostracizing either the team supported them both something that does not always happen. The Rangers now go to their first World Series in franchise history to face either the San Francisco Giants or Philadelphia Phillies.
One now has to wonder about the Yankees. They are showing their age and their starting pitching staff is not what it was. Their middle relievers are weak in comparison to many other teams and these weaknesses across to board were shown in gory detail in the ALCS. The Rangers scored 38 runs on 63 hits and hit .304 against Yankees pitching while the Yankees scored only 19 runs on 38 hits with a .201 average. In team pitching the Rangers had a 3.06 ERA against the Yankees while the Yankees staff had a 6.58 team ERA. Though the Yankees won two games the series was not close or even competitive. The Yankees will need to retool in a big way in the off season because the Red Sox and the Orioles will be after them as the Rays try to recover after their coming salary cuts and loss of key players. The Yankees need to figure out what they are going to do with their pitching staff as well as their bloated and non-productive lineup.