June 18, 2019

They Are Two Stepping in Texas

October 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

There is dancing in Texas tonight.  The Texas Rangers played the best two teams in the American League and beat them both in convincing fashion to win the first American League Championship for the franchise after fifty years of frustration.  The anticipation of history in the making gave drama to a game that was decided in the fifth inning. Texas went on to win 6-1 as Colby Lewis cruised through eight innings and Neftali Feliz closed it out.

The Yankees said after winning Game One of the series that they expect to always come back.  But there was no come back against Colby Lewis Friday night.  He closed out the Yankees in the eighth inning with three strike outs, the last against the Yankee captain, Derek Jeter, with a man aboard.  In the ninth inning Neftali Feliz struck out Granderson with a 98-mph fastball and Alex Rodriquez on a knee-buckling curve to end the game. The Rangers were just impressive in every way.

First the Yankees did not want to pitch to Josh Hamilton, then they did not want to pitch to Nelson Cruz.  They might should have pitched to them both, cause there weren’t many Rangers who failed to get clutch hits in the series.  Texas broke through in the bottom of the fifth when the Yankees had to pitch to Vladimir Guerrero after walking Hamilton.  His cluck double put Texas up 3-1 and that was all they really needed.  Nelson Cruz then homered to add to his own very impressive playoff run.  He matched Hamilton with an average of .350 for the playoffs.

Texas won not just their first playoff series against Tampa Bay–who had the best record in baseball, but they then beat the reigning World Champions.  And they did not look shabby doing it.  They are about a lot more than just Cliff Lee.  It was not surprising that they could hit the Yankee pitching staff that has looked vulnerable all season.  But Colby Lewis won two games almost as convincingly as Lee.  And Neftali Feliz looked like a young Mariano Rivera as he pumped 98 mph fastballs past the Yankees

The pitching was good, but it was their ability to score against the Yankees that won the Championship Series.  There are those that say Cliff Lee is just auditioning to pitch for New York.  Well, Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz are not going anywhere, and the Yankees might need more than just Cliff Lee next season to get by the Rangers.

The only ostensible weakness the Rangers showed was in the bullpen that sputtered a few times.  But they outscored the Yankees by twenty runs over the course of the six games and momentum never really shifted back to the Yankees after winning Game One.

The win may be as gratifying for Josh Hamilton as any of the Rangers.  He was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the ALCS, behind the four home runs he hit during the series.  But it has been all season long for Hamilton.  His bat has been a huge constant for the Rangers.  The leader on the field may be Mike Young, but Hamilton has been the most consistent force for the duration of the season. A late season injury limited him to 133 games, and it may have hampered him against Tampa Bay.  But he bounced back from a disappointing series against the Rays to power the win against the Yankees.

The first half of the World Series is set.  It will likely be Cliff Lee in Game One for Texas.  The rest of the dance card could have Halladay or Lincecum.  Pretty nice pitching match-ups yet to come which ever way the NLCS turns out.

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