The Texas Rangers got the best of all worlds in Game 6 of the ALCS, beating the Yankees without needing to use Cliff Lee.
As it turned out, the Texas Rangers
didn’t need Cliff Lee or a Game 7 after all and before this series had started who in the world of baseball handicapping
would have given them a chance?
was able to save its ace for bigger and better things by beating the New York Yankees
6-1 on Friday night to win their first ever AL pennant and the first for the franchise since 1961 when they were known as the Washington Senators
. The victory also ended a 39-year drought in the Rangers existence in Texas.Colby Lewis
dominated over eight innings for his second win of the series and Josh Hamilton
earned the ALCS MVP award. The Rangers All-Star centerfielder singled and was intentionally walked three times in the finale finishing the series with four home runs, seven runs batted in and a .350 average. Vladimir Guerrero
had three runs batted in while Nelson Cruz
hit a two-run homer. Phil Hughes
who took the loss in Game 2 struggled again and was tagged with his second loss of the series. Outside of anyone not named Robinson Cano, the Yankees never got it going against the Rangers pitching staff.
Texas has had no shortage of heroes and ‘feel good’ stories in their unexpected rise to the MLB penthouse. First and foremost was Hamilton who lost the early years of his career to a substance abuse problem that nearly killed him. And whether you’re a Rangers fan or not you’ve got to cheer for a guy who fights a daily duel with the Devil and at last count was way ahead on all three scorecards.
He’s cleaned up his act and become a bona fide star in Texas where he hit .359 with 32 homers and 100 RBI’s during the regular season establishing himself as the man to beat for the AL MVP
. Resiliency it seems is a big thing with Hamilton. After going 2 for 18 with two singles in the ALDS he hit .350 and became such a nuisance that the Yanks stopped pitching to him. He was intentionally walked an ALCS record five times.
Then there was Lewis who went to Japan but came back after two seasons in the Far East when the Rangers
, his original team offered him a chance to revive his injury plagued career. Lewis
went 2-0 in the ALCS holding New York to three runs in 13 2/3 innings and came up clutch in the biggest game of his career.
It was clear to most that the Rangers were the better team and they proved. Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters: “They outhit us, they outpitched us and they outplayed us”.
Texas hit .304 compared to New Yorks anemic .201. The Rangers pitching staff posted a glossy 3.06 ERA while the Yankees compiled a humbling 6.58 ERA. Skipper Ron Washington’s team took care of the two best teams in the league and made it look easy at times. They did it with power and speed hitting 17 home runs—at least one in every game -- and swiped 15 bases in 11 games.
Even the Rangers front office was better than their New York counterparts who had the cash but not the talent or at least not the heart. The Yankees had the luxury of a $200 million dollar payroll and the best player’s money could buy but still couldn’t beat the team that got more press in the business section than they did on the sports page.
There was the bankruptcy and the elongated battle to settle ownership. Somehow despite the constraints of MLB funding the team, they were able to make the trade of the deadline, picking up Lee. Ironically Alex Rodriguez
, who hit just .158 in the series, was owed $25 million by the club before its sale to Nolan Ryan
and his group.
Now the Rangers have five days before they’ll step onto an even bigger stage. No matter which way the NLCS breaks fans will be treated to another classic October matchup. Lee who is 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his playoff career, will be well rested and will likely face either Tim Linceum or Roy Halladay in Wednesday’s Fall Classic opener.
The veteran lefthander who has spent the majority of his career in the American League
save for a half-season in Philadelphia, has a 15-3 interleague record with an ERA of 3.08. He’s never lost to either the Giants or the Phillies going a combined 4-0 with an ERA of under 1.20.
Before the start of the ALCS, the Rangers were the longest shot on the board with the Sportsbooks to win the World Series
at +900. If you were one those players who grabbed a futures ticket you’re sitting on a potential gold mine. Some might call it baseball’s version of “Texas Tea”.