Via Paul White –
Josh Hamilton says he feels like “I’ve been in a car wreck.”
Cliff Lee will miss his start Tuesday against Toronto.
Getting their top players healthy would seem the priority for the Texas Rangers, still cruising with an eight-game lead in the AL West and hardly threatened by the division’s under-.500 cast. But excuse longtime Rangers fans if they’re getting a sense of “deja vu all over again.”
Hamilton, a leading MVP candidate, probably will miss at least a week after bruising ribs crashing into a wall Sunday at Minnesota. Lee’s history of back issue has continued and he’ll likely not pitch until at least Sunday against the Yankees.
Oh, and there’s the big deal, in case you’re not among the longest-suffering of Texas fans. The three weekend losses in Minnesota left the Rangers 4 1/2 games behind the Twins for the second-best record among AL division leaders. Given the likelihood of the Yankees and Rays finishing 1-2 in the East, that matches the Rangers and Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.
Just like 1996, the first time the Rangers made the playoffs. That was the good year, when Texas actually won once in the best-of-five series. The Rangers also faced the Yankees in their only other two playoff years — 1998 and ’99 — and were swept out of the Division Series.
No matter who the Yankees play in the LDS this season, the schedule breaks down as follows:
Game 1 10/6/10
Game 2 10/7/10
10/8/10 NO GAME SCHEDULED
Game 3 10/9/10
Game 4 10/10/10
10/11/10 NO GAME SCHEDULED
Game 5 10/12/10
And, this leads to some interesting question – Do you start Sabathia on 2-days rest in Game 3 and then have to start Burnett, Hughes or Vazquez in Game 4 (assuming Pettitte goes on Game 2)? Probably not. So, then you have to start Burnett or Hughes in Game 3, have Sabathia pitch in Game 4, on 3-days rest, and save Pettitte for Game 5 (if needed).
Face it, either Burnett or Hughes is going to have to start a game in this series – it’s just a matter of when…Game 3 or Game 4. Of course, this all assumes that Pettitte is good to go. If Andy is out, then both Burnett and Hughes get at least one start in the LDS – which is scary in a best of five situation.