• The Rangers It Shall Be

    Posted by on October 13th, 2010 · Comments (22)

    Cliff Lee dominated the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 last night, just as he did last week in the series opener.  By pitching a total of 16 innings, allowing only 11 base-runners and striking out 21 batters, it’s safe to say that Cliff Lee was a one-man wrecking crew for the Rangers (although 2B Ian Kinsler’s .444/.500/.944 with 3 HR pitched in his fair share as well).

    So there you have it, folks.  The Yankees and Rangers commence their best-of-seven American League Championship Series on Friday evening at the oddly named Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  A few details to whet your appetites:

    2010 Regular Season:
    Yankees: 95-67, 2nd in AL East (52-29 home, 43-38 road)
    Rangers: 90-72, 1st in AL West (51-30 home, 39-42 road)

    Head-to-Head:
    Yankees and Rangers split season series 4-4

    Yankees 3-0 vs. Rangers at Yankee Stadium
    Rangers 4-1 vs. Yankees at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

    Yankees@home vs. Rangers: 17 RS, 6 RA
    Rangers@home vs. Yankees: 27 RS, 22 RA

    Game 1 Starters:
    CC Sabathia: 21-7, 3.18 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 7.46 K/9
    CC Sabathia vs. Rangers (2010): 1 GS, 1-0, 6 IP, 1.50 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 9 K

    CJ Wilson: 15-8, 3.35 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 7.50 K/9
    CJ Wilson vs. Yankees (2010): 3 GS, 0-1, 14.1IP, 6.91 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 19 K

    Most Yankee fans (myself included) were rooting for the Rangers under the notion that Tampa was a better team.  Well, we’ve gotten what we wished for so let’s see if we were right to hope for Texas.

    Comments on The Rangers It Shall Be

    1. clintfsu813
      October 13th, 2010 | 9:53 am

      Word is that Lee wont be available till Game 3, unless he goes on short rest. Which I doubt since he just threw about 120 pitches last night. Therefore we have a good chance to take Games 1 and 2 in Texas.

    2. MJ Recanati
      October 13th, 2010 | 9:58 am

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      Word is that Lee wont be available till Game 3, unless he goes on short rest. Which I doubt since he just threw about 120 pitches last night. Therefore we have a good chance to take Games 1 and 2 in Texas.

      The soonest Cliff Lee could take the mound again would be for Game 2 on Saturday afternoon (three days rest). Although one should never say never, Cliff Lee has never pitched on three days rest before so it’s quite likely that the Yanks don’t face Lee until Game 3 on Monday evening in New York.

      The Yanks should have the advantage in Game 1 for certain. Game 2 — even with Andy Pettitte on the mound — is more of a toss-up. But I agree with the sentiment that the Yankees should be favored overall in this series.

    3. clintfsu813
      October 13th, 2010 | 11:07 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Do we know the Rangers rotation yet? Or even ours for that matter?

    4. MJ Recanati
      October 13th, 2010 | 11:32 am

      @ clintfsu813:
      Nothing official as yet but I think it’ll be:

      G1: CC Sabathia-CJ Wilson
      G2: Andy Pettitte-Colby Lewis
      G3: Phil Hughes-Cliff Lee
      G4: TBD-Tommy Hunter

      I assume the Yanks won’t announce their Game 4 starter until they see how the first three games have shaken out. If they’re down 0-3 or 1-2, I presume CC Sabathia will come back on three days rest. If they’re up 3-0 or 2-1, it’s quite possible that AJ Burnett gets the start.

    5. #15
      October 13th, 2010 | 11:38 am

      I may be running up I-45 on Sat. to catch the game (just like I did in ’96 and that worked out well for the Yankees). The name may be odd, but it’s a very, very nice ballpark. I think Washington stuck with Lee for 9 because he knew he wouldn’t be calling on him until next Monday. This ought to be a huge advantage for the Yankees. Taking one, or two, in Arlington is certainly within reach, and, Lee will have to beat them in NY. Unlike the Rays, who were convinced they could beat the Yankees, if Texas loses a couple at home, this young squad might really start to tighten up. Hamilton is not showing he’s at full strength. That makes their line-up more manageable.

    6. clintfsu813
      October 13th, 2010 | 11:46 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      I thought I read game 4 was AJ for sure.

      ” Any consideration to anyone other than A.J. Burnett as the fourth starter? “I think we all felt that A.J. was the guy for the job,” Girardi said. ” -Lohud.

    7. clintfsu813
      October 13th, 2010 | 11:46 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      If they’re down 0-3 or 1-2, I presume CC Sabathia will come back on three days rest. If they’re up 3-0 or 2-1, it’s quite possible that AJ Burnett gets the start.

      This makes alot of sense too.

    8. Corey Italiano
      October 13th, 2010 | 12:22 pm

      #15 wrote:

      Hamilton is not showing he’s at full strength.

      Agreed, he had a rough series.

    9. MJ Recanati
      October 13th, 2010 | 12:54 pm

      clintfsu813 wrote:

      I thought I read game 4 was AJ for sure.

      ”Any consideration to anyone other than A.J. Burnett as the fourth starter? “I think we all felt that A.J. was the guy for the job,” Girardi said. ” -Lohud.

      I saw that so perhaps Girardi has made up his mind. Personally, I think it’s idiotic for him to name his Game 4 starter before (A) announcing his Game 2 and Game 3 starters and (B) pigeon-holing himself with Burnett in Game 4 before he knows how the series will unfold.

      The last thing I’d want is for the Yankees to have a must-win or near must-win scenario with AJ Burnett standing in between the Rangers and the offseason. Worse yet, if Girardi somehow changes his mind for Game 4 then all the talk will be how he panicked, etc.

    10. MJ Recanati
      October 13th, 2010 | 12:58 pm

      #15 wrote:

      The name may be odd, but it’s a very, very nice ballpark.

      I’ve never been, but I’ve driven by it once. It definitely looked very nice. I also got a kick out of the fact that it’s off “Nolan Ryan Expressway”, a play on the “Ryan Express” nickname.

      Now that he’s a part owner of the club, it’s pretty amusing that his office is on a street named in his honor.

    11. #15
      October 13th, 2010 | 4:01 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      From the school of bad business moves… The Astro’s made one of the worst business moves of the century when they tried to squeeze Ryan on his contract after the ’88 season (he’d had a great year (3.52 ERA) despite woeful run support, pitched his heart out (220 innings) for a middling team and only asked for the same money he’d gotten the year before). He’s from just outside of the Houston area and was set up to be “The Franchise Legend”… Local kid, with a championship ring to his name (with the Mets), had returned to play for his hometown team, HOF’r credentials, 5000K’s & 300 wins on the horizon, mythical fastball (I know a guy that played against him in the minors and said there was always a lot of “Ryanitus” – “I’m not feeling too good today coach, I think I’m coming down with something. Maybe I ought to take a seat today” – going around on the days when Ryan was the opposing pitcher), real live Texan persona, with a ranch, and cattle, blah, blah, blah. In ’89 he went to the Rangers, went 16-10 with a 3.20 ERA, pitched 239 innings, and struck out 301 batters. So, instead of Houston parading their hometown hero out for events over the ensuing years, the Rangers got to wrap themselves in that blanket. I guess Biggio now kind of fits that bill as a franchise legend. Nolan could have been playing that part for a couple of decades, but for a stupid owner from New Jersey. A lot of people, myself included, vowed to never buy a ticket to an Astro’s game as long as John McMullen (who, BTW, was one of George’s original partners in the Yankee purchase) owned the team. There is probably a lesson in here somewhere regarding long term thinking and Jeter. Sadly, Whitey and Yogi are near the end, I’ll never warm to Reggie as the face of the team. Thurman’s gone. Be careful how you treat your legends (this is something George understood and nurtured very effectively). I can see the Core Four standing in a row throwing out first pitches at playoff games for a generation to come. And we, and our kids, will all stand and cheer. Maybe we’ll get our pitcure taken on Jeter Avenue in the Bronx one day.

    12. BOHAN
      October 13th, 2010 | 4:20 pm

      I think the roatation will/should be…
      GM 1- Sabathia vs Wilson
      GM 2- Hughes vs. Lewis
      GM 3- Pettitte vs. Lee
      GM 4- Burnett/Sabathia vs. Hunter
      GM 5- Sabathia/Burnett vs. Wilson
      GM 6- Hughes vs. Lewis
      GM 7- Pettitte vs. Lee

      This way you have one the best big game pitchers, in Pettite, pitching against Lee and then pitching in Game 7. And Hughes is better then Lewis and hopefully CC wins game 1 and Hughes pitches like game 3 then we go up 2-0 and maybe Andy pulls one out against Lee. If not then we have 3 games to get 2 wins before we see Lee again. I also put the slashes in game 4 and 5 because i think if they go down 3-0 or 2-1 they need to go to CC in game 4, especially if they’re down 3-0. i can legit see them finishing this in 5 or 6 games too.

    13. BOHAN
      October 13th, 2010 | 4:26 pm

      #15 wrote:

      Hamilton is not showing he’s at full strength.

      I don’t think its that he’s not at full strength, i just think his timing isn’t there. if you noticed he made a couple diving catches through out the series and i think if he wasn’t at full strength then he wouldn’t even think about making a diving attempt at them.

    14. MJ Recanati
      October 13th, 2010 | 4:54 pm

      @ #15:
      I knew McMullen was an ex-Steinbrenner partner and I also remember him as an owner of the NJ Devils (NHL) although I think he sold the Devils a few years ago.

      I hear what you’re saying on the lessons of not treating your stars well but I also don’t think the Yankees should be taken hostage by Derek Jeter’s resume. If the Astros wouldn’t guarantee the same contract to a pitcher and living legend after a good year, that’s one thing. But the Yanks shouldn’t guarantee the same salary to an aging shortstop that is coming off the worst regular season of his career and two of the three worst years of his career (2008, 2010).

      I’m all for keeping alumna like Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, etc. in house and part of the family as long as it’s practicable and intelligent but there’s a point where everyone has to move on. Babe Ruth didn’t finish his career on the Yankees and Willie Mays didn’t finish his career on the Giants.

      I say this not because I think Derek Jeter will play elsewhere next year but only to point out that nothing lasts forever and even hurt feelings and burnt bridges can be mended over time. If Jeter will feel stung by a contract offer not to his liking this winter, he’ll have the option to play elsewhere. And, should he decide to do so, even that fact wouldn’t preclude him from rejoining the team as an esteemed member of its history at a later date. See Berra, Yogi 1985-1999.

    15. MJ Recanati
      October 13th, 2010 | 4:59 pm

      BOHAN wrote:

      I think the roatation will/should be…
      GM 1- Sabathia vs Wilson
      GM 2- Hughes vs. Lewis
      GM 3- Pettitte vs. Lee
      GM 4- Burnett/Sabathia vs. Hunter
      GM 5- Sabathia/Burnett vs. Wilson
      GM 6- Hughes vs. Lewis
      GM 7- Pettitte vs. Lee

      This way you have one the best big game pitchers, in Pettite, pitching against Lee and then pitching in Game 7. And Hughes is better then Lewis and hopefully CC wins game 1 and Hughes pitches like game 3 then we go up 2-0 and maybe Andy pulls one out against Lee. If not then we have 3 games to get 2 wins before we see Lee again. I also put the slashes in game 4 and 5 because i think if they go down 3-0 or 2-1 they need to go to CC in game 4, especially if they’re down 3-0. i can legit see them finishing this in 5 or 6 games too.

      I think I agree with you in this case.

      Whereas I wanted Pettitte to pitch in Game 2 (and Game 5) of a short series vs. Minnesota, I think it might be smart to take advantage of Hughes’s home/road splits in this series AND match Pettitte up against Lee in a Game 3/Game 7 scenario.

      The only thing about this I’d change is if Sabathia has to pitch in Game 4, I’d reserve him to pitch in Game 7 on short rest, if necessary.

    16. MJ Recanati
      October 13th, 2010 | 5:00 pm

      BOHAN wrote:

      I don’t think its that he’s not at full strength, i just think his timing isn’t there. if you noticed he made a couple diving catches through out the series and i think if he wasn’t at full strength then he wouldn’t even think about making a diving attempt at them.

      Agree.

    17. BOHAN
      October 13th, 2010 | 5:11 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      The only thing about this I’d change is if Sabathia has to pitch in Game 4, I’d reserve him to pitch in Game 7 on short rest, if necessary.

      so would you use hughes and pettitte on short rest too??

    18. Corey Italiano
      October 13th, 2010 | 5:17 pm

      #15 wrote:

      he Astro’s made one of the worst business moves of the century when they tried to squeeze Ryan on his contract after the ’88 season (he’d had a great year (3.52 ERA) despite woeful run support, pitched his heart out (220 innings)

      To be fair to the Astros, his ERA equates to below league average (94) for that year. Couple that with the fact that 1988 was his age 41 season, and perhaps the Astros thought he was in decline.

      I happen to totally agree that they should have kept him…I guess a couple of hundred grand was big time back then.

    19. INAC
      October 13th, 2010 | 7:24 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:To be fair to the Astros, his ERA equates to below league average (94) for that year. Couple that with the fact that 1988 was his age 41 season, and perhaps the Astros thought he was in decline.
      I happen to totally agree that they should have kept him…I guess a couple of hundred grand was big time back then.

      Is that how ridiculous ERA’s were back then? That 3.52 was below average?

      Though ERA+ also factors in where a pitcher pitched, and the Astrodome was certainly a pitchers park.

    20. BOHAN
      October 13th, 2010 | 7:34 pm

      rotation is official….
      GM 1- Sabathia
      GM 2- Hughes
      GM 3- Pettitte
      GM 4- Burnett

    21. 77yankees
      October 13th, 2010 | 10:49 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      I also got a kick out of the fact that it’s off “Nolan Ryan Expressway”, a play on the “Ryan Express” nickname.
      Now that he’s a part owner of the club, it’s pretty amusing that his office is on a street named in his honor.

      You know, I thought the “Nolan Ryan” Drinking Game was only limited to Yankee games in Texas on YES…..you know, everyone at home downs a shot whenever they show Nolan on camera…..so we can all be passed out by the 2nd inning. :-)

      But after watching last night’s game on TBS, Nolan got more face time than Conan O’Brien. So drink up, ladies & gents – we’ve got at least four games of this to look forward to – LOL.

    22. Evan3457
      October 14th, 2010 | 3:43 am

      BOHAN wrote:

      rotation is official….
      GM 1- Sabathia
      GM 2- Hughes
      GM 3- Pettitte
      GM 4- Burnett

      I think that’s the right call, but I’ve been wrong before.

      It plays to Hughes’ strengths, avoids his weaknesses, and at least gives Andy the bigger left center and center to try to negate some of the Rangers right-handed power.

      The advantages of this rotation set obvious to me, but all hinges on winning before Andy must face Lee in Arlington in game 7. If it gets that far, the advantage swings to the Rangers…an almost overwhelming advantage, in fact.

      Yanks need 4 good starts from CC, Andy and Hughes in games 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, or in the alternative, 3 good starts plus wiping the floor with Hunter (vs. AJ in game 4). They also need their bullpen not to blow a game if they get it with a lead.

      “Alamo” position is to make Lee work as hard as they can in game 3, fouling off as many pitches as possible, in the hopes of leaving him less than 100% for game 7.

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