The Yankees again proved to be the most playoff-efficient team of all. They bullied Minnesota right out of their own home early on and then finished them off in the Bronx. An all-around dominant performance from the Yankees shows that they will be tough to beat once again in these playoffs. There may be only one team that could challenge them this season. Can I get a..."RE-MATCH?!"
Orlando Hudson says it all for his Minnesota Twins in as few words as possible. Their loss against the Yankees was about as bad as it gets. They were utterly dominated from start to finish and never got a chance to become a part of the series.
The Tampa Bay Rays, considered a heavy AL favorite, looked to be out of sorts when their series started in their home at Tropicana Field last week. Their home performance was forgettable as they were outplayed by the Texas Rangers, who hustled out to a 2-0 lead. Nothing seemed to go their way in the early part of this series.
Suddenly though, this 2-0 deficit was turned into a 2-2 draw with a decisive Game Five to come tomorrow night back in Tampa. If the way the series has played out thus far is any indication, expect Cliff Lee and the Rangers to advance.
The Rays can ill-afford another bad home game as their season may depend on it tomorrow. This Game Five will decide which team will have the honor of facing the New York Yankees in the ALCS.
The offense had come out entirely too flat in the first two games, producing just one run against Lee and C.J. Wilson. Then, Texas seemed to lose its grip when they returned home to Arlington. Judging frm how this series has went, this one will end with a bang.
Texas' bullpen could be the reason for their exit if it happens tomorrow night. Over the past two games, at home in Arlington mind you, they have allowed a staggering eight runs in nine innings pitched. They had the chance to sweep and then at least finish up in four games while at home but blew their chances. The bullpen may not be the sole blame here, but they are in fact a major reason.
Neftali Feliz looked awful in his appearance in Game Three as the few Ray hitters that he faced jumped all over him. An AL Rookie of the Year candidate, Feliz was at the heap of these disasters from the Texas 'pen. It should be interesting to see how they respond when the series returns to The Trop where they have been very successful.
No one particular instance or individual could be singled out. So, let's just go with the Twins as a whole for this one. They were no match for the defending World Champions as they went down in a sweep in the Bronx over the weekend.
Jason Kubel, pictured above, was horrible in this series going 0-the series. But Kubel alone should not be categorized as such when the team effort just simply was not there. The fire that lit up Minnesota all summer long was extinguished in an instant by a better,hungrier Yankee team.
Not many saw this type of series coming as the Yankees imposed their will en route to another ALCS appearance. They boast the game's top lineup and in this series, their pitching was very solid as well. Big off-season pickup Curtis Granderson hit exceptionally well and paced the Yankees once again.
Other big name Twins like native Minnesotan Joe Mauer performed poorly as well. As mentioned at the top, just an all-around bad series from these Twins. No other way to be described.
There were some other performances that shined through in Round One. Curtis Granderson and Mariano Rivera stole the show for the Bronx Bombers, making them a bona fide threat in these playoffs once again.
We now count down the best performances of the ALDS.
Over their first four playoff games the Texas Rangers have stroked seven HR's. Powered by the usual suspects in Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler among others, these Rangers are now looking to winning Game Five. The Rangers have an offense that may be able to hit with the Yankees in the ALCS if it comes down to that. It would certainly be an interesting series if it were to happen.
Texas' starting pitching has been very good in this series as well. Maybe with a few more big hits and another exceptional start from Cliff Lee, the Rangers will find themselves in the Final Four of baseball.
Tampa Bay's offense has been suspect for most of this series, but have come up huge over the past few days in the clutch. With the game, and more so their season, on the line, the Rays' stars Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton came through.
When it mattered most, Joe Maddon was able to go to his top guys and get the job done. This is the mark of a champion as the Rays are now looking to comeback from what was a 2-0 deficit.
A comeback of this caliber would say a lot about this club as a whole. They dropped the first two games of the series and were able to take the next to on the road and now potentially can put the Rangers away with David Price.
The New York Yankees are again flexing their muscle as Kings of the AL. Their quick work of Minnesota was very impressive and showed the world their continued ownership over Ron Gardenhire's club. The Yankees were the better team in every phase in this short series and now get a nice rest while awaiting their ALCS opponent.
Mariano Rivera showed why he is the best post-season closer of all-time with continued October success. Not to mention that the offense as a whole terrorized Minnesota pitching.
The Twins blew their chance in Game One when Francisco Liriano kept Yankee hitters afloat, but the Twins themselves could not capitalize and so the Yankees were able to nab home-field and then some.