ALCS Preview: Texas Rangers Rally To Beat New York Yankees in Six Games
One has 27 World Series titles under its belt. The other has one postseason series victory in its 50 years of existence, which coincidentally came on Tuesday night.
One has Monument Park, honoring legends baring the names of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle. The other has a Hall of Fame/hospitality room featuring "greats" like Rusty Greer, Tom Grieve, and Ruben Sierra.
And, like all things in life, there's the issue of fiscal inventory. One's payroll for their starting infield trumps the other's entire roster. One stadium was built for $191 million; the other sprang for $1.5 billion. One pays Alex Rodriguez's salary. The other still owes Alex Rodriguez's salary.
The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers appear to be on the opposite ends of the baseball spectrum regardless of the matter at hand. So it's apropos that these two franchises find themselves at odds again, with the American League Championship Series serving as the venue for their dispute.
Despite these differences, the teams do share some similarities. Both powered their way into the postseason with parallel equations: explosive offensive assaults backed by prosaic pitching. New York led the American League in runs, RBI, and OBP, and came in second in OPS and third in the home run department.
By comparison, Texas ranks in the top five in runs, hits, home runs, RBI, OBP, and OPS. And as previously mentioned, each roster's arsenal of arms were satisfactory, as the Rangers posted a team ERA of 3.93 compared to the Yankee's figure of 4.06. Additionally, each team boasts an MVP candidate: second baseman Robinson Cano hit .319 with 29 bombs, 109 RBI, and 103 runs for the Yanks, while center fielder Josh Hamilton led the AL in average (.359), slugging (.633), and OPS (1.044).
Yet the contrasting culture between the clubs is conspicuous. The Yankees will be vying for their 41st World Series voyage; this will be the Rangers inaugural ALCS appearance. The Yankees provoke an array of emotions from fans; outside of Dallas and opposing AL West cities, most baseball admirers are apathetic towards Texas.
So who wins the battle between these polar opponents? The WhatIfSports baseball engine simulated the series 1,001 times to crown the 2010 American League champion. The results indicated the series will go six games, with the Texas Rangers coming out on top 63.7 percent of the time.
|NLCS 1001 Simulations of Best of 7 Series|
Below is a game-by-game summary and related box score of our simulation's predicted results.
Although the Yanks are defending world champions and the prohibitive favorite to win the pennant, the series begins in Arlington on Friday night, as Texas won the AL West while New York had to settle for the Wild Card. New York, thanks to a sweep of Minnesota in the Divisional Series, has the luxury of sending ace and 21-game winner CC Sabathia to the mound for Game 1.
Sabathia, one of the game's preeminent pitchers the last three seasons, has been relatively pedestrian in the playoffs, with a career mark of 6-4 in 11 games with a 4.41 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. Historically, the 2007 Cy Young winner hasn't fared much better in Texas, where Sabathia has a 4.71 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 36.1 innings.
|Game 1 ALCS|
|WP: CC Sabathia LP: C.J. Wilson|
|Player of the Game: Marcus Thames - 2-5, 2 HRs|
|Player||HRs in ALCS (Avg.)|
Conversely, while the Rangers employ the services of Cliff Lee (who in seven career postseason starts is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 0.78 WHIP), Texas turns to 29-year-old C.J. Wilson to take the mound, as Lee is unavailable until Game 3. Wilson is coming off a stellar performance in Game 2 of the ALDS, going 6.1 shutout innings and striking out seven in the process.
However, a knock on Wilson has been his control, as he led the AL in walks with 93. This is problematic, as New York is notorious for their plate discipline. Sure enough, the free passes come to haunt Wilson in our simulation of Game 1.
After walking two and plunking Mark Teixeira, A-Rod hits a bases-clearing double in the fifth on the way to a 10-0 Yankee route. Wilson surrendered 4 runs in 4.2 innings of work, and Darren O'Day is touched up for five runs in relief. Sabathia exercises his playoff demons by throwing eight innings of shutout baseball, and Marcus Thames ignited the offense with two home runs.
|Game 2 ALCS|
|WP: Kerry Wood LP: Neftali Feliz SV: Mariano Rivera|
|Player of the Game: Jorge Posada - GW RBI|
The Rangers suddenly find themselves in a 2-0 hole after falling to New York 5-4 in extra innings. The star in Game 2 was Jorge Posada, who drew a walk to bring in the go-ahead run off closer Neftali Feliz in the 10th. Other offensive notables for the Yanks were Robinson Cano, who belted a solo shot in the sixth, and Rodriguez, who drove in his fourth run of the series.
Andy Pettitte, no stranger to the posteason, had a so-so outing, giving up four runs in seven innings. Kerry Wood excelled in relief, pitching two innings without surrendering a baserunner to get the W, and the great Mariano Rivera closed the door in the 10th for the save.
For the Rangers, Colby Lewis had similar issues as Pettitte, allowing four runs in 5.2 innings. Josh Hamilton paced the Texas offense with a two-run bomb in the third.
|Game 3 ALCS|
|WP: Cliff Lee LP: Phil Hughes|
|Player of the Game: Vlad Guerrero - 3-5, 4 RBIs|
|ALCS Top BA|
|Player||BA in ALCS (Avg.)|
After scoring just four runs in hitter friendly Arlington, the Rangers come back with a vengeance in Game 3, scoring two in the fifth and four in the 6th to take down the Yanks 8-1. Vladimir Guerrero led the power surge with four ribbies, and Michael Young crossed the plate three times for the Rangers.
Cliff Lee adds to his postseason portfolio with an eight-inning, one-run gem that featured seven strikeouts and just two walks. Phil Hughes had a rough outing as Texas teed off for seven runs in six innings off the New York pitcher.
|Game 4 ALCS|
|WP: Tommy Hunter LP: A.J. Burnett|
|Player of the Game: Josh Hamilton - 4-5, 2 RBI|
Heading into October, a chief concern for Yankee fans was the condition of A.J. Burnett, who posted a 6.14 ERA in September. Burnett did not alleviate any apprehension, as the hurler yielded five runs on 11 hits in an 8-5 Rangers victory.
Hamilton added two more RBI to bring his total to six for the series, and Young and David Murphy added solo homers for Texas.
Although it wasn't pretty, Tommy Hunter went 6.2 innings, giving up four runs to get the W, and Feliz atoned for his blown save by getting Teixeira to line-out in the ninth.
|Game 5 ALCS|
|WP: C.J. Wilson LP: CC Sabathia SV: Darren O'Day|
|Player of the Game: C.J. Wilson - 7IP, 1 ER, 9 Ks|
|ALCS Top ERA|
|Player||ERA in ALCS (Avg.)|
In a rematch of Game 1 starters, Wilson comes out on top by confining New York to one run in seven innings, as a 4-1 Rangers win puts Texas one game away from popping the bubbly (ginger ale). Vlad hit his first jack of the series (giving him six RBI in five games) and rookie Mitch Moreland added a two-run shot to account for the Texas output.
Sabathia went eight innings for the Yanks, but the Bronx Bombers could not muster any offensive fireworks save for a Derek Jeter solo bomb in the fifth. The 2-3-4 hitters have been absymal for New York, as Swisher is .235, Teixeira comes in at .222, and Rodriguez cabooses it batting .111.
|Game 6 ALCS|
|WP: Colby Lewis LP: Andy Pettitte|
|Player of the Game: Colby Lewis - 6 2/3, 2 ER, 7 Ks|
After 50 years filled with ineptitude and failure, the Texas Rangers are headed to the World Series after thrashing New York 9-4 in Arlington.
The Rangers knocked Pettitte for four runs in the third and never looked backed. Hamilton and Guerrero each knocked in two runs, bringing both of their RBI accumulation to eight as they share MVP honors.
Lewis made it through 6.2 innings with just two runs, and Feliz capped off the coronation with his second save of the series. Pettitte never adjusted after the third, and exited with six runs on 11 hits in six innings.
Check out the NLCS preview from WhatIfSports.com.
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