Yankees-Rangers ALCS: 10 Bold Predictions
The World Series.
One of the most sacred events in the sports world. It goes without saying that getting there takes intense preparation, heart, skill and a little bit of luck.
The 162-game regular season is a grind, and it all boils down to even more baseball—October baseball, AKA: baseball at its finest.
The Yankees have done all of this before, and this year they've completed one third of the postseason puzzle by sweeping the Minnesota Twins in the first round.
Which means they need to win eight more games to capture World Championship No. 28.
It won't be easy.
Nor will it be simple for the Rangers. Coming off an intense five-game series against the Rays, rest may become an issue for them, as well as the availability of Cliff Lee.
All in all, this will be an interesting series.
Here are 10 predictions why:
No.10 Cliff Lee Will Be Booed Silly by the Bleacher Creatures
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In mid-July, talk of adding Cliff Lee started formulating.
Soon, it was confirmed.
Not long after that, the deal was practically done. That's when Texas swooped in and offered the Mariners prospect Justin Smoak.
Apparently, Seattle liked that better.
Cliff Lee became a Ranger, not a Yankee.
Oooh, how unstoppable the Yankees would be if they had him—thinking about it just makes me laugh maniacally. Bwahahahahah...
But they don't.
Ciff Lee became a Ranger, and it's not really his fault that he's not in pinstripes.
But that doesn't mean that he won't get booed sideways out of Yankee Stadium by the devoted Bleacher Creatures..
P.S. Not exactly the "boldest" prediction.
No.9 Josh Hamilton Will Rebound
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In the ALDS, his first postseason experience ever, Josh Hamilton did not meet the expectations set by his phenomenal regular season.
The left-handed slugger went just two for 18, driving in one run in the five games against Tampa Bay.
If the Rangers want to reach the World Series, they need production from the meat of the order.
Mainly this guy.
With Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler (it may be a good idea to bat him second in this series) swinging hot bats and getting on base, Hamilton needs to start producing.
This year, he hasn't hit extremely well against the Bombers (.250 in 2010), which doesn't look positive.
But Hamilton will bounce back.
This will be an interesting series, and Josh Hamilton will be one of the reasons.
My prediction for Hambone: eight for 25, two homers, five RBI.
No.8 Curtis Granderson Will Cool Off...NOT
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One of the reasons why the Yankees were able to beat Minnesota so handily was because of Curtis Granderson.
And let's face it, the guy's not going to cool off anytime soon.
After struggling for a while in the Bronx, the Grandy Man worked a few things out with Yankee hitting instructor, Kevin Long.
It's safe to say that it has paid off.
In the second half, Granderson hit .253 (which isn't great but it was 13 points higher than his first half average of .240) and upped his power as well, hitting 17 homers in the second half with 43 RBI.
In the postseason, he's continued the trend, hitting .455 with three RBI and a few crucial hits.
These numbers show no indication of Granderson slowing down.
Because he won't.
No. 7 The Absence of the 1-2 Punch Will Hurt Texas
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Since the Rangers acquired Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners, they've had arguably the best one-two punch in baseball, with Lee and 15-game winner CJ Wilson.
However, Cliff Lee's spectacular performance in Game 5 of the ALDS wasn't all good.
Lee will obviously not be ready to start Game 1, and Game 2 will not feature him either.
You will have to wait until the series moves back to New York to see Lee on the hill.
This could hurt the Rangers. The Yankees look a lot better when throwing CC Sabathia against Wilson rather than Lee. Then Hughes appears to have the better of Colby Lewis in Game 2.
Then, if the Rangers go to New York down two games, the Yankees will be riding momentum. Even though Cliff Lee will go, he will be opposed by arguably the best postseason starter ever—Andy Pettitte.
That doesn't sound too good for the Rangers.
No. 6 If AJ Burnett Gets a Start, He Will Fail Miserably
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AJ Burnett has nasty stuff.
His fastball has some zip on it and can get up to 94 mph. His curveball is sick, with a huge break.
These two things have never been a problem for AJ Burnett.
No his problem is, without a doubt, inconsistency.
Yankee fans like myself know this too well. Last postseason was a great example.
Game 2 of the World Series Burnett pitched extremely well, going more than seven innings and getting the Yanks to bounce back from a loss the previous night to—guess who? Cliff Lee.
But in Game 5 Burnett took the ball again. The story had a much different ending. Burnett was awful and couldn't get out of the second inning.
This is too big a stage to have inconsistency be a problem. This is the postseason.
NOT a time to throw caution to the wind, even if the Yankees are up in the series.
Do you hear me, Joe Girardi? Burnett does not get a start.
No. 5 A-Rod Will Come Up Big
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Alex Rodriguez enjoys hitting in Texas.
In his career at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where Rodriguez spent three seasons as a Ranger (2001-2003), Rodriguez has hit .331 with 97 homers and 267 RBI in his career.
He has also hit .316 with 18 homers and 76 RBI against the Rangers in his career.
These numbers speak to me. Know what they say?
A-Rod will come up big.
And why not?
The Yanks play two games in Arlington to start the series.
What I see in my crystal ball is this:
A-Rod gets hot at Arlington in the first two games, goes on a tear, carries the offense throughout the series...and maybe through the WS, too?
And we all live happily ever after.
The same can't be said for Texas fans, though.
No. 4 Derek Jeter Will Prove Why He's THE CAPTAIN
For this slide, I won't throw any funky stats at you.
Seriously, I won't.
Because I've said it a thousand times—Derek Jeter's game goes beyond stats.
Jeter will come up with a few big knocks in this series; just wait and see.
He's had an off year, but he will bounce back. He WILL bounce back.
In the last slide, I said that A-Rod will get hot and carry the offense.
Well, look out—Jeter's gonna carry the team.
Jeter's gonna carry the city.
No. 3 The Rangers Will Make Some Bonehead Moves
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The Rays are a very aggressive team.
The Rangers realized this and decided to fight fire with fire.
So they played aggressive.
Stupid is more like it.
The Rangers went over the top in their efforts to shake up the game in the ALDS but got away with it. The Rays made some bad defensive plays that cost them.
Don't expect the Yankees to make those mistakes.
But expect the Rangers to try and do some of that.
No. 2 The Winner of Game 1 Will Have a HUGE Advantage
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As I said before, not having Cliff Lee on the mound for Game 1 could kill the Rangers. If CC Sabathia ends up winning that game, the Game 2 matchup looks lopsided.
That gives you the possibility of the Rangers being down two games to zero before Cliff Lee even gets a say.
And in that matchup, I don't know. Even with Lee's dominance of the Yankees, I have a hard time saying that he will beat Andy Pettitte in a postseason game in New York.
That gives you the possibility of the Yanks being up three games to none.
Of course, it could spin off in the other direction with CJ Wilson winning Game 1.
The Rangers' hopes of winning, in my opinion, rest on putting both Lee and Wilson on the mound twice. That's why they desperately need Game 1.
Or else the Yankees could run away with it.
This is why, unless there's a Game 7, Game 1 will be the most crucial of the series.
So don't miss it.
No.1 Final Prediction
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Yankees in 6.
This is how.
Game 1: Sabathia gets the win
Game 2: Hughes gets the win
Game 3: Lee pitches brilliantly, wins (although Pettitte pitches a masterpiece, too)
Game 4: Sabathia wins again
Game 5: Wilson bonces back
Game 6: Pettitte clinches it (as usual)
Obviously this will be a well-pitched series.
One last prediction: you will find yourself both celebrating and screaming at the TV at some point in this series. That's a promise.
Thanks for reading.