ALCS Game 2: Texas Rangers Report Card After 7-2 Win Over Yankees
For the first time in franchise history, the Texas Rangers have won a home playoff game and ALCS game. Once again, the Rangers built a 5-0 lead and unlike last night, they held on.
A steal of home as part of a double steal for Texas got them going in the first and they never looked back. Just like in Game 1, the Yankees saw their starter struggle mightily. In the second inning, David Murphy hit his first career playoff home run and at the end, the Rangers won, 7-2.
They even up the series at one apiece, as the series shifts to the Bronx on Monday. Here's a Texas Rangers Game 2 report card, breaking down every angle.
The Rangers have shown plenty of offense in the first two games against Yankees starters. They have scored 12 runs and today, added some insurance runs to help win.
Aggressive baserunning was the key for Texas against the Rays in the ALDS, and they utilized their speed early today. In the first inning, with runners on the corners and two outs, Elvis Andrus stole home as Josh Hamilton broke for second base. Yankees catcher Jorge Posada threw to second, as he should've looked Andrus back to third.
In the second, David Murphy hit a towering home run, and the Rangers added another run in the inning on a Michael Young double. Just like Sabathia last night, Phil Hughes didn't have his great stuff and was knocked out after four-plus innings.
The Rangers were ultra aggressive at the plate, swinging at virtually every pitch they saw. They added two more runs in the third and two more in the fifth against Hughes and Joba Chamberlain to extend their lead to 7-1.
Hughes was charged with all seven runs, as once again the Rangers failed to score against the Yankees bullpen, which hasn't allowed a run in the two games. That could become a problem down the line if Yankees starters stop giving up tons of runs.
But for now, the Rangers are scoring enough to the point they should be up 2-0 in this series.
C.J. Wilson pitched a fine Game 1 for Texas, and Colby Lewis wasn't bad either. The Rangers didn't lose anything by not pitching Cliff Lee until the third game.
The Yankees didn't score off Lewis until the fourth, when Robinson Cano was singled in by Lance Berkman. A potentially longer rally was ruined once Berkman attempted to stretch his hit into a double. By the time he second-guessed himself, it was too late as he was tagged out. So, Lewis got some help in that aspect but still pitched decently.
The only other run he allowed was to Cano on a long home run in the sixth, cutting the lead to 7-2. Neither team would score for the rest of the game.
Lewis was taken out with two outs in the sixth after allowing two men to reach base and left to an ovation from the crowd, who witnessed the team's first ever home playoff victory. In total, Lewis allowed two runs on six hits, he walked three and struck out six.
This time, the bullpen got a five-run lead and held on to it. After getting torched last night, they pitched 3.1 innings of shut out ball.
Once again, manager Ron Washington decided to bring in five relievers, but they all got the job done. Clay Rapada struck out the only man he faced, Alexi Ogando pitched a scoreless seventh, Darren Oliver and O'Day combined to pitch a scoreless eighth and closer Neftali Feliz ended the game.
Feliz looked the shakiest of all as he walked two batters in the ninth and received a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux. The final out of the game was a deep fly ball to left field off the bat of Cano with two men in scoring position.
It was a complete 180 turnaround from the awful job they did last night. They are a major reason that the team won.
After scoring two runs with a man at second base on a ground ball against the Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS, the Rangers used their speed to beat the Yankees today.
In the first inning, Elvis Andrus stole home as part of a delayed double-steal. Josh Hamilton, who had two steals, ran to second trying to get into a rundown to allow the run to score.
The speed the Rangers have shown is going to be a major threat all series long. Yankees catcher Jorge Posada has had so much trouble throwing guys out and making accurate throws, that it'll be very smart for the Rangers to continue putting the pressure on.
During that first inning, Phil Hughes was on the verge of getting out of the jam unscathed. He had struck out Vladimir Guerrero for the second out of the inning and had two strikes on Nelson Cruz.
The Rangers, alertly knowing they needed to find a way to get the crowd involved after a deflating loss, took full advantage. It got them off on the right foot and began their path to a Game 2 win.
Just like in Game 1, Rangers manager Ron Washington made some curious decisions with his utilization of the bullpen. With a 7-2 lead, Washington decided it was the right thing to do for a second straight game to use his bullpen batter-for-batter. Well, not literally, but you got the point.
Over the final 3.1 innings, five relievers were brought in. During the season, perhaps only two or three pitchers would've been used.
The most head-scratching move of all was bringing in Neftali Feliz to pitch the ninth. Although he's only 22-years-old and Washington wanted to bring him in in a non-pressure situation, there was no point in letting him pitch in a five-run game. He saved 40 games during the season and should be trusted enough to be brought in to pitch in save situations.
The way Washington has managed the first two games, especially this second one, is too over-the-top. Maybe he just feels that the bullpen will now get two days of rest with Cliff Lee pitching on Monday.