As the NLCS and ALCS are underway, the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers have caught the eye of many baseball fanatics.
For Texas, the Rangers have made history. With their first team to ever enter postseason status and gain a win, Texas has gone crazy.
However, with the series tied 1-1 and the teams heading to New York on Monday—anything can happen.
New York Yankees
Downfall: Pitcher CC Sabathia.
Granted, the Yankees starters are pitching on extended rest (Sabathia had gone on an eight-day rest after beating the Phillies), Sabathia only lasted for four innings, allowing five runs and four walks.
Rise: Obviously, THE FIVE-RUN COMEBACK. Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera maintained expectations and the Yankees took the lead and won, 6-5. Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano both delivered huge hits in the eighth inning, contributing to the Yankees comeback. Marcus Thames shattered three bats giving the Yankees the lead in that same inning.
Downfall: In the eighth inning, the Yankees adjusted against Wilson and the four Rangers relievers—especially against their fastballs. Of the 44 pitches, 34 were fastballs. The Yankees were 4-for-6 against the heater, and four balls were deemed "well-hit."
Rise: Slugger Josh Hamilton stroked a three-run homer in the first inning. That not only gave the Rangers confidence, but it set back the Yankees a good number of runs in the ALCS debut.
Starter C.J. Wilson impressed by maintaining a 5-1 lead through seven innings. It seemed like the Rangers were the shoo-in to win the series (especially since godsend Cliff Lee wasn’t even on the mound).
New York Yankees
Downfall: Pitcher Phil Hughes.
He did pitch a better first inning in the second game, compared to Sabathia’s start in Game 1, but it was all downhill from there. He gave up two runs in each of the second, third and fifth innings.
Rise: The Rangers' pitching game held the Yankees in the second game. Starter Colby Lewis struck out six Yankee hitters, with four strikeouts coming on pitches out of the zone.
The bullpen did the Yankees over in the remainder of the game.
Clay Rapada threw seven sliders to finish out the sixth with a strikeout of Marcus Thames.
In the seventh, Alexi Ogando threw 25 pitches, 23 of them fastballs averaging 97 mph.
Despite allowing a hit to Alex Rodriguez that put Mark Teixeira in scoring position, Ogando struck out Robinson Cano on a fastball.
After losing the lead in Friday's eighth inning, yesterday the Darrens threw 12 of their 16 combined pitches inside to hitters, which led to a strikeout and two groundouts.
Yes, the Yankees will counter Rangers Cliff Lee in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, but that doesn’t mean the series is over. Not yet.
Yankees can regain the series lead if Game 3 starter Andy Pettitte, the winningest postseason pitcher in baseball history, pitches as well as he did last week against the Twins. That kind of outing would show he's back in top form after being on the disabled list for nearly two months with a strained left groin.
It's not an unfamiliar position for Pettitte, who might give the Yankees the win they need.
Which pitcher do you think will cause the most damage?