2010 ALCS: 10 Reasons the Rangers May Wrap This Up in Game 5
If not for one inning, the Texas Rangers would be staring at a three-game-to-none lead in the ALCS against the team that is supposed to dominate in the playoffs.
They've dominated 26 of the 27 innings played, and they've outscored the defending champion New York Yankees 20-8, including an 8-0 shutout on Monday night.
After most thought the Yankees would run right through the Rangers, this resilient young team has showed that they still have fight in them and that they are every bit as good as the potent Yankees lineup. What they've also proved is they have better pitching. As history has shown—especially in the playoffs—good pitching beats good hitting every day of the week.
With the Rangers up two games to one after the win on Monday night, they are playing well enough to wrap this series up before it ever shifts back to Arlington, Texas.
Here are 10 reasons why they'll do just that on Wednesday, and why they'll make the Yankees—and their fans—watch as the Rangers celebrate as ALCS Champions.
No. 10: A.J. Burnett Starting For The Yankees in Game 4
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If everything I see on Twitter and everything I read on Tuesday night's Game 4 is an accurate indicator, the Yankees are a little more than worried about A.J. Burnett's performance against this Rangers team.
C.C. Sabathia and Philip Hughes have both struggled, and though Andy Pettitte gave up just two runs, it was enough for Cliff Lee on Monday night.
Now, with Burnett toeing the mound, one has to wonder how much worse this is about to get for the Bronx Bombers.
No. 9: Josh Hamilton's Bat Is Heating Up
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Three ALCS games, two big home runs.
Unfortunately for Josh Hamilton, only one of those home runs was enough to get the Rangers a win. The other should have been enough, but for their bullpen.
On Friday night, with the game scoreless, Hamilton lined a three-run home run into the right-field stands, sending the fans into a frenzy and his team to a 3-0 lead.
The Rangers bullpen, however, gave up five runs in the top half of the eighth inning, which was enough to steal Game 1.
Then, in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, Hamilton once again lined a home run into the right field stands. This time, it was a two-run shot in the very first inning to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. They were the only runs the team needed, padded by a six-run ninth inning by the team off the Yankees' bullpen.
No. 8: Michael Young Swinging a Hot Bat
Through three games, Rangers third baseman Michael Young has six hits in 15 at bats with two doubles and three runs batted in.
Getting his bat going at the exact same time as Josh Hamilton makes this lineup as dangerous as any in the playoffs.
No. 7: Mark Teixeira Held Hitless
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The Rangers have kept Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira from hurting them with his bat.
So much so that they've kept him hitless through all three ALCS games (11 at-bats).
No. 6: Derek Jeter Ineffective In The Last Two Games
Though Derek Jeter was 2-for-5 in the first game of the ALCS, the Rangers have held him to just one hit in his last eight at-bats, striking him out six times over the same two-game span.
No. 5: Where's Lance Berkman?
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Surprisingly, Lance Berkman has just two playoff appearances this postseason. One came against Minnesota, where he went 2-for-4 with two RBI. The other appearance was in Game 2 against the Rangers where he went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
So through two games, Berkman is 3-for-7 with three RBI in two playoff appearances. You'd think the Yankees would want to take advantage of that.
The more he rides the pine, the better it is for the Rangers.
No. 4: Neftali Feliz Untouchable
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For a young reliever throwing against arguably the best team in baseball, you'd expect a few jitters to run through the veins of Rangers closer Neftali Feliz.
However, he's been solid through two innings of relief, not giving up a single run. Though he hasn't faced a closing situation yet, something tells me he'll be just fine.
No. 3: Rangers Getting It Done Without Ian Kinsler, Vlad Guerrero
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Before the ALCS began, most Ranger fans would tell you that they'd need Ian Kinsler and Vlad Guerrero to come up with some big performances for their team to have a chance.
So far, they've gotten everything but, and still the Rangers lead the series two games to one. Kinsler and Guerrero, through three games of the ALCS, are a combined 3-for-22 with just a single RBI.
Guerrero, on his own, has struck out six times, including two in each of the last two ALCS games.
No. 2: Alex Rodriguez a Non-Factor
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Through the first few years of Alex Rodriguez's tenure in New York, Yankee fans hated his October disappearing act.
Well, it's apparently happening again this year.
While Rodriguez drove in two runs on a single hit in Game 1, part of the eighth-inning rally that cost the Rangers a possible 3-0 series lead, through the last two games he is a combined 1-for-8 and seems to be on the verge of another October disappearance.
No. 1: Rangers Have Outplayed The Yankees
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Despite one bad inning in Game 1, the Texas Rangers have outplayed the New York Yankees in every aspect of the game for 26 of the 27 innings played so far.
They've outpitched them, they've outhit them, they've outscored them.
History might have been on the Yankees' side when this series began, but it's not the first time they've faced a team without a World Series appearance and ended up losing.
We might see recent history replay itself and the ghosts of the 2001 Diamondbacks come back to haunt them.