The Texas Rangers are headed to the World Series for the second year in a row.
Last year they were beaten handedly by the San Francisco Giants in five games; this year something feels different.
The emergence of Alexi Ogando and the addition of Mike Napoli has put this Rangers team over the top.
They were legitimately the second best team in the American League this season (behind the Yankees) and their postseason wins against Tampa Bay and Detroit have proven that they have what it takes to get it done in October—again.
This is a veteran team with World Series experience, but how do they match up against the teams that the American League has been sending over the past 10 years?
Let's take a look.
The 95-67 Detroit Tigers seemed to have the advantage over the 83-79 St. Louis Cardinals.
The World Series proved that simply wasn't the case.
David Eckstein won World Series MVP honors—allow that to soak in—and the Tigers could only win one game.
Justin Verlander lost both of his starts and the Tigers offense couldn't produce against a mediocre Cardinals pitching staff.
The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays vs. Philadelphia Phillies was truly a David vs. Goliath matchup.
The Rays were 97-65 and even eliminated a very good Boston Red Sox team in the ALCS, but it was evident that this was just a really fantastic run for an otherwise good, but not great team.
They didn't have a chance against a Philadelphia team filled with much better players throughout their lineup, rotation and bullpen.
The 2010 Texas Rangers were a good team, but the 2010 San Francisco Giants were a great team.
The 90-72 Rangers were just overmatched by the Giants' strong pitching rotation.
Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson both failed to get victories in Games 1 and 2 that basically eliminated any hope the Rangers had of winning the 2010 title.
This 2011 Texas Rangers team is definitely better than last year, and it appears that they'll likely have a favorable matchup in the World Series.
If the Rangers get the Cardinals then I think Texas wins their first World Series.
If the Brewers come back then I think their starting pitching will be too tough for the Rangers to overcome.
Once the postseason started they proved that their bullpen and dynamite lineup were superior to anyone else in the American League.
The Angels breezed through the Yankees and Twins in the ALDS and ALCS and then outlasted the San Francisco Giants in a grueling seven game series.
The 2003 New York Yankees won 101 regular season games and beat the Boston Red Sox in a dramatic seven game series, but they weren't able to beat a young Florida Marlins team with superior pitching.
Brad Penny won two important games and Josh Beckett closed the series out with a dominating Game 6 performance in Yankee Stadium.
The 2004 Red Sox were a team of destiny in many ways.
They famously fell behind the New York Yankees 3-0 in the ALCS and came roaring back to win the series in dramatic fashion.
They swept the Cardinals and brought the first World Series title to Boston in 86 years.
2009 brought two of the best teams of the past 10 years together in the World Series. The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies battled in a series truly featuring the two best teams in baseball.
The Yankees came out on top with Alex Rodriguez shedding his reputation for not coming through in the clutch and bringing the Yankees their first World Series title since 2000.
The 2005 Chicago White Sox simply dominated the American League.
The White Sox' 99 wins were the most in the American League and they didn't slow down once the playoffs started.
Chicago swept the Red Sox, beat Anaheim in five games, and then swept the Houston Astros to win the World Series.
Chicago went 11-1 in the postseason. 'Nuff said.