ALCS 2010: Do The New York Yankees Still Have a Shot?

Michael WallCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2010

ALCS 2010: Do The New York Yankees Still Have a Shot?

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 15:  CC Sabithia #52 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game One of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 15, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Yankees won 6-
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The New York Yankees are now trailing 3-1 in the 2010 ALCS against the Texas Rangers. 

    C.C. Sabathia will start against C.J. Wilson in Game 5 at 4:07 p.m. in New York. 

    Anytime time that Sabathia is on the mound, especially at home, the Yankees have a great shot to win the game. 

    However, it's just one game. The New York Yankees have to win Game 5 at home, then win both Games 6 and 7 in Texas.  

    Do they have a shot to win the series? Absolutely. It is the New York Yankees that we are talking about. 

    At this point, though, it would be one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history, requiring tremendous play and a bit of luck.   

    Here is how the rest of the 2010 ALCS may play out.  

Mark Teixeira Injury

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees is helped off of the field by Manager Joe Girardi and a trainer after hurting himself while playing against the Texas Rangers in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The New York Yankees have lost Mark Teixeira for the rest of the 2010 postseason. Teixeira suffered a strained hamstring in Game 4, an injury that requires six to eight weeks to recover from.   

    However, the loss of Teixeira may seem greater than it really is.   

    He was absolutely awful in the 2010 ALCS against the Texas Rangers. In four games, Teixeira did not have one hit.   

    On the other hand, the New York Yankees will lose some great defense at first base. It is likely that Nick Swisher or Lance Berkman will start at first base for the rest of the postseason. 

    Berkman has only played two games in the ALCS, posting two hits and one RBI. Offensively, at least, it is not that much of a change at first base.  

    Losing Teixeira certainly hurts the Yankees, but the team has great depth and should be able to hit well without him.   

    Some teams react well when one of their star players suffers an injury. Do not be surprised if New York starts to play with more determination.  

C.C. Sabathia Should and Will Win Game 5

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 15:  CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees tags out Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers at the plate in Game One of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 15, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.
    Elsa/Getty Images

    C.C. Sabathia struggled in Game 1 of the ALCS. He only lasted four innings, giving up six hits, five earned runs and four walks.

    Game 1, though, was played at night in Texas. 

    In the 2010 regular season, Sabathia was 11-2 at home with a 3.00 ERA. In day starts, C.C. has a record of 8-3 with a 2.67 ERA.  

    C.J. Wilson pitched very well against the Yankees in Game 1, but the bullpen ruined his great performance.  

    New York needs to try and focus on one game at a time. The Yankees clearly have the advantage in Game 5.

    Win one and the difficult task of winning the series becomes far less daunting.  

    If Sabathia pitches like the ace that he is, the Yankees should gain back some momentum.  

Texas Rangers Could Lose Two Games at Home

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  (L-R) Manager Ron Washington and Darren Oliver #28 of the Texas Rangers celebrate after the Rangers won 10-3 against the New York Yankees  in Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    In the ALDS, the Texas Rangers had a commanding 2-0 lead against the Tampa Bay Rays. 

    They had won two games in Tampa Bay, and had two chances to clinch the series at home in front of their fans. 

    What happened? Texas lost both games as the offense seemed to die. During that two-game span, Texas allowed ten runs while only scoring three runs.  

    There is no real explanation behind their poor play at home. Maybe it is because a team that likes to play "loose" accepts the challenge of playing on the road instead of having the pressure of winning in front of their home fans. 

    Yankees fans just have to realize that it is not that impossible. If Texas has already lost two games in a row at home in the 2010 postseason, why can't they again?  

    In fact, New York Yankees fans should look for inspiration in an odd, familiar place.  

    In the 2004 ALCS, the Yankees were leading the Boston Red Sox 3-0 in the series. The Red Sox pulled off an incredible comeback, winning two games in Boston followed by two games in New York. 

    It can happen. 

Biggest Obstacle: Cliff Lee

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers reacts after he forced out Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees at first base in the bottom of the third inning of Game Three of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on Oct
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Let's assume that the Yankees win Games 5 and 6. New York would have the momentum in the series, and all of the pressure would be on the Texas Rangers. 

    The Yankees would have the veteran Andy Pettitte on the mound, possibly with a little bullpen help from C.C. Sabathia, an ideal scenario for New York.  

    Andy Pettitte pitched well in Game 3, too. He lasted seven innings and only allowed two earned runs. It does not get much better than that. 

    There is just one small problem. The New York Yankees would have to attempt to finally solve Cliff Lee. 

    Lee has been absolutely masterful in the 2010 postseason. In Game 3 of the ALCS, Lee pitched eight innings while allowing no runs and only two hits. 

    The law of averages may favor the Yankees, though. Some would reason that eventually the New York Yankees would have success against Cliff Lee.  

    Game 7 would certainly be an exciting game. Pettitte would be pitching in his home state and have the chance to cement his legacy with the New York Yankees. Cliff Lee could show everyone that he is the best pitcher in the majors, especially before he becomes a free agent. 

    Maybe someone in New York's executive management will inform Lee that he will receive a better contract with the Yankees if he loses Game 7 on purpose. It is worth a shot. 

    The New York Yankees definitely have a chance to win the 2010 ALCS, but they must defeat Cliff Lee in order to advance to the World Series.