Friday, October 22, 2010

Game six ALCS recap

By Kshell

Before the season began the Texas Rangers were the only team in major league baseball who had never won a postseason series. Not even when they were the Washington Senators from 1961-71 did they win a postseason series. Now the Rangers again find themselves in a position to cross their names off the list of being just one of three teams to have never reached the World Series.

Standing in the way of the Rangers is the defending world champion New York Yankees. The Yankees bats finally woke up in game five and were hoping to use that momentum in game six against unproven Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis who was pitching in Japan the last two seasons. The Yankees were giving the ball to unproven Phil Hughes who pitched brilliant in the clinching ALDS game vs the Twins but was miserable here in game two at Texas. The Rangers offense hasn't been slowed down all series long and they weren't going to start today.

Rangers win first ever American League Championship 6-1 over Yankees

With two outs in the ninth all that was standing in the Rangers way of the American League Championship was former Ranger Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez who the Rangers are still paying is a big part of why the Rangers went bankrupt. A-rod only played three seasons of his 10 year/250 million dollar deal. Now he was standing in the Rangers way. When the Rangers closer who just turned 22 years old this year Neftali Feliz was set to pitch he froze A-rod to strike him out looking and start the biggest party to date in Texas Rangers history. The crowd erupted as the Rangers stamped their ticket to the World Series. Most importantly by winning today Cliff Lee will be able to pitch game one of the World Series.

The Rangers won again by a total team effort. For the fourth time this series they received great pitching, the defense was again excellent, and of course the Rangers offense pounded out some hits and this time scored some runs.

The Rangers got on the board the first with some small ball. The Rangers actually led all of baseball in productive outs. Productive outs is when you get an out but advance the runners or drive in the runner. With first and third and one out Vladmir Guerrero who hadn't driven in a single run this whole series grounded it in the hole to the second baseman. Since Hamilton was running there was no possible double play and the Rangers struck first 1-0.

The Rangers starter Colby Lewis who got the first every win at home in Rangers postseason history was lights out all game especially early on. Lewis had given up zero hits through the first four innings. He would finally give up a hit to A-rod. Then with A-rod on third and one out he would hit Nick Swisher in the shin, Swisher went down in pain. Only the ump thought it was a wild pitch so A-rod scored from third to tie the game. This is yet another case of why instant replay should be in use. At first it appeared the Rangers got robbed. Then Swisher got out and Posada hit a double down in the corner. Had Swisher been awarded first like he was supposed to he might have been able to score from first base.

The Rangers offense which let C.C.Sabathia off the hook several times in game five were letting Hughes off the hook as well. Then in the fifth inning they finally took advantage and erupted. After intentionally walking Josh Hamilton the Rangers had first and third two outs for Guerrero who ripped a hanging slider into the gap in the outfield scoring Mitch Moreland and Hamilton flew from first base and scored giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. That would end Hughes night making that back to back starts he wouldn't even reach five innings. Giradi then brought in David Robertson who was bombed in game three and Robertson then gave up a two run two out home run to Nelson Cruz giving the Rangers a commanding 5-1 lead as the place was going crazy.

The Rangers then rode Colby Lewis who was dominant. Lewis allowed just three hits in eight innings and allowed just one run and struck out seven Yankees. Then in the ninth Feliz who along with Andrus was acquired for Teixeira when Teixeira was traded to Atlanta in 2007. The Rangers celebrated their first every American League Championship series. Now only the Washington Nationals and our Seattle Mariners are the only franchises who have never made a World Series appearance.

The American League Championship Series MVP went to Josh Hamilton. Hamilton hit 7 for 20(.350) with 4 home runs, 7 RBI's and 6 runs scored. He also stole 3 bases and walked 8 times meaning he reached base 15 of 28(.536) plate appearances. The Josh Hamilton story is pretty amazing. I remember when he was supposed to be the first Devil Ray's star being the first pick overall in 1999. I also remember watching a piece on him on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in 2006 when Hamilton was finally recovering from his demons and was just in single A. I also remember the panelist saying he has less than a five percent shot at reaching the major leagues. It appeared Hamilton like many athletes you never hear about pissed his talent down the drain. Only this story is different since Hamilton got his act together and rebounded. He made the major leagues in 2007 then was traded to the Texas Rangers. Now he has been a three-time all-star and could win the American League MVP this year. It truly is a great story and someday you'll see this story made into a movie. In that movie they'll probably get 90% of the facts wrong but I remember watching this unfold live in person and its been a pleasure to watch.

I have to hand it to Nolan Ryan and the rest of the front office. He easily could have fired Ron Washington this offseason with him admitting he had tried cocaine but instead the team rallied around Washington. The team who is led by Josh Hamilton who started the "Claw" and the "Antlers" is really a fun team to watch. It's hard for me as a Mariners fan to not like this guys but I have to. If this team wasn't in my division or if I was shopping for a team to like Texas would certainly but up there. So no matter who they play in the World Series the team that Vegas had as the longest shot will have the games best postseason pitcher on full rest pitching in game one. Nobody gave the Rangers a chance and counted them out the problem is they forgot to inform the Rangers. Way to go Texas and Mariners take notes because this is how a good franchise is ran.

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