Saturday, October 16, 2010

ALCS Game 2: Yankees at Rangers

Photo courtesy Texas Rangers
The Yankees look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
After a dramatic rally from five runs down last night, the Yankees now find themselves in the driver's seat in the ALCS. Win again today, and they head home up 2-0 on the Rangers. Even if they lose to Cliff Lee in Game 3, they'd still have a chance to close out the series without having to return to Texas. Then again, maybe the prospect of a return trip to Arlington isn't so bad considering the Rangers' shoddy history. They've now lost all seven postseason games they've ever hosted.

So the pressure's on Colby Lewis to reverse the trend and even up this series. The Yankees have precious little experience against the right-hander, who avoided New York altogether this season. In fact, only three members of New York's roster have ever faced Lewis: Lance Berkman (0-for-7), Jorge Posada (0-for-6) and Derek Jeter (3-for-5, two homers).

Really, though, the pressure's on the Texas bullpen to bounce back after last night's disaster. Ron Washington never could get the ball in the hands of closer Neftali Feliz, instead watching as four setup men and lefty specialists coughed up the lead. If the Rangers manage to carry another lead into the latter innings today, what kind of confidence will Washington have in that group?

Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Gametime: 4:07 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 84 degrees
SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Nick Swisher
C Jorge Posada
DH Lance Berkman
LF Brett Gardner
(P Phil Hughes)

SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
LF David Murphy
C Bengie Molina
1B Mitch Moreland
(P Colby Lewis)
4:29 p.m. -- Just when it looked like the Rangers were going to squander a great scoring opportunity (man on third, one out) in the bottom of the first, they pulled off one of their trademark "antler" plays to take a 1-0 lead. Great double steal with Josh Hamilton breaking from first and Elvis Andrus breaking from third. The key to it all was Hamilton pulling up short of second base, not allowing Robinson Cano to tag him before Andrus crossed the plate. Had Hamilton kept going, he would have been out and the run probably wouldn't have counted. Great execution by the Rangers, terrible execution by the Yankees.

4:55 p.m. -- Hey, what do you know: The Rangers have jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Where have we seen this before? Here's the question: We know the Yankees obviously aren't panicking at this point, but are the Rangers?

5:24 p.m. -- Boy, the bottom of the Texas lineup really is coming through with some quality at-bats. David Murphy, Bengie Molina and Mitch Moreland have already combined for four hits, three RBI and three runs scored through three innings. The Rangers lead 5-0 and the Yankee bullpen is up and running. It's deja vu all over again.

6:00 p.m. --  That's it for Phil Hughes, who couldn't make it through the fifth. A Nelson Cruz double and an Ian Kinsler triple opened the inning, and that brought Joe Girardi out of the dugout. Hughes is done and Joba Chamberlain is in with Texas now leading 6-1. That would normally seem like a comfortable lead, but the way things went last night, if you're the Rangers, you've got to be trying to add on as many more runs as you can and not even give the Yankees reason to think they can rally.

6:24 p.m. -- 7-2 in the top of the sixth, two out, two on, and Ron Washington is handing things over to his bullpen. Fifty thousand fans in Arlington won't be taking another breath for the next 90 minutes.

6:32 p.m. -- Clay Rapada to the rescue. Unlike last night, when the lefty entered, threw one pitch, allowed a hit and immediately departed, this time he came through and ended the sixth with the 7-2 lead intact.

7:23 p.m. -- The Texas bullpen is coming up big. Nice job by the Darrens (Oliver and O'Day) to get through the eighth unscathed. Rangers are now three outs from evening up the series.

7:41 p.m. -- Before we go to the ninth, one thought: If Vladimir Guerrero can't get his swing together and start actually making contact, the Yankees might just intentionally walk him every time he steps to the plate the rest of this series. OK, here comes Neftali Feliz, trying to record three outs before surrendering five runs.

7:59 p.m. -- That'll do it. Texas wins 7-2. Only took three hours and 52 minutes to complete a nine-inning game. Roy Halladay has already recorded an out in Philly -- new game thread up for that, so check it out.


Les in NC said...

That is a great "small ball" tactic that I would personally like to see more of....out of the Nats of course! Did they ever even attempt this this season? I know that the right situation needs to present itself, but I also know that this situation isn't a rare one.

Souldrummer said...

That would require two of our speed guys to be on base at the same time and capable of the right move. Would Nyjer have slowed up there to allow the run to score? Would we have had two fast guys on base at the same time?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Sammy Solis had a solid outing in Arizona today. 3 innings, two hits, a double and a single in the first that gave up a run, then shut them down from there.

Derek Norris had 2 hits, Steve Lombardozi got a couple of hits and Adam Carr threw a solid outing.

Dorky Vest Guy said...

Yankees suck! Yankees suck!

BethesdaFan said...

Mark --

My wife and I really appreciate your blogging, including the post-season games. We put MLB Gameday on one screen and your blog on another. Then, check periodically while reading or watching DVDs,DVRs, etc. Turn on the TV if the game as needed.

Great to follow the action - and watch a 2 hour movie. Multitasking, at its best. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Good game by the Rangers, they took advantage of a brain lapse by Posada early, got better starting pitching and made several nice defensive plays. Series tied 1-1 heading back to the Bronx. This could be a barn burner of a series!

John C.

Genuine Dorky Vest Guy said...

Terrific game, even if the Yanks did lose. I may be a Yankee rooter, but realistically you want the best teams to win the Pennants, the better to ensure a competitive series. (Although a Giants-Rangers WS isn't going to draw much more than an average MASN Nats contest ratings-wise.)

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