Some may still be surprised that the Rangers have made it this far. Others would argue their time is slowly coming to an end. That there is no way this ball club can beat the Yankees. After all, it’s the New York Yankees, the royal organization of baseball with its 41 American League pennants and 27 World Series titles backing it all up. Some believe C.C. Sabathia, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and company just will not lose, and that the 28th World Series title is for George.
Yes, it’s true, the Rangers just won their first postseason series in franchise history. They don’t have the veteran postseason experience that the Yankees possess. But what does postseason experience mean? Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum had no postseason experience this year, and one threw a no hitter and the other struck out 14.
So Sabathia sounds better than C.J. Wilson when it comes to Game 1 starters, and Andy Pettitte has 41 postseason starts to Colby Lewis’ one. Who is to say just because Jeter has played in 136 more games than Elvis Andrus that Andrus can’t be more productive?
The thing so many people have missed is that the Rangers have been setting up this moment since they acquired Cliff Lee just before the All-Star break. They finalized a deal for Lee within hours after the Yankees and Mariners deal fell through. With Lee, the Rangers finally found the ace they desperately needed.
It is not a coincidence that the Rangers found themselves in an elimination game on the road against the American League’s best team. It was certainly no coincidence that Lee took center stage and once again was brilliant.
Maybe the Yankees have the appeal. They definitely have the talent, but the Rangers match up favorably with the Yankees. If you break it down the Rangers offense is every bit as good as the Yankees offense. The starting pitching may be better when you factor in Lee. It was mid-September when the Yankees visited Texas and got swept. The Rangers won in extra innings, beat Rivera the next day, and to close it all out, watched as Lee regained his form to dominate the Yankees one more time. Now I know it was only the regular season, but confidence is baseball’s best friend. If nothing else, it gave this group of Rangers the confidence that beating the Yankees isn’t like painting the world.
Call me crazy, but the Rangers set this thing up. Not everything plays out the way you want it to, but if this thing goes seven you can bet all you want on New York. I will calmly sit and watch as Lee gashes the hearts of the New York faithful one last time.