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Yanks push ALCS back to Texas with Game 5 victory

Oct 20, 2010, 8:26 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 5 Getty Images

Trailing 3-1 in this year’s seven-game ALCS against the Rangers, the Yankees’ offense finally decided to wake up on Wednesday evening in New York.

Jorge Posada kicked off the game’s scoring with an RBI single in the second inning, Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back homers in the third and Lance Berkman even registered an RBI against a left-hander as the Yanks grabbed a 7-2 win.

CC Sabathia did not pitch well, surrendering 11 hits in six innings, but the Rangers struggled to drive in runs for once and C.J. Wilson had issues finding the plate for most of the night.

Josh Hamilton finished 1-for-4 with a strikeout, Vladimir Guerrero did not register a hit in four plate appearances, Elvis Andrus was picked off second base with the Rangers threatening in the seventh inning and Nelson Cruz exited early with a tight left hamstring.

Losses breed bad news.  Or perhaps bad news breeds losses.

Either way, we now move to Game 6, set for Friday in Arlington, Texas.

The Rangers will throw Colby Lewis, a right-hander with a 3.72 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 32 starts during the regular season and a 1.69 ERA over two starts in these playoffs.  He was signed last winter out of Japan and became a real catch for Texas almost immediately.  The 31-year-old native of Bakersfield, California struck out 196 batters and walked only 65 spanning 201 innings in 2010, but he will have his hands full against a tough and suddenly hot Yankees lineup.

The Yanks will put their faith in Phil Hughes, a 24-year-old righty with 18 wins and a 1.25 WHIP over 31 outings during the regular season.  He held the Twins scoreless during a dominant seven-inning start in the ALDS but was lit up for seven earned runs on 10 hits in Game 2 of this Championship Series against Texas.  It’s anyone’s guess as to how he might fare in Game 6, and a quick hook seems likely if his stuff is not looking sharp.

Hughes had a 3.65 ERA during the first half of 2010 and a 4.90 ERA in the second half.  He’s been a force in one outing this postseason and far too hittable in another.  Inconsistency is a norm in baseball and it tends to render useless the practice of predictions and predeterminations.

As this American League Championship Series heads back to Arlington, only one real looming question remains: If a Game 7 is played, how will the Yankees get through Rangers ace Cliff Lee?

Lee has allowed only two earned runs in three starts this postseason and shut out the Yankees over eight innings in Game 3.  He boasts a total of 34 strikeouts in 24 playoff innings this year and has walked just a single batter.

The Yankees will go with veteran lefty Andy Pettitte on normal rest in a potential Game 7 and will make Sabathia available out of the bullpen.  Pettitte is great, and he’s been fairly sharp this postseason, but he’ll be a definite underdog in what could be the most important baseball game ever played in the Dallas area.

Off we go.

  1. Old Gator - Oct 20, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    I’m up for Texas. This was probably the single dullest game of the league championships so far, which, by the way, is not a fanboy or anti-fanboy commentary, just a cold, hard calculation of interest level using some of the most sophisticated neural pathways in my armory. In other words, I fell asleep during this game and my dogs woke me up – not to tell me the score or anything, but just because it was past dinnertime and where the hell was I?

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:30 PM

      Did you give them Texas Tommys or Nathans?

      • Old Gator - Oct 21, 2010 at 1:16 AM

        I gave them Nine Lives cat food, for the same reason that Sarah Palin ought to be force fed felafel.

  2. Utley's Hair - Oct 20, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    Where is that elusive love for the Senior Circuit? Seriously, where is the live blog? Five already for the Wankers-Walkers series and just one after considerable bitching by several of us on Sunday. Way uncool guys.

    And what’s with the double numbering on the comments?

    • Drew Silva - Oct 20, 2010 at 10:26 PM

      It’s nothing intentional, just about timing and other priorities.

      Not sure what the deal is with the comments. I don’t think it’s doing that on other posts.

  3. Chris Ross - Oct 21, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    I really hope that the Rangers can pull it out in Game 6. I have always been a Yankee hater but just the booing of A.J. Burnett in game 4 has really put it over the top for me about wanting the Yankees to lose. How the hell can you boo your team that just won the world series last season? Seriously? The Yankees have a very good team, but again I don’t think their pitching is enough so hopefully we can see a Rangers-Phillies final so at least there is one interesting team. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I really wanna hear what you have to say.

    • yanksfan27 - Oct 21, 2010 at 10:48 AM

      I was at the game, they weren’t booing Burnett, they were booing Girardi for an intentional walk that resulted in a 3 run homer by Molina

  4. apbaguy - Oct 21, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    Tough call on Game 6 in Texas, but I lean Rangers because the Rangers hit fastballs so well, and Hughes doesn’t locate as well as will in a few more years. The Yankees showed signs of life again today, but the lack of Tex at first has to show up on defense. Finally, I think the Rangers really want to see Lee pitch Game 1 of the Series against Los Gigantes, and no, I can’t believe I’m saying that, but watching Ol’ Charlie leave Chad Durbin in for an eternity has convinced me that its going to be teh Selig nightmare series.

  5. donbp - Oct 21, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    I don’t know if Hughes can win but if they get to game 7 I love Pettitte over Lee. Who will be nervous then? It won’t be Pettitte.

    • Detroit Michael - Oct 21, 2010 at 1:52 PM

      Neither starting pitcher will be nervous to an unusual extent then. Cliff Lee was unflappable in last year’s World Series.

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