Sometimes the baseball gods smile upon us. And by us, I mean the heaps of baseball fans that would love nothing more than a World Series void of the New York Yankees. That’s what we have in store this year, as the Rangers cruised to a 6-1 win over New York tonight in Game 6 of the ALCS, jumping on Phil Hughes for the second time in five days and getting eight magnificent innings from Colby Lewis to secure it.
Elvis Andrus doubled to start the first and scored two batters later on a Vladimir Guerrero ground out. After a New York run off a Lewis wild pitch in the fifth, Texas got four back in the bottom half on a Guerrero double that chased Hughes and a two-run homer by Nelson Cruz off reliever David Robertson, making it 5-1 and effectively putting the Yankees and their lovely fan base to bed for the winter. Hughes, who gave up seven runs in four innings in a 7-2 loss in Game 2, was charged with four runs on four hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings this time around.
Lewis was nearly untouchable for the Rangers, using just 102 pitches to get through his eight innings and giving up just three hits, three walks and the lone fifth-inning run. Ron Washington handed the ball to closer Neftali Feliz for a one-two-three ninth, including a strikeout of former Texas legend Alex Rodriguez to end it.
As great as it is to see the Yankees come up short, it’s almost as much of a feel-good story to see the Rangers, who have been around as a franchise since 1961 (as the Washington Senators) and in Texas since 1972, reach the World Series for the first time. How good does it have to feel for fans of this team? And how about third baseman Michael Young — a Ranger since 2000 that reached the playoffs for the first time this year, 1,508 games into his big league career? To a team that hasn’t exactly caught that many breaks the past 50 years, congrats.
Josh Hamilton, who went 1-for-1 with three walks in Game 6, grabbed ALCS MVP honours by hitting .350 (7-for-20) with four homers. The win also means the Rangers can save Cliff Lee, who was scheduled to pitch in the potential decider tomorrow, for Game 1 of the World Series, which is scheduled for Wednesday in either San Francisco or Philadelphia.
Anyway, now that we’ve got one spot filled, the Giants and Phillies are set to settle the National League score, with Game 6 going tomorrow in Philly at 7:57.