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2010 American League Championship Series Preview: Rangers vs. Yankees

Texas (90-72, West Division champs) vs. New York (95-67, wild card)



  • Game 1: at Texas, Friday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m. (TBS)
  • Game 2: at Texas, Saturday, Oct. 16, 4 p.m. (TBS)
  • Game 3: at New York, Monday, Oct. 18, 8 p.m. (TBS)
  • Game 4: at New York, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m. (TBS)
  • x-Game 5: at New York, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 4 p.m. (TBS)
  • x-Game 6: at Texas, Friday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m. (TBS)
  • x-Game 7: at Texas, Saturday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m. (TBS)

x-if necessary

Yankees projected lineup

  1. SS Derek Jeter (.270, 10 HR, 67 RBI, 111 R in regular season)
  2. RF Nick Swisher (.288, 29 HR, 89 RBI, .870 OPS)
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira (.256, 33 HR, 108 RBI, 113 R)
  4. 3B Alex Rodriguez (.270, 30 HR, 125 RBI, .847 OPS)
  5. 2B Robinson Cano (.319, 29 HR, 109 RBI, 103 R)
  6. 6. DH Marcus Thames (.288, 12 HR, 33 RBI, .841 OPS)
  7. C Jorge Posada (.248, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 383 AB)
  8. CF Curtis Granderson (.247, 24 HR, 67 RBI, 12 SB)
  9. LF Brett Gardner (.277, 5 HR, 47 RBI, 47 SB)

Rangers projected lineup

  1. SS Elvis Andrus (.265, 0 HR, 35 RBI, 32 SB in regular season)
  2. 3B Michael Young (.284, 21 HR, 91 RBI, 99 R)
  3. CF Josh Hamilton (.359, 32 HR, 100 RBI, 1.044 OPS)
  4. DH Vladimir Guerrero (.300, 29 HR, 115 RBI, .841 OPS)
  5. LF Nelson Cruz (.318, 22, HR, 78 RBI, .950 OPS)
  6. 2B Ian Kinsler (.286, 9 HR, 45 RBI, 15 SB)
  7. RF Jeff Francoeur (.249, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 454 AB, combined Mets and Rangers)
  8. C Bengie Molina (.248, 5 HR, 35 RBI, 375 AB)
  9. 1B Mitch Moreland (.255, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 145 AB)

Yankees projected rotation

  • LHP CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18 ERA in regular season)
  • RHP Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19 ERA)
  • LHP Andy Pettitte (11-3, 3.28 ERA)
  • RHP A.J. Burnett (10-15, 5.26 ERA)

Rangers projected rotation

  • LHP C.J. Wilson (15-8, 3.35 ERA in regular season)
  • RHP Colby Lewis (12-13, 3.72 ERA)
  • LHP Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 ERA, combined Mariners and Rangers)
  • RHP Tommy Hunter (13-4, 3.73 ERA)

Inside the matchups

Hitting: The Yankees, who led the AL in runs in the regular season, batted .314 and outscored the Twins 17-7 in their three-game Division Series sweep. Granderson, who had a disappointing regular season, led the way by hitting .455 with three RBI, one stolen base and a 1.227 OPS. Swisher and Cano each batted .333, and Swisher scored three runs, homered and had a 1.135 OPS. Teixeira batted .308 with one homer and three RBI. Gardner (.200) was the only Yankees regular who didn't hit at least .273. The Rangers outscored the Rays 21-13 in their five-game ALDS win, hitting eight homers in the process. Kinsler had a huge series, hitting .444 with five runs, three homers, six RBI and a 1.444 OPS. Cruz batted .400 with five runs, three homers, a steal and a 1.350 OPS. Molina hit .357, and Andrus was the catalyst at the top of the order (.333, two runs, three steals). Hamilton, who returned late in the regular season from a rib injury, never got untracked in the ALDS. He was 2-for-18 (.111) with two singles, six strikeouts and a .311 OPS. The Rangers need him to get going to advance to the World Series. Both teams are stacked from Nos. 1-6 in the order, but the Yankees have the clear advantage in the bottom third -- especially with the speedy Gardner hitting ninth. Edge: Yankees.

Bench: Lance Berkman, who had only one homer in 107 regular-season at-bats with the Yankees after he was traded by the Astros, likely will start a few games at DH. He was 2-for-4 with two runs, a homer and two RBI in Game 2 against the Twins. He was the only non-starter to record an at-bat in the series. Francoeur started twice in right field against the Rays, and David Murphy opened two games in left (with Cruz shifting to right). Julio Borbon, who batted .341 with 14 RBI and five steals in September, started once in left, and Jorge Cantu is an option at first base. Edge: Rangers.

Starting pitching: The Yankees' top three were a combined 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in the sweep of the Twins. Sabathia improved to 18-6 since June 3, and Pettitte, who was bothered by a stiff back in September, threw seven solid innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Hughes, who was bumped from Game 3 of the ALDS to Game 2 of the ALCS, tossed seven shutout innings against Minnesota. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out six. The Yanks can't feel good about calling on Burnett in Game 4. He has one win since August and had a WHIP of 1.51 in the regular season. Since Texas didn't close out Tampa Bay in two home games in the ALDS, Lee won't face Sabathia in Game 1 in a battle of former Indians Cy Young Award-winning castoffs. Wilson was impressive in Game 2 against the Rays, throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings and striking out seven. Lewis allowed no runs on two hits in five innings in Game 3, but walked five. Lee, as expected, was sensational in Games 1 and 5 -- going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, no walks and 21 Ks in 16 innings. Hunter struggled in Game 4, but he was much more effective in the regular season than Burnett. Edge: Rangers.

Bullpen: The Yankees needed only seven innings from their pen in the first round, and Mariano Rivera and Kerry Wood accounted for 5 1/3 of the frames. Rivera saved two games and threw 3 1/3 shutout innings vs. the Twins. He's at his best at this time of year, and Wood has been surprisingly stellar since he was traded from the Tribe. Two of Texas' most important relievers -- closer Neftali Feliz and setup man Darren Oliver -- struggled in the ALDS. Feliz allowed two hits and walked three in 1 1/3 innings, during which he posted a 6.75 ERA. Oliver was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 4 1/3 innings. Both were very productive in the regular season, with Feliz saving 40 games in 43 chances and Oliver striking out 65 in 61 1/3 innings. Edge: Yankees.

Why the Yankees will win

Because they're expected to. They are the defending champs, they have the ridiculous payroll, the balanced lineup and three horses at the top of the rotation. If they don't win, the season will be considered a failure by many (we're guessing Hank Steinbrenner is one).

Why the Rangers will win

They have Cliff Lee, and the Yankees don't -- at least not until they sign him in the offseason. Lee is in line to pitch Games 3 and 7, and the Rangers figure to have a pretty good chance to advance to the World Series if they can win two of the other five games. Here's guessing they do.


Rangers in seven.

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