- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Yankees Have Much to Fear in the AL Championship Series (But That Doesn't Mean They Won't Win) | Bronx News Networkbronx

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yankees Have Much to Fear in the AL Championship Series (But That Doesn't Mean They Won't Win)

The Yankees continue their quest for a repeat World Series title tonight in Arlington, Texas against the Texas Rangers at 8 p.m. Here's a little preview of what's in store.

By Selim Khan

On the road to another World Series championship, I would advise NY Yankee fans to watch out for the caution advisory sign known as the Texas Rangers. Most fans, as well as media, figured that the ALCS matchup would be a hotly contested one between the Yanks and the Tampa Bay Rays, especially since they ran neck and neck all season long for the AL East crown.

Now with the Rays having been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Rangers, no one should be quick to automatically anoint the AL pennant to the defending champs.

The Rangers are not intimidated by the Yankees. The two teams split their eight regular season meetings, including a three game Rangers sweep of the Bombers in September.

True, critics may say that the Rangers didn’t have much pressure on them in those games because they had a sizeable lead in the AL West and it was a foregone conclusion that they would be a playoff participant this year. Yet, it’s still never easy to beat a team three straight times, especially a team the caliber of the Yankees.

As the ALCS matchup approaches, the Rangers have several things going for them.

First off, they’re led by a bona fide ace in Cliff Lee, who with each playoff win is not only adding to his postseason legacy, but also millions of dollars to his next contract (which many assume will be lavished upon him by the Yankees).

Lee has first-hand experience in beating the Yanks on the grand stage when he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies last season. The only two wins that the Phillies enjoyed in the World Series against the Yankees last year were courtesy of Lee.

They also have a vaunted offense, led by the rejuvenated Vladimir Guerrero and MVP candidate Josh Hamilton.

The other reason why the Rangers won’t be awe struck by the Yanks is because their entire organization faced adversity even before the season started. Their owner, Tom Hicks, filed for bankruptcy and MLB has, in essence, adopted the team and been a caretaker for them this year. The Rangers also had to deal with their manager, Ron Washington, admitting to using cocaine before the season started.

Even with all this said, am I going to go out on a limb and pick against the Yankees? Nope!

The Bombers caught one very fortunate break that will prevent an upset. Since Cliff Lee had to pitch game 5 against the Rays, he won’t be available to pitch until Game 3 of the series and by then it’s possible that the Yanks could have a commanding 2-0 lead. The Yankees have the edge in overall depth, experience and, of course, the ultimate late-inning weapon in closer, Mariano Rivera.

I expect the Yanks to win in 6 because if the series ever went to a deciding game 7, Mr. Lee would be waiting for them and then all bets would be off.

NOTE: Bronx-bred Selim Khan, a graduate of DeWitt Clinton High School, is a freelance writer who will be periodically contributing Bronx-related sports stories and commentary for BxNN and our affiliated newspapers.


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