I almost don’t know where to go with this. Do I write about the game? Do I write about the fact that we beat the Yankees, or the less quantifiable “feel good” stuff about being in the World Series? I honestly didn’t know where to go with this last night. I still don’t know where to go with this now, and I’m writing it about 12 hours after we advanced to the World Series. There’s a part of me that just wants to write “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa!” and be done with it. :)
But before I get into any of it, one of my favorite moments of the night – even more so than the fact that we won, or that we beat the Yankees was what Josh Hamilton had to say in his post game remarks. That he immediately deflected attention from himself on the national TBS post-game stuff to God and Jesus was awesome. In his panel discussion later on, he did it again when someone asked him if this was the pinnacle for him, and he replied, “That will come when I stand before my saviour”. That stuff was all awesome. Gotta love that. You can view a video clip of one of these here.
Anyway, backing up, we went into this game having lost Game 5 in New York. I think a lot of Ranger fans after we had won the first two were really hoping we could have knocked it out We didn’t, and came back to Texas for Game 6. That had the advantage of course of if we clinched this in 6, it would be in front of our home crowd, and as the added cherry on top, would send the Yankees home on their plane ride losers. So back home we came, and Colby Lewis would take the mound. Rangers fans all season know his 12-13 record was more a factor of lack of run support, not the way Lewis pitched. Had he had decent run support, he would have won a lot more, daresay have a shot at 20 wins. However, in a pressure packed game such as this, one never really knows what kind of pitcher you can get. Colby’s biggest problem is walks, and walks against the Yankees can burn your backside – you just DON’T give people freebies like that and expect to get away with it. Especially the Yankees, who seem to have thrived on taking advantage of stuff like that over the years. So I went into this game confident, yet nervous about our starting pitching. Mostly because I was expecting Phil Hughes to be better than he was first time around.
He wasn’t. Phil Hughes didn’t get out of the fifth inning, and one of the MLB Network guys said that he figured one of the starters wouldn’t make it past five, and whichever team that was would probably get eliminated. Turns out they were right in that (although most of their pre-game predictions about who would win were not – 3 of the 4 guys picked NYY). Hughes went 4.2 innings, gave up just four hits, but there’s that stat. He walked four. Gave up four runs – all earned. Given the urgency of this game, he was pulled, probably would have stayed in otherwise. But the “moral” victory of having the starter out before the end of the fifth was a good one.
That brought in David Robertson, who has been torched this postseason. This was no different. He gave up the big shot, a two run home run to Nelson Cruz, which at the time put us up 5-1. Was a no doubter, and was one of the moments my daughter watched. She liked seeing it because the fireworks that went off lit up everyone in the stands, and since most of them were wearing red, it made everyone light up red, which looked visually pretty darned cool. At this point, you could feel it, start to smell it, and while no run is truly safe against the Yankees, just for this once, it felt like we FINALLY were able to step on their throats, and hurt them enough that they wouldn’t come back. This was right.
Due in part to Colby Lewis, who pitched the game of his life last night. Officially, his line was eight innings pitched, 3 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts, and one earned run. The one earned run was a bunch of crap, actually. The single run the Yankees got all night was a gift run. Plucked straight from the Yankees bag of acting their way into something that didn’t really happen, Nick Swisher was hit by a pitch, but the home plate umpire didn’t see it, and it was ruled a wild pitch, which scored Alex Rodriguez. It prompted arguing from the Rangers, as it was quite clearly a blown call. It wasn’t one of those “close ones” where fans from other sides could posture and say their call was right. This was clearly a blown call, and if called correctly, should have not led to a run there. One never knows what would have happened after that, but wouldn’t it have been sweeter to have the Yankees lay a goose egg when they were eliminated? Still, that the one run the Yankees got was a gift from the umpires, you still have to be into that. But Colby Lewis had the game of his life. His pitches were sharp, his command looked great. He did walk three, but nothing there really hurt him. It was the pitching performance that Rangers fans dreamed of. At the absolute end of his outing he started to show signs of possibly running out of gas, but it didn’t affect his line. So he came out after eight to make way for Neftali Feliz. After he came out, Ron Washington gave him this massive bear hug in the dugout. Here’s a few captures of that:
I’m not going to write a lot about our offense this game. Can be summed up this way easily. The Yankees LOST! Yeah! Seriously, the RBI’s mostly came from Vlad Guerrero, who had three. They intentionally walked Josh Hamilton three times (including one of those pitches being a wild pitch on an iBB toss), one of which finally was made up for by Guerrero, right before Cruz’s home run. Guerrero had 3 RBI’s, Cruz had 2, and Kinsler had one. For some reason, the details of how we scored was unimportant right now.
Netfali Feliz came in for the ninth, and struck out two to seal the deal. The sweetest part of all that is the fact that the final strike was a called third against Alex Rodriguez. So, one can say that Arod still helped us get to the World Series after all this time.
Cliff Lee awaits either Roy Halladay or Tim Lincecum in Game 1 of the World Series. Man, it just seems weird, doesn’t it? In year 50 of the franchise overall, we finally get to the World Series. I went out this morning to buy a copy of the Dallas Morning News as it’s got a ton of Rangers stuff in it. While I was standing in line at the gas station waiting to pay, guy behind me just said “Rangers are in the World Series, who would have thunk it?” Random baseball talk in this town is something else to be amazed about. The Cowboys are going down in flames this season too, so yeah – it’s a great sports time right now here!
Below are my notes I took during the game like I’ve done for the other games I’ve scored at home watching. My family and I are going to drive out to the Ballpark this afternoon and hit the gift shop, see what’s going on out there. But before I get to my own game notes below, I’ll use this comments I got sent by MLB Network Press this morning about the game by their “pro” dudes. This is all just so cool! Cannot wait for next Wednesday. Bring on the National League!
My wife has already started “Rangering Up” the house. We’ll have some sort of Party for Game 3 next Saturday, the first of the home games. Look at this picture of various stuffed animals in our house. She did this while I was writing this report. What’s amusing about all the clothes on the dolls is that all of them were worn at some point by one of our two kids when they were little (or in my son’s case, even littler). Here’s one example. Check out what Hello Kitty is wearing vs what my daughter was wearing in this pic taken Sep 13, 2005. :)
MLB Network Quotes:
On the Rangers’ offense:
What’s great about the Rangers going to the World Series through the Yankees is that it validates how good they are…They went through Tampa, they went through the Yankees and they did this in the course of a two-week span where you’ve gotta come out with the best blazing. Tampa gave them a challenge and sent them back to Tampa to go knock it out, the Yankees came back to Texas – nobody rolled over on them. They had to earn this. You’ve got guys backing up [Josh] Hamilton and that’s what great about this Texas team…That’s the depth of this club, and when you get to the middle of the order, from two, three, four, five, six on down to Kinsler, forget about it. Those guys can flat-out match and this is why they are the best offense in baseball right now.
On Colby Lewis:
His body language tonight was of a guy who was on a mission….It’s especially sweet for Rangers fans to get to the World Series, but to get there, you have to go through the mighty Yankees and from the first pitch of the game…he was not scared, he was focused, he was delivering, and as the game kept going on and on, you could just see him believing in his stuff and the fielders believing in what he was doing. This was the best game he has pitched in his life – he was lights out.
On Michael Young:
He’s the first guy that I’ve seen, and I played with a guy that’s a Hall of Famer – Paul Molitor with the Milwaukee Brewers – [with the] same type of swing, really quiet, just the way he goes about doing his business. We were talking during the course of the game that [Young] gets so right field-conscious, you’d like to see him look for that ball in and go ahead and turn on it. His last at bat [tonight], he gets a fastball in and rifles it down the line. [He's a] complete player, one of the most underrated all-around good players in the American League.
What I like about Michael Young is his selflessness. He’s not selfish at all. He’s an All-Star, Gold Glove shortstop, and they say ‘Hey, we’ve got a kid in Double-A.’ Double-A? Ok, Elvis Andrus has turned out to be a real nice player, but you go to any Major League All-Star, who’s playing on the World Baseball Classic team representing the U.S., one of the top players in the world and say, ‘You’re going to move for a kid who’s 20′? He moved over to third base and that set the trend and the tone for this whole franchise where Nolan Ryan could actually come in change the whole culture now and say ‘See what Michael Young did? Our pitchers are going deeper; Ron Washington’s our manager. Here’s where we’re headed, gentlemen. Look at Michael Young.’ And that has changed the whole direction of the Texas Rangers.
My in game notes:
- Let’s do this. Time to finish it out. Scorepad is filled out, ready to score the game.
- My daughters school had a “Wear a Rangers shirt to school” day. She wore her 2010 Playoff shirt.
- Watching MLBN pregame stuff. Barry Larkin picks Yankees. Joe Magrane picks Yankees. Dan Plesac picks Rangers. Harold Reynolds picks Yankees.
- Magrane had a funny graphic with Cliff Lee in the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard.
- Does Craig Sager have any idea that nobody likes him? Change your clothes!
- …and the Rangers take the field!
- First pitch is an out. Is that an omen?
- Colby Lewis’ hat is seriously dirty. I wonder what old game hat this is from.
- Granderson looked safe to me on caught stealing attempt.
- Were up 1-0 on 4-3 grounder.
- Hamstring, my ass. That was a titanic swing by Cruz.
- Whoa – nice play by Elvis. Jumper on Arod liner. Gotta love that!
- Heat by Colby Lewis to K Swisher to end second.
- Hughes had a really easy bottom of second.
- Colby has 33 pitches through first three innings. Looking good!
- Yankees suck chant fires up again!
- Now there’s something you don’t see often. A wild pitch on an attempted intentional walk. Thanks Mr. Hughes!
- Pretty humungous strike zone against Vlad there. Did Durwood Merrill come back from the grave?
- Really nice stop by Kinsler to turn an inning enduing DP in the fourth.
- Through four, the only Yankee on base was Granderson via walk. Both times wiped out on base-paths!
- The Molina at bat in the 4th is a perfect example as to why Yankees games take four hours – good lord is this drawn out!
- Off the bat, the F8 by Berkman in the 5th looked like a home run.
- Rangers 1 – Umpires 1. Swisher hit by pitch, Arod scored on that. Called wild pitch. BS.
- Moreland probably would have been out if Teixeira was in game.
- Brian Goremans strike zone is all over the place, if pitchtrax is to be believed. You’d think Durwood Merrill came back from the dead here. (Yes, that’s two calls out to Durwood here).
- VLAD! Way to beat the intentional walk. Rangers up 3-1 on Vlad double!
- Jeter hangs his head after the Vlad double! Gotta love that! Hughes is gone. Vlad has all three RBIs so far. His first of the series, too! :)
- Robertson has been horrible this series, why do they keep going to him?
- Nice that they do, though. BOOMSTICK! two run hims run by Cruz! Who says hamstrings are a problem?
- Jeter has seen 7 pitches in his first 3 at bats. 5 in the second alone. Thank you Derek!
- Really nice shutdown inning by Lewis in the 6th. Nice!
- Nice work by Kerry Wood. Bit too late, though.
- Nothing going for Yanks in 7th. Berkman got a triple. Didn’t matter, next pitch was an F7.
- Josh iBB’ed again. Fifth time in the series. ALCS record!
- Run #6. Sac fly by Kinsler in 7th.
- Six outs to go!
- Three. And a Jeter called K too!
- If the Yankees go 1-2-3 in 9th, Arod will be last out as we go to the World Series.
- ONE STRIKE!
- Oh my. Final one was a called strike to ARod. OH MY!
- Ginger Ale on Josh on the field was awesome!
- Then the Rangers are ginger ale-ing the fans, too!
- Time to watch all the post game coverage! Overtime for the TiVo!