Before I start on my assessment of the American League playoffs, allow me to Congratulate the 2010 American League Champion Texas Rangers on their victory over the defending World Series Champion New York Yankees. To be honest, I haven’t seen a team play that way in two rounds of playoffs since the 2002 World Series Champion Anaheim Angels.
In two rounds of playoffs, the Texas Rangers played with a mixture of reckless abandon, timely hitting and solid pitching in defeating the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees of the AL East. In both series, the Rangers batted .281 with 17 HRs and 55 RBI and stealing 15 bases while getting caught stealing only twice. In all of their victories during the ALDS and ALCS, the Rangers scored five or more runs often doing so by scoring multiple runs per innings. In terms of pitching, the Rangers had a 2.76 ERA while keeping opposing hitters to a .208 batting average. That is even more impressive given the fact that both the Rays and Yankees high-powered offenses were neutralized by the Rangers pitching.
I’ll be the first to admit it, I knew the Rangers offense was potent but after Cliff Lee (12-9 3.18 ERA, 185 K’s, 1.00 WHIP) and Neftali Feliz (2.73 ERA, 40 SV, 70 K’s, 0.88 WHIP) I had no clue who made up the rest of the Rangers pitching staff. Well, after what I saw against the Yankees I can safely say that I now know who C.J. Wilson (15-8 3.35 ERA, 196 K’s, 1.19 WHIP), Colby Lewis (12-13 3.72 ERA, 170 K’s, 1.25 WHIP), and Tommy Hunter (13-4 3.73 ERA, 68 K’s, 1.24 WHIP) are. The Texas Rangers have some young studs on the mound to go along with their young batters. Aside from catchers Bengie Molina (36) and Matt Treanor (34) , Third baseman Michael Young (34) and DH Vladimir Guerrero (35) the rest of the Rangers offense is 30 years old or YOUNGER. You saw that youthful exuberance at work against the New York Yankees who often looked old, stodgy and afraid to make a mistake while the Rangers played like a team who was not afraid to make a mistake and had nothing to lose. They punched the defending champs in the mouth and when seeing that the old champ couldn't punch back they kept pummeling them.
If the Rangers can make a play to keep Cliff Lee as their ace and keep their young players, I can’t see why the Rangers can’t remain a power in the American League in the years to come. Time will tell with that one. Congrats again to the Rangers. Good luck against whomever survives in the NLCS.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here for the pitching statistics page for the 2010 Postseason from ESPN.com
- Click Here for the batting statistcis page for the 2010 Postseason from ESPN.com
- Click Here for the Texas Rangers 2010 roster page from ESPN.com
- Click Here to access box scores and stats of the 2010 ALCS from BaseballReference.com