Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On to Texas!

  Last night the Texas Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to win the series and will host the Yankees in a 7 game series for the right to go to the World Series. While I’m not happy to see the Yankees face the same Cliff Lee who beat them twice in last year’s World Series against the Phillies, I think the fact that most of the Rangers have never been to a World Series will be an advantage they wouldn’t exist against the Devil Rays squad that went to the World Series in 2008. Since the Rangers had to play 5 games as opposed to the Yankees 3, Lee will probably not start until Game 3 and then not pitch again until a Game 7. This is a double edged sword. Last year, while Lee won both his games, the rest of the Phillies pitchers didn’t win any. If the Yankees are even or down 2-0 and have to face Lee in Game 3, it will be very hard to win the series.

  I was encouraged by the way the Yankees played in sweeping the Twins. Last year the Twins were a playoff joke, getting runners thrown out on the bases and making a lot of fielding errors. This year’s edition was very fundamentally sound and would have won Game 1 if Francisco Liriano didn’t melt down with a 3 run lead. The Yankees had to play well to win, but I think this series was won by the Yankees deep pockets. The Yankees cleanup hitter is Alex Rodriguez, who makes $25 million a year and hit 30 homers and drove in 125 runs even while missing a sixth of the season with injuries. In the last game of the playoff series, the Twins cleanup hitter was ...Jason Kubel. Kubel is a serviceable player and did hit 28 home runs last year, but he is the kind of bargain basement cleanup hitter you get when you are the Twins and your cleanup hitter suffers a season ending injury in August. They just can’t afford to go out and get another player, even with a new stadium.

  It appears the Devil Rays won’t be able to keep some of their most talented players for next year. Even though they have had a winning team the last 3 years, their attendance is 22nd out of the 30 teams. They drew 1.8 million fans, while the Yankees drew twice that much for more expensive tickets and get more money for their TV and radio rights to boot. In baseball, the rich get richer and the poor grow food for the rich so I’m hoping the Yankees can pick up the Ray’s closer Soriano. I’m not sure if he can really pitch in the New York pressure cooker, but it is getting to be time to replace the great Mariano Rivera. Joba Chamberlain should have taken the job this year, but he has regressed so far that he wasn’t allowed to pitch against the Twins.