New York is alive for at least one more game as the Yankees prepare to battle the Rangers tonight in Game 6 of the ALCS. Will a seventh game be needed?
In order to come back from a 3-1 deficit in a series, you have to cut the lead in half and take it one game at a time. Without the services of 1B Mark Teixeira in the lineup, the New York Yankees managed to do just that in Game 5 Wednesday night in the Bronx, as they beat the Texas Rangers 7-2 and sent the American League Championship Series back to Arlington for Friday night's Game 6.
Six of the nine members of the New York lineup scored at least one run, while five of the nine knocked in at least one, as the Yanks played long ball with the Texas pitching staff on Wednesday. Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson all went yard, with Cano's blast his third in his last four games.
Yes, the Yankees finally looked like the Yankees for the first time in this series. They picked up nine hits, blasted three bombs, drew six walks, got six strong innings from southpaw CC Sabathia and nailed the door shut with three spotless frames from right-handers Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera.
The Rangers had their chances though, outhitting the Bronx Bombers 13-9 in the game. However, the problem came with batting in scoring position, as Texas left a whopping 14 men on base over the course of the game. Shortstop Elvis Andrus led the way with three hits and a stolen base. Four of the top five batters in this lineup are still hitting at least .310 for the series.
The good news for Texas is that it is coming home, but the bad news is that it is just 1-3 so far in the postseason while playing there.
The one man that the Rangers took out though was the New York starter for Game 6, Phil Hughes. It marked the first time that Texas had beaten the right-hander in four career outings, as he was 2-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA coming into the game. Hughes surrendered seven runs and 10 hits, walking three in just four horrifying innings of work in the Game 2 loss.
To make matters worse for Hughes, he did a horrible job holding base runners on. Both Andrus and Josh Hamilton swiped a pair of bases. The only man in the lineup that didn't reach base at least once against Hughes in Game 2 was DH Vladimir Guerrero.
Things were just awful for the Yankees that day, and Texas starter Colby Lewis pitched respectably. The righty allowed just two runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. He did walk three batters and gave up six hits, one of which was a solo homer to Cano.
Just as it was the first loss in Hughes' career against the Rangers, it was also the first win for this right-hander against the Yankees. Prior to this, Lewis was 0-2 with a 6.89 career ERA against the boys in pinstripes.
Lewis has now had seven straight starts with two earned runs or less, but his downfall is the distance in which he is able to go. He hasn't pitched into the seventh inning since September 21.
As was the case in Game 2, MLB sportsbooks are having a tough time picking a favorite in this game. The best baseball betting odds you'll find on the board for the visitors is minus 108 at Bookmaker, while the best line as of Thursday afternoon on the hosts is 'even' at 5Dimes.
The 'total' has been lined at a flat nine across the board. Each of the five games in this series has featured at least eight runs, and 'over' bettors are 4-0-1 in the five clashes.