Posted by: mdegeorge | October 23, 2010

Rangers bid adieu to aging Yankees dynasty that never will be

For all their Game 1 bluster, Alex Rodriguez and his suddenly age-weary Yankees scurried out of Arlington with hardly a whimper.

The symbolism of the final out was all that Rangers fans—a contingent that has waited without a World Series since Ted Williams patrolled the dugout at Griffith Stadium for the expansion Washington Senators—deserved: A-Rod, the quarter billion dollar savior who never was making way for the first World Series in franchise history.

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The very pitch, a devilish breaking ball from the electric Neftali Feliz, was just as apropos, befuddling a statuesque Rodriguez in a manner worthy of the shock pulled by the Rangers throughout the American League Championship Series.

As typified by the final showdown, the Rangers’ victory came as an almost paradoxical triumph of youthful talent over the steady and seasoned Yanks.

Nothing can be taken away from the Rangers. Their starters were phenomenal: CJ Wilson deserved the win in a tempo-setting Game 1 start. Colby Lewis—what with his Tommy John surgeries and abundance of time spent on the waiver wire and the bullpens of Japanese clubs—would be the front-runner for story of the postseason was it not for Josh Hamilton. And Cliff Lee has delivered two borderline unhittable performances that warrant his inclusion in the echelon of greats alongside Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax.

The offense was stellar, relieving some of the pressure from a staff of journeyman and youngsters built around Lee. Josh Hamilton was a deserving MVP, and everyone—from Nelson Cruz and Vladimir Guerrero in Game 6 to Matt Treanor and Bengie Molina earlier in the series—rose to their respective occasion. Hell, it took a monumental bullpen collapse in Game 1 for the Yankees to have even deserved a plane ride back to the Lone Star state.

The Rangers managed to maintain their identity, wreaking havoc on the base paths to the tune of 11 stolen bases, enough to set the table for when the big boppers inevitably delivered. The Rangers batted an ethereal .304 (63-207), but mustered and even more impressive .328 (19-58) with runners in scoring positon.

The plaudits for the Rangers are abundant, but equally obvious are the shortcomings of what was supposed to be another Bronx dynasty.

The cracks in the façade appearing with age were exploited into gaping crevasses by the Rangers.

The failures begin with Arlington’s spurned golden boy. E-Rod managed just four hits in 21 at bats, with as many strikeouts (four) as extra base hits (two doubles) and RBI (two) combined. Michael Young’s seventh-inning double epitomized the extent to which his fielding ability has atrophied; watch the overhead view provided by TBS and you’ll see A-Rod not begin to move until the ball is two-thirds of the way down the line. (Enjoy seven more years at around $30 mil per for a part-time designated hitter/full-time defensive liability).

But Rodriguez wasn’t the only culprit. Mark Teixeira (before his hamstring burst like a balloon from Ground Round) was hitless in 14 at bats. Brett Gardner managed three hits in 17 at bats and swiped just one base. Derek Jeter, Mr. October of his generation: six for 22 with one RBI and two runs scored. Jorge Posada: five for 19 with a lone RBI and eight strikeouts—some of them in flailing, Stan Ross fashion—in addition to his usually nondescript handling of the pitching staff. Nick Swisher: seven k’s and two hits in 22 at bats.

Manager Joe Girardi proved equally inept in the dugout. He stuck with Phil Hughes in Game 2 until the decision was beyond reach, found his confidence in Sergio Mitre and David Robertson undermined by each’s inability to record outs, and saw his strategy to intentionally walk Hamilton fired back into his face off the bat of Guerrero on multiple occasions.

The Rangers will be basking in the sticky glow of their ginger ale shower tonight. Perhaps making it all the more sweet will be who it came at the expense of.



  1. And an additional praise for two other Rangers. Manager Ron Washington may not be the greatest tactician since John McGraw, but he seems to know how to get the very best out of the team. And also to Nolan Ryan who seems to have brought a completely new atmosphere to what was for a long time an almost moribund franchise.
    Good post,

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