The Texas Rangers moved into the American League Championship series having won their first ever postseason playoff series ever. On Friday night, as reported by ESPN, they defeated the defending World Series champion New York Yankees, 6-1, to win their first ever ALCS championship. And when they suit up for the 2010 World Series to play the first game, it will be their first ever appearance in the World Series. In a game that loves statistics, the Texas Rangers have been good for a lot of firsts this postseason, and, just by the virtue of simply being there, will provide quite a few more firsts for the World Series record keepers. But the one first they really want is that World Series victory. Question is: can they get it?
The Texas Rangers entered the run for the World Series in their ALDS (American League Division Series) with the best team batting average in Major League Baseball — .276. After five games against the Tampa Bay Rays and going into the sixth game against the New York Yankees, they were batting at an average of .286. Sustaining a team batting average like that could very well get them a World Series Championship.
Texas has scored five or more runs in all of their victories in the ALDS and the ALCS games. In only one game did they make their mark and lose — the first game of the ALCS against the New York Yankees. They lost a four-run lead in the 8th Inning, giving up five runs and losing 6-5.
Then the Rangers won three games in a row.
In the sixth game, they jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the 1st, but would find it matched in the 5th Inning. But in the bottom of the 5th, Texas lit up Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes for a couple runs with two out. Nelson Cruz followed with a two-run homer off reliever David Robertson to put the Rangers up 5-1. They would score an insurance run in the 7th, but it was unnecessary.
The storied Yankees were going home, denied a shot at back-to-back World Series titles and a potential 28th World Series win.
But having Alex Rodriguez, a former Rangers ballplayer and whose contract played an instrumental part in the Rangers bankruptcy earlier in the season, standing at the plate at game’s end for the last out was irony in itself. The Rangers still owed A-Rod $25 million and team owner Tom Hicks saw his team go up for auction. Former Rangers pitching ace Nolan Ryan and sports attorney Chuck Greenberg bought the team at auction.
For the record, Alex Rodriguez struck out, making the victory that much more satisfying for the Texas Rangers fans, who had been waiting 50 years to see their team in the World Series.
But until they get to that first World Series game, the Texas Rangers await the outcome of the Philadelphia Phillies- San Francisco Giants match-up in the National League to see who their opponents will be. There will be a few firsts with whichever team makes it into the Series, but one first is certain: It will be the first time that either time has played the Texas Rangers in the World Series.