The ALCS schedule 2010 will either end tonight or tomorrow. But most expect the ALCS schedule 2010 to end with a Rangers’ championship, if only because of Cliff Lee. Even if the Yankees even the series, Lee is expected to shut them down in a Game 7, like he shuts down everything in the postseason. This is how the Rangers survived blowing a two-game lead to the Rays, and why they might survive blowing another two-game lead to the Yankees. But if the ALCS goes the distance, could the Rangers survive not having Lee for the start of the World Series too?
After the Rangers finally beat the Rays behind Lee, they were considered to have a disadvantage against the Yankees. Since he had to pitch the deciding game in Tampa, he couldn’t face the Yankees in Games 1 and 2. Given the Yankees’ dominance against the Twins, and their Game 1 comeback, it looked like this would fatally wound Texas.
Yet the ALCS schedule has broken perfectly for the Rangers so far. All they really needed was a split in the first two games, so that Lee could put them ahead in Yankee Stadium. Despite the Game 1 collapse, that is exactly what happened, as their ace gave them the lead on Monday night, and put a shadow on the rest of the series.
Because Lee had to be saved for Game 7, the Yankees were under even greater pressure after Game 3. They knew that if they fell down 3-1, they’d have to fight just to face Lee in Game 7, where they were likely to fall anyway. That worst case scenario was achieved on Tuesday, and now the Yankees are just praying to face him again.
Due to that alone, the Yankees are heavy underdogs to win the pennant. But if they extend the ALCS schedule to seven games, they could still make the World Series a headache for the Rangers. If Lee has to pitch Game 7, he will once again not be able to pitch in the next series until Game 3.
Playing Games 1 and 2 of the World Series without him could be more difficult for Texas. In the World Series, the Rangers will not only start on the road, they will face a few more aces. Having Lee to face Tim Lincecum or Roy Halladay in Game 1 would give them a much better chance – and make facing Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain or Roy Oswalt in Game 2 much less daunting.
Yet having Lee saved for the end of the ALCS is expected to pay off. Perhaps it could be the same for the World Series as well. If the Giants or Phillies know that he is waiting for Game 7, they could be more desperate to win it all before then, and make mistakes like the Yankees have.
But all of this is mute if the Rangers don’t actually escape the ALCS. For now, they hope to do it tonight and have Lee ready for Game 1 on Wednesday, instead of Game 7 tomorrow night.
MLB.com- “Rangers shouldn’t look past Game 6”