2010 ALCS GAME 5 - Yankees 7, Rangers 2: My Top 10 Observer-ations
10. The better team didn't win Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, but the more desperate team did. The Rangers are on a magical, unprecedented playoff roll, but asking them to be good enough - to be mature enough - to sweep the 95-win defending champions in New York was unrealistic. Those of us who picked Rangers in 7 remain undaunted.
9. Troubling news for Texas with Nelson Cruz leaving the game with a tight hamstring. He's been on the disabled list three times this year with similar problems. The Rangers need his legs, arm and bat to win this series, and the next one. Remember, his hustling tag-up on a long fly to center in Game 4 forced the Yankees to walk David Murphy and pitch to Bengie Molina, who then hit this series' most important homer. Cruz, by the way, says he'll play in Friday's Game 6.
8. What is Sabathia's favorite pizza? CiCi's. Duh.
7. The Rangers had chances against Sabathia early - at one point they out-hit the Yankees 8-5 but trailed 5-1 - but Josh Hamilton's liner with a runner on in the 3rd was right to Derek Jeter and later he cracked a hard grounder that turned into an inning-ending double play with two runners on.
6. When Kerry Wood picked off Elvis Andrus from second base in the 7th - since when did Wood become David Blaine on the mound? - Yankee Stadium's upper reaches erupted in mock Antlers. Touche.
5. At the 2007 trade deadline, Rangers' general manager Jon Daniels traded free-agent-in-waiting Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves for a slew of prospects including Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltamacchia. Feliz and Andrus are All-Stars helping the Rangers to the World Series and Teixeira now goes 0-for-14 before suffering a series- and season-ending injury against Texas. Next time he's in town Teixeira deserves not booing, but rather a standing ovation.
4. For the first time this autumn, the Rangers showed signs of a being a nervous, newbie team in the ALCS. The fact that it didn't occur until Game 5 is good thing. The fact that the Rangers gave away a run when Michael Young couldn't/didn't stop right fielder Jeff Franoeur's wild throw in the 2nd inning is an unacceptable thing. That, in fact, did look like your father's Texas Rangers.
3. Yankees' second baseman Robinson Cano is a helluva player. Seems like every time up he hits the ball hard somewhere, often - evidenced by four homers in this series - over the fence. But his signature radio call is pathetically weak. After Cano homers, Yankees' play-by-play voice John Sterling bellows "Robbie Cano ... Dont'cha know!" What the what?!
2. Let's face it, that was an ugly and unacceptable performance by C.J. Wilson. He threw strike one to only 15 of 25 batters, walked four in five innings and threw only 51 percent of his 93 pitches for strikes, his lowest strike rate of the entire season. On a day when Sabathia was good and the Yankees were grasping for life, Wilson's mediocrity wasn't nearly enough.
1. When I was playing baseball as a kid and we'd give up a couple runs in the field, my manager would always clap from the dugout and yell "Nobody hurt!" In light of Game 5, I'd like to amend it slightly. "Though the Rangers are temporarily hurt, it's the Yankees who remain terminally injured." No worries. Wednesday in The Bronx felt more like a reprieve than a resurrection.
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