Yankees' mystique no match for Rangers

October, 23, 2010
10/23/10
1:28
AM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- So much for mystique and aura, huh?

The tradition-rich Yankees meeting the historically irrelevant Rangers was billed as a mismatch of epic proportions in the Big Apple. And indeed it was.

The Bronx Bombers barely belonged in the same ballpark as the Rangers during the American League Championship Series. The Rangers pretty much beat the pinstriped pants off the Yankees, with a one-inning bullpen meltdown the only reason this series wasn’t a sweep.

Of course, folks in Texas who waited 39 years for so much as a postseason series victory didn’t mind taking six games to beat the franchise with 27 world championships and exorcise the ghosts of playoffs past.

Mystique and aura? Man, please.

“We’re really going to talk about that?” Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler snapped during the postgame celebration on the infield. “I don’t really care about the Yankees right now honestly. We just defeated them. It’s over. We’re better than them.”

[+] EnlargeJosh Hamilton
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireManager Ron Washington instilled a sense of confidence in Josh Hamilton and the Rangers, who couldn't match the Yankees in history.
The recently bankrupt Rangers made that clear by kicking the payroll bullies’ butts in every aspect of the game.

The Rangers hit .304 with nine homers and 36 RBIs in the series. The Yankees’ numbers in those categories: .201, six and 17. And Texas had a 9-1 advantage in stolen bases during the series, busting out antlers on a regular basis while shutting down the Yankees on the bases.

The pitching comparison is even more lopsided in the Rangers’ favor. The Yankees had a 6.58 ERA and got only one quality start from their rotation. The Rangers had a 3.04 ERA, thanks in large part to a two-hit shutout by Cliff Lee that was arguably the best playoff pitching performance ever against the Yankees and Colby Lewis’ two outstanding starts (three earned runs in 13 2/3 innings).

Texas manager Ron Washington made all the right moves. Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave the critical New York media all kinds of ammunition.

“Our game spoke out there,” Washington said. “It wasn’t the aura of the New York Yankees.”

Who cares about history? Definitely not the Rangers, who strongly believed they were the better team in this series and proceeded to eliminate any doubt.

“We didn’t have the skins on the wall,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “We still don’t, but give Wash a lot of credit for instilling that sense of confidence. If it’s possible for a manager to somewhat even the playing field – from 27 championships to none – he did it.

“He came out at the beginning in the pre-series advance meeting and he kind of laid it on the line. He said, ‘Boys, forget about the pinstripes. Forget about the ghosts. We’re playing baseball, and I’ll take you guys playing baseball against anybody. Forget about anything else. If you go out and play your game, we’re going to be fine.’”

That swagger, which starts in the manager’s office and is contagious throughout the clubhouse, didn’t waver after one awful half-inning cost them Game 1.

The Rangers were expected to roll over at that point. How could they possibly recover after being on the wrong end of such a demoralizing comeback by baseball’s best franchise? Instead, the Rangers rolled their eyes at such questions and routed the Yankees the next afternoon.

The Rangers don’t know how to say, “Uh-oh, here we go again.” All they know is, “That’s how baseball go.”

Now, baseball keeps going for the Rangers. The Yankees just go home.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Jon Daniels

Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.

Galloway & Company: Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Jim Bowden

ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Chuck Cooperstein

Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.

Galloway & Company: Elvis Andrus

Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.

Galloway & Company: Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ron Washington

Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Fire Wash?

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Leonys Martin
BA HR RBI R
.322 1 9 4
OTHER LEADERS
HRP. Fielder 2
RBIA. Rios 10
RE. Andrus 12
OPSS. Choo .891
WM. Perez 3
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23