Friday, October 22, 2010
The majority of Colby Lewis' 12 years of professional baseball have been spent in relative anonymity. A 1st round pick (38th overall) by the Texas Rangers in 1999, Lewis spent parts of five seasons in the majors with three teams and compiled a 12-15 mark. He tore his rotator cuff in 2004 and missed all of the following season. Then there were the last two years playing for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan. But that's where Lewis began to hone his game. And tonight he shone, back with his original ball club, helping to close out the ALCS in six games over the Yankees.
Lewis dominated the Yankees for the second time in the series as the Texas Rangers repeated their knockout of Phil Hughes and topped the Bomberless Bombers 6-1. Lewis limited the Yankees to three hits over eight innings, walked three, and struck out seven to finish the series 2-0, 1.98. And he got plenty of run support to boot.
Hughes was on the ropes all night and Texas finally hit him with a haymaker in the 5th. Tied 1-1, Mitch Moreland singled and moved to third on a pair of ground outs. The Yankees, who mistakenly pitched to Josh Hamilton in his first at-bat, intentionally walked the soon to be AL MVP to face Vladimir Guerrero.
Guerrero didn't have an RBI in the series until a 1st inning ground out gave the Rangers an early 1-0 lead. He quickly added two more when he drove a double to center for a 3-1 advantage. Joe Girardi nearly ran out to the mound to pull Hughes, but it was to no avail. David Robertson came on and was greeted by a Nelson Cruz 2-run home run that was the death knell.
Lewis allowed just a pair of walks to Curtis Granderson through the first four innings before Alex Rodriguez started the 5th with a double. After moving to third on a deep fly out by Lance Berkman, A-Rod scored when Lewis' one hop pitch ricocheted off of Nick Swisher for a wild pitch.
Bengie Molina and manager Ron Washington argued vehemently, and correctly, that it should have been ruled a hit batsman and a dead ball, but home plate Brian Gorman saw it otherwise. Ironically, it was Swisher who was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in game 4, but the play was missed by then home plate ump Angel Hernandez.
Neftali Feliz retired the side in order in the 9th for Texas, setting off a massive celebration as the Rangers sealed their first trip to the World Series. Much will be made that former Ranger Rodriguez was the final strikeout and third out victim.
Mariano Rivera threw the 8th and final inning for the Yankees in what will hopefully not be his last time in a Yankees uniform.
Red hot Robinson Cano went ice cold for the first time in the series and went hitless.
The Yankees were completely outplayed, outclassed, out pitched, outhit, and out managed in the series. Their lackluster play began in late August and it never stopped, except for their ALDS series with the Minnesota Twins- a team they could beat with their eyes closed.
At times they looked old- stirring up feelings that were felt when they lost in the 2001 ALCS and the 2003 World Series. They also looked flat at times and appeared to have no fight or desire in their hearts or bellies, especially when they fell behind. They basically embarrassed themselves in the series.
There's some symmetry between the Rangers and the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, who beat the Yankees in a wild World Series. Both teams had financial issues. The Dbacks had trouble making payroll, the Rangers couldn't get a sale to go through. But they stole Cliff Lee out from under the Yankees and their season was put into overdrive. Now they'll face the Giants or Phillies for all the marbles.