Game 7: Saturday, Oct. 23, New York at Texas, if necessary
History: The Yankees and Rangers last met in the LDS in 1999, when the Yankees won, 3-0.
This season: The Yankees and Rangers tied the season series, 4-4, with New York outscoring the Rangers, 39-33.
About the Yankees: The Yankees have power and plenty of it. Their 201 home runs ranked third in the American League. Despite a slow start, Mark Teixeira posted his seventh straight season of 30 or more home runs. Not to be outdone, Alex Rodriguez used a late surge to record his 13 straight season of 30 or more home runs. New York also gets on base at a prolific rate. Led by Teixeira's 93, eight batters have 50 or more walks on the year. In the sweep over the Twins, New York's starting pitchers combined to pitch 20 innings while giving up just five earned runs. Mariano Rivera recorded two saves in the ALDS to give him 37 career postseason saves, the most ever.
About the Rangers: The Cliff Lee trade is starting to pay dividends for the Rangers. After going just 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA in the regular season, Lee went 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA in the ALDS, including a decisive Game 5 victory. However, due to the team's squandering of a 2-0 series lead, Lee likely won't pitch again until Game 3. C.J. Wilson will start Game 1 in place of Lee. In his first full season as a starter, Wilson won 15 games and struck out 170 batters while pitching more than 200 innings. However, Wilson has struggled against the Yankees this year, going 0-1 with a 5.65 ERA in three starts. Ian Kinsler had a dominant ALDS. The second baseman hit .444 with three home runs and six RBI in 18 at-bats. Nelson Cruz has been just as good, hitting .400 with three solo home runs in 20 at-bats.
Fun fact: Texas has been in the playoffs three times before this year. The Rangers were eliminated by the Yankees in the ALDS every time.
What to look for: The Yankees have had 6 days of rest before today's ALCS opener. Will the Yankees use the ability to set their rotation to their advantage? Will Texas' hot offense keep up its power production? Will Wilson be able to overcome his woes against New York? CC Sabathia didn't look particularly sharp against the Twins. Will he bounce back against the Rangers?
Predictions: Yankees will win: Ed Barkowitz (5), Paul Hagen (6), Marcus Hayes (6), David Murphy (6), John Smallwood (6). Texas will win: Sam Donnellon (6), Bill Conlin (7), Rich Hofmann (7).