The Rangers just defeated the Yankees 6-1 in Game 6 of the ALCS, advancing to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
Colby Lewis pitched the proverbial “game of his life,” allowing just three hits over eight innings of one-run ball. The only run scored on a blown wild pitch call by home plate umpire Brian Gorman in the top of the fifth inning. Otherwise, the Yankees couldn’t touch him. Lewis struck out seven in the clincher, including the final three batters he faced in the top of the eighth inning.
And to think, just one year ago, Lewis was pitching in Japan. Now he’ll forever be known as a franchise hero.
Lewis was dominant on his own, but the Rangers got a little help from Joe Girardi. Admittedly, the Rangers’ lineup was “pick your poison” during this series, but the Yankees paid dearly after walking Josh Hamilton intentionally in the bottom of the fifth inning. Vladimir Guerrero jumped on a breaking ball from Phil Hughes and sent it deep into the gap in left-center field to bring home Mitch Moreland and Hamilton for a go-ahead two-run double. The Rangers never looked back.
Hamilton was named the ALCS MVP for batting .350 (7-for-20) with four home runs and seven RBI during the series. He was intentionally walked a grand total of five times, tying an ALCS record.
Neftali Feliz came on to record the final three outs in the top of the ninth inning, striking out Alex Rodriguez, of all people, to end it. Ginger ale showers for everyone!
The Rangers now await the winner of the Giants-Phillies series. Game 1 of the World Series is set for next Wednesday. And, because the Rangers didn’t need a Game 7 to get there, they have their ace Cliff Lee perfectly lined up for the series.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.