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.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: