The Rangers’ five-game battle with the Rays in the ALDS forced Texas manager Ron Washington to call upon ace Cliff Lee for Tuesday night’s Game 5 clincher, meaning the hurler won’t be available until Game 3 at the earliest.
That’s bad news for the “Claws and Antlers” crew.
But the lengthy first-round series shouldn’t be looked at in a negative light for the Ranger faithful. While the Yankees were waiting back home in the Bronx, Washington’s club was enthralled in edge-of-your-seat, competitive baseball against the AL’s top regular-season team. They faced one of the game’s top pitchers in David Price while New York was home facing batting practice pitching, playing long toss and taking fungoes.
Not necessarily the most favorable way to prepare for a playoff series against one of the game’s hottest clubs.
In 2007, the Rockies’ magical run into the postseason stretched into the NLCS when they dispatched the Arizona Diamondbacks in four consecutive games to advance to the World Series. Then, their own waiting game begun, as they watched the Red Sox and Indians battle it out in the ALCS. The Rockies, winners of 10 in a row and 21-of-22 overall, had to endure an eight-day layoff before taking on the Sox in Game 1 of the World Series. They got spanked in Game 1 by a score of 13-1 and were swept in four games.
The Tigers faced a similar extended break in 2006 when they swept the A’s in the ALCS and were forced to sit out for six off days until squaring off with the Cardinals in the World Series. St. Louis took Game 1 with ease as Detroit was held to just four hits while committing three errors on defense.
Although the Yankees’ three-day layoff is nothing compared to the Rockies’ eight-day break and the Tigers’ six-day layoff, there’s a very good chance that these Yankees may come out a little stiff come Game 1 in Arlington.
Judging by their nonchalant practices earlier this week, Yankee fans better hope their club shifts back into playoff mode before Friday night.