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ALDS MVP

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There's no such thing as an ALDS MVP, but, in the spirit of relishing this moment, if you had a ballot, who would your choice be? The way I see it, there are three candidates.

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In the history of the MLB post season, just seven times has a pitcher started a game, gone more than seven innings, gotten at least ten strikeouts and allowed no walks. Before last year, that had only happend three times. Since then, Cliff Lee has done it four times. Two of them in this series. He also set an ALDS strikeout record this series with 21.

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Ian Kinsler went eight for 18 with two walks and three home runs. That's good for a .444/.500/.944 slash line, and his moments went bigger than that. His home run in game two made it a 2-0 game, which seemed huge at the time. His home run in game three looked like it might end up being the biggest hit in the history of the franchise, as it gave the Rangers the lead six outs from clinching. And Tuesday, he put it completely out of reach, and his hustle earlier in the game allowed Vladimir Guerrero to score an insurance run. Kinz's efforts were good for 44.7% total Win Probability Added.

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Nelson Cruz was eight for 20 with, also, three home runs, two doubles and a stolen base. His slash line was .400/.400/.950. He also had a really cool defensive moment by screwing with a runner's head and throwing him out at second in game three. Despite all that, Nelly's WPA only comes out to .022. The reason is a lot of his big hits just didn't come in high-leverage moments, such as his home run in game three that would have been huge had his bullpen done better. He also failed in a few big moments. That's not his fault and not necessarily something you should hold against him if you consider him for MVP, though.

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I don't think this is a particularly close contest, but vote, anyway.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.