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The Series So Far

This is very important: the Rangers have dominated the American League Championship Series.

It would be nice to be up 3-0, but at least they're still up. What cannot be ignored, though, is how much the Rangers look like the better team. The ALCS is currently 20-8. The Rangers are getting to the Yankees' best pitchers. The Texas starters are pitching well. The defense is clicking. Feliz showed he can have an efficient relief effort. The series is far from over, obviously, but even beyond what you would expect from having a 2-1 lead, the Rangers have to be the overwhelming favorites to be playing actual games in the Major League Baseball World Series.

I propose tomorrow could be the second most important game in franchise history. Neither starter is particularly good, but the game probably favors the Yankees by a bit just by virtue of being at home. It's one of the few games this series they should expect to win.

However, if the Rangers' offense can keep swinging like they have, and if Tommy Hunter can just be his ~4.75 expected ERA self (less in front of the Rangers defense), Texas could take a game the Yankees should be expecting to win. They'd be just one game from ending the series, forcing the Yankees to pull multiple upsets to come back. If the Rangers can win tomorrow's game, the Yankees would be in the position of having to knock off C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis just to have a shot at facing Cliff Lee on the road to win the series.

The odds of that are pretty slim, and I don't think I have to run a simulation to prove it to you. The Rangers are now in the position they should firmly expect to win the American League pennant, but a win tomorrow would take them from mere expectation to a nearly unbeatable position.

On the flip side, that means losing tomorrow isn't a position to hang your head over. After tonight, the Yankees can't end it in New York. At best, they're going to have to beat one of Lewis and Lee in Arlington to close it.

Come on, Tommy Hunter. It's your time to shine.

Or, at least make A.J. Burnett look like a bad decision, offense.

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