10/23/10 2:15 AM ET
Rangers' resilience impresses Yanks
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
"On behalf of the New York Yankees, I want to congratulate the Texas Rangers, Chuck Greenberg, Nolan Ryan and their entire ownership, staff and organization on winning their first American League pennant," said Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. "They played liked champions, and we wish them the best of luck representing the American League in the World Series."
Rangers left-hander Cliff Lee wasn't the only player who gave the Yankees a tough time in the ALCS. Texas' entire pitching staff limited the Yankees to just 3.16 runs per game.
Right-hander Colby Lewis was arguably the Most Valuable Player of the pitching staff, winning two games -- including Game 6 -- and allowing just three runs.
"Cliff Lee only won one game -- they had to win four games to win this series," said Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes, who lost Games 2 and 6. "Colby Lewis was outstanding both games he pitched. C.J. Wilson was great in Game 1 but didn't have his best stuff [in Game 5]. They have a good pitching staff. I think too much was made of the No. 1 guy, [Lee]. It's going to take more than that to win a series."
According to Yankees first baseman Lance Berkman, if there was a turning point of the ALCS, it came in Game 2. Berkman credited the Rangers for not giving in after losing a heartbreaker in Game 1 -- a contest in which they had a 5-0 lead and lost in the late innings when New York scored six unanswered runs. The Rangers won Game 2, 7-2, and took two out of three games at Yankee Stadium before winning the AL pennant at home.
"When we came back and won Game 1, they were not fazed by the fact that we stole one from them, and they played a great Game 2," Berkman said. "It definitely evened the series up. If we win that game, then they are reeling. We go back to Yankee Stadium, and that would have been really tough.
"They did a great job of coming back after a really disappointing loss and just showed that they are resilient and they were going to be a tough team to beat. It turns out that they were."
Berkman even felt that Yankees manager Joe Girardi did the right thing by walking Josh Hamilton intentionally twice in Game 6 to get to Vladimir Guerrero because Hamilton was swinging a hot bat in the series. Guerrero would end up giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning after the second intentional walk to Hamilton.
"I don't blame Joe for putting Josh on," Berkman said. "I would have done the exact same thing. Nothing against Vlad. I never thought I would say we have to intentionally walk someone to get to Vlad, because he is probably a Hall of Fame player. But I think that shows you the impact that Josh has. He is such a great player."
Did the Yankees underestimate the Rangers? According to Hughes and center fielder Curtis Granderson, the answer is no.
"That team played really well during this six-game series," Granderson said. "From their starting pitching to their offense, they did a great job of executing, scoring runs, tacking on runs and driving the baseball. It was all nine guys in the lineup and the rest of the guys on the bench.
Said Hughes: "They played better than we did. It's not like we came in and thought we were going to roll over these guys. We saw during the regular season that they played better than we did. We knew we were in for a challenge, and we got outplayed."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on twitter -- @washingnats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.