Monday, November 1, 2010

A Giant(s), Texas-Sized Hole

In the 2007 ALCS, the Red Sox found themselves in a 3-1 series deficit. The bad news? In game five they would be facing CC Sabathia, who would later be awarded the 2007 AL Cy Young award. The good news? They would be starting Josh Beckett in game five. Beckett was probably the best postseason starter in 100 years. Tonight the Texas Rangers find themselves in a 3-1 hole, facing the two-time defending NL Cy Young award winner, Tim Lincecum, in game five. The good news? They have Cliff Lee, the best postseason pitcher since Josh Beckett…at least until game one, on the mound for them. So, the Rangers can draw some confidence from the results of the series three years ago. Of course, when you dig a little deeper, it’s slightly direr for this year’s Rangers club. For one thing, the 2007 Red Sox didn’t have to face Matt Cain in game six. They also got to come home for games six and seven. So, their mood could be a little lighter. They knew they had the best possible pitcher on the mound set to send them home for the next two games. That might not be the best example for the Rangers to look to.

Luckily, the Red Sox can provide a better example for the Texas Rangers. In the 2004 ALCS, the Red Sox trailed the Yankees 3-1 heading into game five. On the mound for the Sox was the best pitcher in at least a generation, playoff or otherwise, in Pedro Martinez. So, the Sox had to feel pretty good about that game, as the Rangers do tonight. If the Sox won game five, they would have to go back on the road for games six and seven. They would also have to face Jon Lieber, who had shut out the Sox for seven innings in game two. Anyone remember how that turned out? The Red Sox never trailed in game six or game seven as New York choked away the series.

So, tonight might not be the best time for the Rangers to be mapping out parade routes. (Unless, I suppose, they plan to give Bengie Molina a Ray Bourque-type parade to celebrate his ring with another team.) But, there’s still reason for them to have hope. What they need to do has been done before. They just need to stay focused.

Although, I’m still sticking with “Giants in six”

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