By Michael Tapia
It was an upset weekend in baseball with the Rangers eliminating the Yankees and the Giants eliminating the Phillies. The World Series match up that most of the country expected will not be taking place after all. After two six games championship series’ Texas and San Francisco have earned the right to compete for the World Series trophy. For Texas the journey was somewhat easier, defeating a struggling Yankees rotation; the same cannot be said about the Giants who beat the Phillies by one run in three out of four occasions.
The Texas Rangers once known as the Washington Senators earned their first trip to the World Series after defeating the Yankees 6-1 in Game 6 of the ALCS. After half century since its establishment, the Texas franchise will be going to baseball’s biggest stage. Michael Young who is the longest active member in the team said. “The World Series is coming to Texas”. For outfielder Vladimir Guerrero a 15-year veteran this will be his first trip to the big dance.
Texas got ahead of the Yankees early in the game with a Vladimir Guerrero ground out to second that allowed Elvis Andrus to open the score 1-0 in the first inning. The game remained uneventful until the top of the fifth and the Yankees scored their only run thanks to a wild pitch from Colby Lewis allowing Alex Rodriguez to tie the game 1-1.
The bottom half of the fifth proved to be fulminating for New York as Texas cracked the game open with a four-run rally. With two outs, Guerrero doubled to deep center scoring Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton for the 3-1 score. One batter later, Nelson Cruz who has been red hot throughout the playoffs hit a two run shot to left center scoring Guerrero for the 5-1 lead.
After such debacle in the fifth inning, the Yankees simply seemed deflated not being to bounce back and allowing the Rangers to score once again in the bottom of the 7th inning on an Ian Kinsler sacrifice fly for the 6-1 final.
Colby Lewis was credited with the win pitching an eight inning three hitter and striking out seven. On other hand, an emotional Phil Hughes took the heartfelt lost saying, “I know I didn’t turn in the best performance,” he said. “And that’s going to eat at you for awhile.” Hughes pitched 4 2/3 innings giving up four runs and four walks only striking out three.
One day after the ALCS was decided; the Giants delivered the knock out punch to the Phillies winning their series in six games as well. Thanks to an outstanding effort by the bullpen the Giants were able to advance win the NLCS.
The Phillies did not waste time opening the score as they took the lead in the bottom of the first. With one out Chase Utley doubled off Jonathan Sanchez making the score 1-0, two batters later, Jayson Werth hit a sacrifice fly that scored Chase Utley (2-0).
In the top of the 3rd, the Giants responded tying the game 2-2. With runners on second and third Aubrey Huff singled center scoring Jonathan Sanchez for the 2-1 score. The next batter, Buster Posey made it safe to first base on an error by Ryan Howard that allowed Huff to score the 2-2 tie. Moments later, in the bottom half of the inning Jonathan Sanchez and Phillies second baseman Chase Utley got into a minor dispute. Utley got hit by a pitch from Sanchez that opened a hostile exchange of words that emptied both dugouts and bullpens. In the midst of the argument, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled an infuriated Sanchez out of the game and replaced him with Jeremy Affeldt who pitched a formidable two scoreless innings, striking out two.
After 4 ½ scoreless innings Juan Uribe delivered the finishing blow to the Phillies hopes of a third consecutive World Series appearance. Uribe hit a solo homer to right field for the 3-2 final. With the game six victory the Giants are back in the World Series after being absent since 2002.
Game one of the World Series should be an exciting one with Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee matching up on Wednesday evening. For the Rangers this will be their first trip ever and a much-awaited one as Rangers third baseman Michael Young described it saying, “Totally worth the wait, totally,” Will the Giants pitching continue to dominate or will the Rangers bats overrule, we shall wait and see as this series should be very competitive.