After refusing to come to the surface until the Rangers won a postseason series, the first of 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days reached the surface only to be shocked to discover that the home team had lost every game in the ALDS. Texas ended the Tampa Bay Rays season last night, 5-1. As one miner pointed out, it was the first playoff series victory in franchise history for Texas
Once again Cliff Lee showed why someday his postseason numbers may be his pathway for inclusion to the Hall of Fame. Last night, Lee tossed a complete-game six-hitter, striking out 11 and, as per usual, walking none. Lee is now 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA in seven postseason starts. He struck out an ALDS-record 21 in the series. Last night, Lee threw 90 of his 120 pitches for strikes and retired the final nine batters. Lee now has struck out 10+ and walked none four times in his postseason career, making it eight times altogether it has been done in postseason history. No other pitcher has done it more than once. Lee is the first to throw a complete game in a winner-takes-all situation since Curt Schilling (another pitcher who has better postseason stats than regular season stats when it comes to Hall of Fame inclusion) in the 2001 NLDS.
The Rangers showed the aggressiveness in Game 5 that was their style in Games 1 and 2 in Tampa. Last night, instead of swinging at 3-0 pitches, they showed great derring-do on the base paths scoring twice from second on infield groundouts and once on an errant throw to third on a steal. You can be assured that all the Tampa pitchers will suffer next spring training in extended PFP (Pitching Fielding Practices).
The final two runs came the old fashioned way thanks to a two-run homer in the 9th from Ian Kinsler.
The Rays lost all three games at Tropicana Field, managing only two runs which proves the point that it is the match-up that matters, not the venue. Texas pitchers struck out 55 in the five games, an LDS record. This was the first time a division series went the full five games since the Los Angeles Angels beat the Yankees in 2005.
So it is the Rangers and the Yankees in the ALCS and Phillies and the Giants in the NLCS, creating two outstanding series with the four best teams in baseball. As one of the miners was heard commenting, “It should be great. Now, is there a toilet I can use?”
From our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau
Cliff Lee became the first pitcher to start and win both the first game and a winner-takes-all game in the same postseason series since Kerry Wood did it for the Chicago Cubs in the 2003 NLDS against the Atlanta Braves. The Rangers will frequently see Wood in the coming series.
Hamilton Wet with Dry
Josh Hamilton, who has battled drug and alcohol addiction, still had an opportunity to celebrate with his teammates in the postgame bash. As he walked into the clubhouse he found his teammates waiting for him and holding bottles of Canada Dry ginger ale.
Braves New Manager
Early congratulations to former Florida Marlins skipper Fredi Gonzalez who will be the new Braves manager. Gonzalez will be introduced to the media and Bobby Cox, who is retiring after multiple ejections, will have a press conference at Turner Field today.
To Bill Mazeroski and the Pittsburgh Pirates, who 50 years ago today ended one of the greatest World Series with the greatest walkoff homer in World Series history. Check out the coverage in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, filled with slides and film.
Also check out their compilation section.
However, they don’t have anything mentioning the 107th anniversary of the Boston Americans beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 to win the first World Series five games to three.
To Trevor Hoffman who turns 43 today.
More Trevor News
Trevor Gretzky, son of the hockey great Wayne Gretzky, has committed to play baseball at San Diego State, where he will be coached by the Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. Trevor Gretzky is a first baseman who hit .341 with 33 runs batted in last spring at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High all while wearing ice skates.