Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee.
OK. Enough with that. Seems like all the talk surrounding the New York Yankees – Texas Rangers American League Championship Series comes back to Lee.
Should the Yankees have relented and met Seattle’s asking price for Lee when they had him within their grasp this summer? Can the Yankees deal with Lee, one of the best postseason pitchers ever and a guy who has great success against them? How lucky are the Yankees that they won’t have to face the Texas ace until Game 3?
The Rangers, though, have a lot more going for them than Lee. The American League West champions won 90 games this season, and when they dispatched the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS that was the first playoff series victory in franchise history.
Here is a quick primer on five other names you should be familiar with when it comes to Texas.
C.J. Wilson — Wilson gets the ball in Game 1 for the Rangers. In his one ALCS start, he pitched 6.1 shutout innings against Tampa Bay. He is a quality pitcher who won 15 games for Texas this season. Was a closer for at least parts of the past three season before converting to full-time starting this season.
Neftali Feliz — The flame-throwing rookie closer had 40 saves for Texas this season, first rookie to ever reach that number. He blew only three saves all season, but one of those was August 11 vs. the Yankees. With the ageless Mariano Rivera closing for the Yankees, the Rangers will need Feliz, 22, to hold up under the spotlight.
Josh Hamilton — The sweet-swinging lefty slugger is Texas’ best player. He hit a whopping .359 this season with 32 home runs and 100 RBI. Has been slowed by a ribcage injury, however, and will probably not be 100 percent.
Vladimir Guerrero — The Anaheim Angels let the free-swinging slugger go after 2009 because they didn’t think he could stay healthy and continue to produce at a high level. Well, Guerrero only played 152 games, only hit .300 and only had 29 home runs and 115 RBI. Not bad for being washed up.
Nolan Ryan — Rangers co-owner and Hall of Fame pitcher. I tossed him in here only because you will see a gazillion shots of him in the stands or in a luxury box during the series. Ryan and Chuck Greenberg bought the team before the season began.