I’ve already posted my ALCS preview, but I want to highlight four players in more depth.
The Baseball Beat blog has a nice series preview post of its own, and I especially like who the writer chose as his players to watch.
Texas Player To Watch: OF Josh Hamilton- Hamilton is this team’s MVP and greatly struggles in the ALDS. You have to wonder how much his ribs are bothering him. If the Rangers hope to win, Hamilton needs to produce.
New York Player To Watch: SP Andy Pettitte- Pettitte needs to outduel Lee in a pivotal game 3 of this series and might have to do it again in game 7 with the season on the line.
I couldn’t agree more with both picks. Hamilton is probably the favorite for AL MVP, but it’ll look pretty bad if he winds up winning it and has an awful postseason. So far, he has. He needs to turn it around in the ALCS if the Rangers want to play in their first ever World Series.
As for Pettitte, I don’t think it’s a coincidence he was pushed back in the rotation to face Cliff Lee. The Yankees understand how important Pettitte was to them last postseason (he won all three series clinching games), and if he can prove he’s still a big game pitcher the Yankees will have no trouble getting past the Rangers.
The Ex-Rangers Sub-Plot:
Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira manned the corners of the Rangers infield back in 2003. This year, they’re the top two Yankees sluggers and are looking to bury their old team. It will be interesting to see the Texas crowd’s reaction if either one of them goes yard.
Here are a couple of strange off-the-field issues surrounding both players: