Time: 8:07pm ET
TV Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling,, Craig Sager
Radio: ESPN Radio
Radio Announcers: Jon Miller and Joe Morgan
Umpires: Gerry Davis, Brian Gorman, Angel Hernandez, Fieldin Culbreth, Jim Reynolds, Tony Randazzo
MLB.com Gameday: Link
We're through the first of three rounds, and the two teams to advance to the ALCS have certainly arrived along two very different paths. The Yankees made very quick work of the Twins, sweeping them aside in three games, and will get going Friday night on five days' rest. The Rangers, meanwhile, got out ahead of the Rays but were then pushed to a decisive Game 5, which they were able to win behind the excellence of Cliff Lee. The Rangers have played two full games since the last time the Yankees took the field. How will that matter? Will the Yankees be better off, on account of their rest? Will the Rangers be better off, on account of their momentum? Will this make any kind of difference at all? It's impossible to say. Odds are, once the action gets started, no one'll be thinking much about what happened last week.
(1) CC Sabathia is a lefty starter who doesn't take very good care of lefty hitters. His K/BB ratio against left-handed bats this year was 4.4, while it was 2.3 against right-handed bats. That gives the Yankees a leg up when it comes to keeping Josh Hamilton quiet. However, Hamilton may end up the only lefty bat in the Ranger order, depending on what they do at first base with Jorge Cantu and Mitch Moreland. Sabathia will be pitching against the platoon almost all game long, and we saw what Texas was able to do against a similar pitcher in David Price. They won't walk much, but they will swing hard.
(2) Like Sabathia, C.J. Wilson is a lefty, and he's just murder on lefty bats. Lefties hit just .144 against him on the year, with zero home runs and a .400 OPS. That's very bad news for Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, and Curtis Granderson. However, Wilson has trouble throwing consistent strikes against righties, and the majority of the Yankee hitters who'll be batting right-handed against Wilson have very good discipline. There will be opportunities for the Yankees to put guys on base, which means Wilson could end up trying to work out of a number of jams. Look for the Ranger bullpen to have an active game.
(3) Most everybody knows that new Yankee Stadium is a hitter-friendly bandbox, inflating home run totals beyond those expected in a normal stadium - especially for left-handed hitters. Texas has a very similar ballpark. It's a hitter-friendly environment - even more hitter-friendly than the one in New York. Texas also usually inflates home run totals, as there's often a wind blowing out to right field. It's a dangerous place to pitch. Balls carry in Texas, and the game can change in an instant in a way you don't really see in, say, Target Field.