The ALCS shifts to New York tonight, with the Rangers and ace Cliff Lee opening as a tempting -115 road favorites to grab a lead in the series.
After blowing a late lead in the ALCS opener, Texas shook their dreadful 11-game losing skid to New York with a 7-2 victory in Game 2. The scene is set for Lee to take the mound in a meaningful Game 3 on Monday against the Yankees' Andy Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in postseason history.
Pettitte will put his aging body up against a well-rested pitcher - and the most dominant one of the past two postseasons - in Lee. The Rangers' ace has been nothing short of sensational in these playoffs, notching two wins with 21 strikeouts and never giving up a single walk against the Rays in the ALDS. [ ALCS Game 3 Matchup Report ]
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Lee dominated the Yankees in the World Series last year, going the distance in beating them in Game 1, firing 10 strikeouts.
Even if Pettitte chucks the game of his life, the Yankees' rotation has been knocked around in this series. CC Sabathia bombed in Game 1, and Phil Hughes was no better in the second game of the series. Probable Yankees Game 4 starter A.J. Burnett is rumoured to be suffering from an injury, and this could force others to pitch on even shorter notice if the series goes the distance.
Texas went straight to the bullpen to put the lid on their first ALCS win in Game 2, a night after blowing a five-run lead with starter C.J. Wilson. The +105 underdog Yankees are now in for a heck of a series.
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Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira had a combined two hits in the Game 2 loss. Jeter, who has batted .417 against Lee, will have to do better, and the former Rangers sluggers need to prove they are worth the bet.
OVER bettors collected in Game 1 with 11 combined runs scored, while Game 2 was a PUSH with the nine runs scored. OVER betting looks like the way to go in Game 3, especially with the opening total set at a below-series-average of 7.5 at most books.
The Rangers might be the series underdog at +115, but with the Yankees' rotation in a mess it could be time to wager a series bet on Texas. First pitch goes out at 8:07 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.
In the NLCS, the Phillies opened as small road favorites as well with Cole Hamels taking on Matt Cain. [ NLCS Game 3 Matchup Report ]
Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt tossed eight solid innings and Jimmy Rollins drove in four runs as the Phillies evened the NLCS at a game apiece with a 6-1 win over the Giants in Game 2 on Sunday. Betting resumes for that series on Tuesday, as the teams travel to San Francisco for Game 3. Books are giving the edge to starter Cole Hamels and the Phillies at -120.
Right-handed Matt Cain will counter for the +110 Giants at AT&T Park.