Rangers align four for ALCS rotation
ARLINGTON, Texas -- C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis will pitch Games 1 and 2 of the American League Championship Series at Rangers Ballpark, and Cliff Lee and Tommy Hunter will start Games 3 and 4 when the series shifts to Yankee Stadium.
Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington made the rotation official Wednesday. Game 1 is Friday night and will feature Wilson, a two-hit, 6-0 winner in Game 2 of the ALDS, facing 21-game winner and Cy Young Award candidate CC Sabathia.
Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte will pitch Games 2 and 3, respectively, for the New York Yankees. Pettitte will be matched up against Lee, who won twice in the ALDS, including a complete game Tuesday to clinch the series.
Outside of Lee, who would make only two starts if the series goes to a seventh game at Rangers Ballpark, the experience edge heavily favors the Yankees' veteran rotation.
"They may be first-time starters in a postseason championship series, but they've thrown some tough ballgames for us during the year, so they are battle-tested," Washington said of his rotation. "They've taken us to the point where we are and helped us get here. We expect them to help us get further."
Washington said the team will carry 11 pitchers on its ALCS roster. The Rangers will drop pinch runner Esteban German, who did not make an appearance in the ALDS, to make room for the extra pitcher. Candidates include left-handers Clay Rapada, Michael Kirkman or Matt Harrison, but the club could consider righties Scott Feldman or Mark Lowe.
Both teams must turn in final rosters by 10 a.m. Friday.
The Yankees batted .314, scored 17 runs and had 11 extra-base hits in their ALDS sweep of the Minnesota Twins. New York features several switch-hitters including Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Jorge Posada and designated hitter Lance Berkman who can make maneuvering pitcher-hitter matchups more difficult.
"I think the key with the Yankees is not to keep turning that lineup over," Washington said. "They have a lot of experience in it. They grind, they're built for the playoffs so we just have to minimize the opportunities we give to that limit. If we do that we'll be in ballgames."