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October 19, 2010

BP Unfiltered

ALCS Game 4 Pre-Game Thoughts

by Christina Kahrl

So, before I scramble up to the top of the ballpark to take my slot in the auxiliary seating, I'm pondering the possibilities.

1) There are a few Texas players who have done damage against A.J. Burnett: David Murphy (5-for-17, four walks, a homer) and Josh Hamilton (three extra-base hits in 19 PA), with Elvis Andrus (six times on base in 17 PA), but that just betrays the extent to which there isn't a big backlog of past history for Rangers hitters to draw on.

2) Burnett's brand of fun involves an ugly amount of indifference to baserunner mayhem, since they went 37-for-42 on steals with him on the mound. Since so much of that was achieved with Francisco Cervelli (24-for-26) behind the plate, any suggestion that his personal catcher helps him anywhere but between the ears would be a bit silly.

3) Burnett spun a pair of quality starts against the Rangers earlier this year, on April 17 and August 10, and then gave up two in four innings in a rain-afflicted September 11 contest.

4) Against that, Hunter has next to no experience against the Yankees, just his contribution to that 9/11 game, in which he struck out an uncharacteristic eight batters in five. Hunter's 12.7 percent strikeout rate on the season is the lowest of any starter on the four remaining post-season squads, he was among the top 10 in the majors in BABIP among pitchers with more than 100 IP, he's not much for ground-ball outs, and he's going up against a lineup rightly famed for its capacity to render pitchers into their component parts.

The more I look, the more I'm thinking this is the game the Yankees explode for a big night at the plate, while Burnett leaves after a creditable five or six innings. The peril for the Yankees will come between that exit and the eighth inning, but they should have the benefit of a big lead. It may make for lousy television in Texas, but I'm beginning to believe in a Yankees rout in tonight's contest.

Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

7 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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The more I'm looking, the more it looks like yet another game in which the memo went out that MLB wants to make sure the Yankees win.

Although I think the Cano HR would've stood, the lack of review on a play that clearly begged for one is the type of garbage that makes the sport look crooked at times.

Oct 19, 2010 17:40 PM
rating: -2

Well, Hunter was out early and it was a rout. Interesting that in the past two games, the Rangers broke it open late.

Oct 19, 2010 21:03 PM
rating: 0

You were close, Christina. The Yankees came very close to hammering Hunter - close but not quite. Burnett pitched better that I expected, but was left in too long & the Rangers took advantage.

Oct 20, 2010 05:29 AM
rating: 0

As a Rangers fan, I felt pretty sure the pitching strategy in this one was going to be to leave Hunter in for 3-4 innings, then bring in the second starter. In other words, the "tandem starter" method the Rangers have been employing in their minor league system the past few years. The situation called for it, and Derek Holland delivered.

Oct 20, 2010 07:21 AM
rating: 2

I bet the Rangers win 10-3, and that Bengie Molina will spark the comeback.

Oct 20, 2010 08:48 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff

All hail the new Kreskin! ;-)

Oct 20, 2010 09:01 AM

we still love you Christina!

Oct 20, 2010 09:05 AM
rating: 0
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