Gone are the unwatchable three-hour snoozers. Gone are the primetime battles between off-hour teams. Gone are the baseball games you can afford to miss.
Baseball’s final four commences this evening with Game 1 of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers. While the Yankees have the sluggers (Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are former Rangers), Cy Young candidate CC Sabathia and history on their side, the Rangers have plenty to boast as well.
The AL West division champs own home-field advantage, a balanced line-up featuring AL MVP candidate Josh Hamilton and a literal ace-in-the-hole in Cliff Lee, who is slated to start Game 3 after dominating the ALDS..
But tonight, it will be Sabathia, who is pitching on nine days rest, versus C.J. Wilson, a first-year starter who won 15 games and posted a 3.35 ERA this year. The two teams split their regular-season showdowns 4-4 and this October matchup could go deep into the series if both teams play as expected. SI.com’s Tom Verudcci looks down the line and predicts both the ALCS and the NLCS coming down to critical pitching matchups in Game 4.
Here’s the action going on in the sporting world today (all times Eastern):
New York Yankees at Texas Rangers (8:00 p.m., TBS)
The Rangers look to carry momentum from their recent ALDS comeback over the Rays against a well-rested Yankees team. Look for some bats to silence the Year of the Pitcher.
Cincinnati at Louisville (8:00 p.m., ESPN)
A Big East showdown hits national television tonight as the Bearcats (2-3) look to bounce from a slow start against the Cardinals (3-2), whom they beat 41-10 last season.
BY THE NUMBERS
0 – Career NFL starts by Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy, who will be under center this Sunday when the Browns face the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers own the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense and will be boosted by the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from his four-game suspension.
3 – Minutes Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas played Thursday before leaving the court with a groin injury. Arenas’ exit came two days after he admitted to faking a knee injury this preseason in order to let teammate Nick Young receive more playing time.
32 – Greatest sports calls in history ranked by Sports Illustrated’s Joe Posnanski. You can read Poz’s column and listen to the famous memorable moments by clicking here.