The Yankees were unable to carry their momentum from last night into today’s contest as they fell 7-2. After holding the Rangers scoreless in 15 1/3 career innings in Texas, Phil Hughes allowed seven runs on ten hits in 4+ innings. Offensively for the Yankees, Robinson Cano was the lone bright spot, collecting two hits, one of which was a monster blast into the right field upper deck. After trailing by five runs after seven innings last night, the Yankees are fortunate to be going home with the series tied at one.

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Yankees 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 7 0
Rangers 1 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 X 7 12 0

One thing really bothered me during this game that I didn’t pick up on on Friday. I was sitting there thinking, what the hell is this ‘claw and antler’ thing. All of the Ranger players kept doing these hand signs. I had no idea what it meant. Apparently, the claw is for when someone does something ‘powerful’, like hitting a home run. The antlers are for ‘speed plays’. Apparently, the Rays made fun of this in the ALCS and the Rangers made them pay. Afterall, Josh Hamilton has a buckhead above his locker.

Back to baseball….

Just by looking at the box, you can tell that this game got away pretty quickly. Jorge Posada made a very dumb play in the first inning. With runners at first and third with two outs, Josh Hamitlon attempted to steal second base. Posada threw to second, attempting to get Hamilton out. However, Elvis Andrus broke from third base to score the game’s first run. Hughes would go on to strike out the hitter at the plate (Nelson Cruz) to end the inning. Dumb, dumb mistake by Posada. I’m sure Jorge has done a fake throw through in his career before….

In addition to Posada’s mental blunder, Hughes just couldn’t keep the ball down in the zone. He gave up four extra base hits in his four innings of work. Fans really cannot get on Joe Girardi for starting Hughes in Game 2 though. His home/road split have been drastically better on the road. He has had success in Texas. Despite the loss, the Yankees technically have home field advantage now as this series shifts to New York.

Virtually, this series has become a five-game set with the Yankees holding home-field advantage. There’s only one issue…

Cliff Lee hasn’t been on the mound yet.

If Lee comes out and throws a gem in Game 3 and the Rangers win, the Yankees will be forced to throw CC Sabathia in Game 4 on three-days rest. Imagine if the Yankees split the next two games and use Sabathia in Game 4. They will be forced to rely on AJ Burnett in a pivotal Game 5 that will ultimately change the momentum of the series. If that’s the case and Burnett wins, his abysmal 2010 regular season will be forgiven. If he loses, watch out.

Overall, the Rangers just came out and raked today. They pounded Phil Hughes and Colby Lewis kept the Yankees off balance. The Bombers haven’t seen Lewis since 2003 so we knew this had disaster written all over it.

One interesting stat: Yankee starters ERA in 2010 ALCS: 13.50 (Bring that down, Andy).

Looking forward to Game 3…

The Yankees must beat Cliff Lee in Game 3. It’s an absolute must. If the Yankees lose, their hands will basically be forced moving forward. Sabathia will have to pitch in Game 4 on short-rest. I’m going to Game 5 so I’ll be FORCED into watching AJ Burnett (C’mon Andy, again). Game 3 may virtually decide the fate of this series, so be sure to tune into the game on Monday night and come back here after the game for Adam’s recap.

One quick side note: Cliff Lee has faced the Yankees five times in the last calendar year. He is 4-0.

Monday, 8:07 PM, TBS

Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (11-3, 3.28 ERA)

Career Stats:

Lee: 6-4, 4.42 ERA (12 starts); Lee is 4-0 in his last five starts against the Yankees.

Pettitte: 11-9, 5.24 ERA (23 starts); 1-0 in 2010.