ARLINGTON -- The Rangers will go with four left-handers in their bullpen for the American League Championship Series. They added Clay Rapada and Michael Kirkman to the bullpen, dropping right-hander Dustin Nippert and utility infielder Esteban German.
The Rangers had several reasons in mind:
The Yankees have three left-handed hitters in their lineup -- Curtis Granderson (.234 batting average vs. lefties), Brett Gardner (.252) and the dangerous Robinson Cano. He hit .285 against lefties as opposed to .337 against right-handers.
The Yankees have three switch-hitters in the lineup -- Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher. All have power, and the two ballparks both favor left-handed power hitters over right-handed sluggers. Both Yankee Stadium and the Ballpark in Arlington have big power alleys.
The Rangers will start right-handers Colby Lewis in Game 2 and Tommy Hunter in Game 4. If either falters early, manager Ron Washington can bring in either Holland or Michael Kirkman for multiple innings.
Four left-handers allows Washington to save Darren Oliver for late in the game as the eighth-inning setup reliever, rather than using him in the sixth or seventh.