Nobody puts CC in a corner.
Opponent: New York Yankees (95-61, as of Sept. 22)
Likelihood of facing Rangers (on scale of 1-10): 7, One thing is nearly certain in the American League playoff picture, and that's that the Yankees will have homefield and face either the Wild Card (if it's not Boston or Tampa Bay) or the lesser of the two records between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers, who are tied at 90-66, but the Tigers have the tiebreaker.
What needs to happen: The Tigers would have to top the Rangers' season record, or tie it and the Wild Card has to go to either the Boston Red Sox or Tampa Bay Rays — pretty simple.
Texas pitching against New York: C.J. Wilson (0-0, 2.25 ERA), Colby Lewis (has not faced this year, two wins in ALCS last year), Derek Holland (0-2, 8.62 ERA), Matt Harrison (1-1, 1.93 ERA), Alexi Ogando (0-1, 12.38 ERA).
New York pitching against Texas: CC Sabathia (2-0, 5.12 ERA), A.J. Burnett (has not faced this year), Bartolo Colon (0-0, 10.38 ERA), Freddy Garcia (1-0, 0.00 ERA), Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.67 ERA), Phil Hughes (has not faced this year).
Who wins: Our resident New Yorker, Josh Alper, informed me that the Yankees are likely planning a three-man rotation in the ALDS, which makes good sense in a five-game series. That would mean Sabathia in Games 1 and 5 and Ivan Nova in Games 2 and 4 with Game 3 up for grabs between most likely Garcia and Hughes, who the Rangers hit hard last season. Garcia has one outing against Texas this year and threw six scoreless innings. This is a tough series to call. Sabathia makes the Yankees awfully formidable in a 5-gamer. This will be C.J. Wilson's chance to prove any doubters left that he has the stuff of a bona fide ace like Cliff Lee did in the ALDS last season, winning Games 1 and 5 against Tampa Bay. The Rangers starting pitching depth is infinitely better than the Yankees, but that doesn't matter as much in a 5-game series. Ultimately, it's going to be a nail-biter.
Texas wins in 5 and advances to the ALCS.