Top 9 Subplots Of The American League Championship Series

Cliff Lee

Photo: AP

Game 1 of the American League Championship Series is tonight. The New York Yankees may be the Wild Card winner—which means they won’t have home field advantage – but the Texas Rangers look like the underdogs against the highly paid, highly accomplished defending champs.But like all great baseball contests, it’s the game within the game that makes it so riveting. There are other story lines to follow besides hits and runs. From the phenomenal starting pitching taking on legendary sluggers hitting in home run friendly parks, the ALCS promises to be a thrilling duel.

The Rangers in virgin territory

Forget the World Series--after 49 years in baseball, they've never made it this far.

Mark Teixeira runs into his old teammates

The Rangers traded him away in 2007 and used that deal to build a winner. Time to show them what they missed out on?

Cliff Lee, 2011 Opening Day starter for ... the Yankees?

The most important member of the Rangers' cause, Lee will be a free agent next year, and everyone expects the Bombers to make him an offer he can't refuse.

Alex Rodriguez is still the Rangers' highest paid employee

When the team declared bankruptcy this summer, they still owed the Yankee third baseman $25 million from his gargantuan 2001 contract.

Josh Hamilton's Redemption

Everyone's pulling for the recovering addict to reach the pinnacle of baseball's elite and earn another ginger ale shower.

Is C.C. Sabathia the best pitcher in baseball?

Another dominant performance from the MVP of last year's ALCS, and he could claim that crown.

Who is C.J. Wilson?

It takes more than one pitcher to win a 7-game series. Can the Game 1 starter get Texas off on the right foot and back up Cliff Lee?

Derek Jeter, Greatest Yankee Ever?

He's not ageing well at shortstop, but two more World Series wins and he ties Mickey Mantle.

Chicks dig the long ball

The Ballpark at Arlington and New Yankee Stadium are two of the most homer-friendly parks in the majors. Expect to see some fireworks.

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