In the end, it wasn't even close. In the end, it was such a blowout that invocation of a 10-run mercy rule would have been in order. In the end, it didn't matter that Derek Holland maintained the starting rotation's historic run of post-season futility. In the end, Nelson Cruz bolstered his already secure ALCS MVP candidacy with an encore performance, David Murphy surprisingly hammered home a devastating blow in an unfavorable lefty-lefty matchup, and Michael Young went on the attack with one of the games of his life.
And in the end, the Rangers were back-to-back American League champions. We're not looking at the mere emergence of a powerhouse, anymore. We're looking at the powerhouse itself.
There are a number of different narratives you could pursue in relation to last night, including the bullpen turning in another 4.1 innings of one-run work (using Neftali Feliz in the ninth inning of a 10-run game was tantamount to using a tactical nuke to destroy an anthill), but the one that absolutely can't be ignored is the offensive dogpile. Game 6 was effectively over by the end of the third inning, and for that you have this entire lineup to thank -- but the one guy you especially have to thank is Michael Young, who laced two-run doubles down both the left field and right field lines during the course of that third inning, and then completed the directional trifecta four innings later when he blistered a superfluous solo home run to straightaway center field.
That, in conjunction with that vital go-ahead single of his back in Game 4, is what you call Michael Young obliterating the "Michael Young can't hit in the post-season" storyline. One of the hallmarks of a great batting practice session is a player driving the ball with authority to all fields. Young exploited the Tigers' pitching staff as his own personal batting practice hurlers in a pennant-clinching game last night. I can't think of enough good things to say about that, nor can I adequately express my pleasure that my post from four days ago spurred him into action. (Kidding, of course ... or am I?)
Speaking of clinching games, there have been 260 series-clinching post-season games played dating back to 1903. With their 15 runs scored last night, the Rangers matched the 1996 Atlanta Braves (NLCS Game 7) for the most runs ever scored by a single team in a series-clinching game. Only five other teams in post-season history have scored more runs in any single playoff game than the Rangers did last night. A fitting performance from one of the great era-adjusted offenses in franchise history.
And the scariest part? This thing isn't merely a powerhouse. Rather, it is, by all appearances, a sustainable powerhouse. The Rangers have more major league talent on the field than they've ever boasted in their 40-year history, an elite-level front-office braintrust, a great coaching staff, a continuously regenerating farm system, a well-capitalized ownership group emboldened to spend, and enough strong-flowing revenue streams to ensure that the processes that helped the Rangers ascend to powerhouse status in the first place don't need to be scaled back anytime soon.
For the moment, though it's all about four more wins. The Rangers are, yet again, four wins away from achieving something that many of us wondered just a few short years ago if we'd ever see in our lifetimes. It didn't happen last year, but if there's any one lesson that's been pounded home repeatedly over the last six months, it's this -- the past is in the past. What happened last year has minimal bearing on what has happened this year, and the fate that befell the Rangers during last year's Fall Classic doesn't have to befall them again ... because if you've been paying any attention at all, this team is even better positioned this year to finish what it started than it was last year.
So, yeah, it's still time. It's time to go out and win a World Series.