Hey, Texas – don’t mess with New York!

That’s the message that the AL West champion Texas Rangers might

want to heed as they host the

Yankees tonight in Arlington in the

first game of the American League Championship Series.

Four wins and the

Yanks will be back in the World

Series for the 41st time – in line for an amazing 28th title.

Once again, the Core Four – Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge

Posada and Mariano Rivera – are the heart of the effort, each in

pursuit of a sixth ring.

But this year other heroes stepped up, too: Second baseman

Robinson Cano’s MVP-caliber year complemented sluggers Alex

Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira – creating, with Jeter, an All-Star


Phil Hughes emerged as the de facto No. 2 starter behind 21-game

winner (and Cy Young candidate) CC Sabathia.

Yes, in September, the

Yanks looked a bit wobbly, playing

barely .500 ball. But that’s ancient history.

The club swept the Minnesota Twins in the divisional series –

thanks in large part, by the way, to timely hits from center

fielder Curtis Granderson, who’d been a disappointment earlier this


Meanwhile, the Rangers’ five-game series with the Rays leaves

them exhausted and unable to use standout postseason pitcher Cliff

Lee until Game Three.

Perhaps fate is smiling on the Bombers.