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Texas exudes confidence despite Game 5 loss

Texas Rangers pitcher CJ Wilson looks a lot

Texas Rangers pitcher CJ Wilson looks a lot like this comedian … Photo Credit: John Dunn

ARLINGTON, Texas - How worried are the Rangers about blowing the American League Championship Series to the Yankees?

Well, Texas pitchers took batting practice Thursday at Rangers Ballpark in anticipation of a possible World Series opener Wednesday.

The Rangers aren't overconfident about their 3-2 series lead. They're regular-confident.

"They're in the hole," C.J. Wilson said of the Yankees, who must win Games 6 and 7 here to return to the World Series. "We're in the catbird seat. We have the mojo. We have the home-field advantage. We have the fans. We have the white uniforms. We have the claw."

Ah, yes, the claw. And the antlers. The LOL signatures of the Rangers and their aggressive style of play. (The claw for a hit. Antlers for running like deer. You know this by now.)

Wilson, who has proved to be a first-class cutup in his first postseason, said: "It's straight-up fun. It's just straight-up. We like to party."

They'll be partying like it's 1972 if they beat the Yankees Friday night. Why 1972? Because that's when the Washington Senators moved to Arlington and became the Rangers.

The Rangers, Mariners and Nationals/Expos are the only major-league franchises to never appear in the World Series.

But it's not as if the current Rangers feel the weight of all that. Their plan is to win Game 6 behind righthander Colby Lewis. If that fails, they know they have Cliff Lee on the mound for Game 7.

"It's right there in front of us," Lewis said. "We've just got to take it."

This is the second time this postseason that Texas has gone home looking to close out a series. They had a 2-0 lead on Tampa Bay in the Division Series, lost two in a row in Texas and needed Lee to win Game 5 on the road.

The Rangers split the first two games with the Yankees, making them 1-3 at home in the postseason. Yankees fans, TBS and people who love Game 7s would like the Rangers to lose Friday night so we can all skip ahead to Saturday for the epic Lee-Andy Pettitte matchup.

"I think everybody else wants to see Game 7," Rangers outfielder Jeff Francoeur said. "I was talking to my buddy on the way here today. He's like, 'I think everybody else wants to see Game 7.' It'd be a great matchup, but at the same time, we do have a lot of confidence in Colby.

"Yeah, it's an advantage, obviously, us having Cliff going Game 7, but at the same time, you never want to get to Game 7 because you don't know what the heck can happen. One play, one error, something, can totally change the way a game goes.

"I think it's important to come out and play well [in Game 6]. These fans are going to be fired up. It's going to be like a football atmosphere. Especially with the Cowboys not doing much. We're replacing them for a little bit."

Notes & quotes: Rightfielder Nelson Cruz, who left Game 5 in the fifth inning because of a tight hamstring, said he expects to play Friday night. If not, Francoeur will start against Phil Hughes.

New York Sports