AL Division Series


Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees


Today -- Texas (Sele 18-9) at New York (Hernandez 17-9), 8: 10 p.m., NBC

Thursday -- Texas (Helling 13-11) at New York (Pettitte 14-11), 8: 17 p.m., Fox

Saturday -- New York (Clemens 14-10) at Texas (Loaiza 9-5), 7: 40 p.m., NBC

Sunday -- New York (Cone 12-9) at Texas, TBA*

Monday -- Texas at New York, TBA* *-If necessary

Season series: Yankees 8-4.

Season series leaders:

Rangers Avg. HR RBIs

Stevens .317 2 7

Zeile .297 2 7

Palmeiro .273 3 7

Yankees Avg. HR RBIs

Martinez .396 6 17

Brosius .333 1 9

O'Neill .333 3 7

In a nutshell: The Rangers have to be getting tired of pinstripes. They've reached the playoffs two of the past three years and have run into the eventual World Series champion Yankees in the first round each time. The Yankees aren't the amazing, do-no-wrong team that set an American League record with 114 victories last year, but they're still ticking. The Rangers have the more explosive offensive club. The Yankees have the deepest pitching staff in the AL. Usually, the team with the best pitching comes out on top.

The Rangers will win if : They can continue to get steady offensive production from their star-studded lineup and get into the Yankees' bullpen before star closer Mariano Rivera comes into play.

The Yankees will win if : They can shake the troublesome rotation problems that have been dogging them throughout the second half of the season. Roger Clemens and David Cone have to step up.

Prediction: Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez will dominate Game 1 and the Yankees will get strong performances from Andy Pettitte and Cone to win in four games.

Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians


Tomorrow -- Boston (P. Martinez 23-4) at Cleveland (Colon 18-5), 8: 17 p.m., Fox

Thursday -- Boston (Saberhagen 10-6) at Cleveland (Nagy 17-11), 4: 09 p.m., ESPN

Saturday -- Cleveland (Burba 15-8) at Boston (R. Martinez 2-1), TBA

Sunday -- Cleveland (Wright 8-10) at Boston (Mercker 2-0), TBA*

Monday -- Boston at Cleveland, TBA* *-If necessary

Season series: Red Sox 8, Indians 4.

Season series leaders:

Red Sox Avg. HR RBIs

Garciaparra .451 5 17

O'Leary .353 3 13

Offerman .347 1 7

Indians Avg. HR RBIs

Lofton .395 2 6

Vizquel .302 0 3

Alomar .293 0 5

In a nutshell: Man for man, the Red Sox don't look like they belong on the same field with the mighty Indians, but looks apparently are deceiving. The Red Sox won eight of 12 head-to-head meetings and pitching ace Pedro Martinez dominated the Indians in four starts (2-0, 2.17 ERA).

The Red Sox will win if : Martinez puts the hammer down in Game 1 and gets a chance to come back for a decisive Game 5. Presumably, the Red Sox will win one of the other three games.

The Indians will win if : They can manage to crack Martinez's aura of invincibility in the early innings of tomorrow's series opener. If the Indians capture Game 1, the series is over.

Prediction: Martinez will be as good as advertised and push the Indians back on their heels with a low-hit shutout in the opener. Red Sox in five.

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