Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Rangers [Print without images]

Monday, October 4, 2010
Rays set 4-man rotation for ALDS

By Richard Durrett

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rays manager Joe Maddon announced his pitching rotation for the ALDS on Monday. Here it is:

Game 1: LHP David Price (vs. LHP Cliff Lee), Tampa Bay

Game 2: RHP James Shields (vs. LHP C.J. Wilson), Tampa Bay

Game 3: RHP Matt Garza (vs. RHP Colby Lewis), Arlington

Game 4: RHP Wade Davis (vs. RHP Tommy Hunter), Arlington

Maddon did not want to get into detail about why he made that decision, but noted that he liked having Shields pitch at home. Shields has a 4.53 ERA at home, nearly a 1 1/2 runs better than on the road (5.82). Shields made one start in 2010 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and allowed six runs (three of them earned) on 10 hits in seven innings with a walk and four strikeouts. In the three previous seasons before 2010, Shields gave up nine earned runs in 14 innings in Arlington. He did give up four hits to the Rangers during that August series at Tropicana Field (and surrendered 10 in Arlington back in June).

Garza, on the other hand, is also a better pitcher at home (3.51) than on the road (4.27), but his road ERA is much better than Shields. Garza, though, gave up four runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings in his lone start of 2010 in Arlington. He's also got a 5.96 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 22 2/3 innings from 2007-09. And of his five starts in Texas, only once did he pitch at least six innings.

Davis' lone start in Arlington was forgetable. He gave up eight earned runs on nine hits and was out after 3 1/3 innings.

"It was not easy to come up with this rotation in regard to A, B, C, D," Maddon said. "We went back and forth on it a lot. It was a variety of different reasons why we chose the particular order that we did. The one thing that is for certain was four are going to pitch, hopefully maybe three that will win it in three games. Beyond that, those four guys would pitch we thought, so then we decided on this order based on a variety of different reasons. That was a pretty good argument of discussion. That went back and forth a lot, but we decided on this particular order right now."

Maddon has not announced the rest of the roster yet, including the bullpen.

"Just look at the stat sheet, a lot of different things," Maddon said about the decision. "Of course, Shields’ history here in the past, in this ballpark, although Matt’s pitched very well here this year also. We did like the idea of James pitching here, and then beyond that without giving up all of our inner secrets."