Monday, October 11, 2010
5 reasons the Rangers will win Game 5
By Richard Durrett
Cliff Lee's teams are 6-0 in games he has started in the postseason.
1. Cliff Lee: He's started just six postseason games, but his team has won all of them (he's 5-0 with a 1.52 ERA). Lee has already won at Tropicana Field against the Rays, so he'll draw on that blueprint and apply it to Tuesday's game. The Rangers traded for Lee to pitch in games like this. He's a big reason they can win it.
2. Road-field advantage: The road team has won all four games in this series. Texas looked much more comfortable in Games 1 and 2 without some of the distractions of additional media, ticket requests and extra family at home. The Rangers looked relaxed in a voluntary workout Monday and know when the game starts that the past two times they played in Tampa, they won. The road team has won two of the past three and four of the past seven Game 5's in the ALDS.
3. Power: Texas has seven homers in the series and hit four of them in the first two games in Tampa. This offense is versatile enough to score runs in different ways, but the power can change the game with one swing. And in a winner-take-all Game 5, one swing can make the difference.
4. Stars due: Vladimir Guerrero, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young are a combined 7-for-45 (.200) in this series. It seems unlikely that the trio would be held at or below the Mendoza Line for an entire five-game series. One of them should break out on Tuesday.
5. Backup plan: The Rangers also have a fully rested C.J. Wilson ready to go if needed. That's not a bad option either in the middle innings to keep things close if Lee is in trouble or in the later innings to help preserve a lead.