Monday, October 11, 2010
5 reasons the Rays will win Game 5
By Jeff Caplan
Rays ace David Price is looking for redemption after allowing five runs in a Game 1 loss.
1. David Price: The third-year ace is eager to get back on the mound and redeem himself after his first career postseason start in Game 1 gave the Rangers the early momentum. The hard-throwing lefty gave up four earned runs (five total) on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He feels fortunate to get another shot at the Rangers.
2. Home crowd: Sure, Rays crowds get mocked for poor regular-season attendance, but the folks of Tampa/St. Petersburg show up for the playoffs. Game 5 attendance will surpass the 35,000-plus at Games 1 and 2 because the tarps covering the highest rows of the upper deck will be removed, allowing for about 5,000 more fans under the Tropicana Stadium roof.
3. Evan Longoria: The heart and soul of the Rays' lineup found his groove in Game 4 with a homer and two doubles. The power-hitting righty, although only a .167 hitter against Rangers Game 5 starter Cliff Lee, has a flair for the dramatic.
4. Bullpen: The Rays relievers have been good and they're backed by one of game's top closers. Rafael Soriano recorded 45 saves during the regular season, five more than Rangers rookie closer Neftali Feliz.
5. Experience: The Rays have been here before. The core of this year’s team won Game 7 in the 2008 ALCS, beating the Boston Red Sox 3-1 at Tropicana Field. In that game, Price pitched 1 1/3 innings and struck out three to earn the save.