Texas Rangers: 2010 ALDS 5 reasons
October, 11, 2010
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
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.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesCliff Lee's teams are 6-0 in games he has started in the postseason.
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.
October, 11, 2010
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com
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.
Kim Klement/US PresswireRays ace David Price is looking for redemption after allowing five runs in a Game 1 loss.
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.