2010 ALDS Preview: Tampa Bay Rays Vs Texas Rangers
Read Lenny’s Yankees-Twins’ ALDS Preview, including a free baseball pick.
It’s hard to fathom, but the Tampa Bay Rays are the more playoff-tested team in their American League Division Series as they draw the Texas Rangers, who qualified for the postseason for the first time since 1999. The series price has the Rays -165 on the betting line while the comeback has the Rangers at +135 at . Tampa Bay won the season series 4-2, including a three-game sweep here in the teams’ lone series at Tropicana Field back in August.
The Rays (96-66) clinched home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs on the final day of the regular season by virtue of a 3-2, extra-innings win over Kansas City, coupled with the Yankees’ loss in Boston. After clinching no worse than a Wild Card berth with Tuesday’s 5-0 win over the Orioles, Tampa would go on to lose five of its final seven games, getting shutout three times and scoring only nine runs in the process.
As mentioned above, Texas is in the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. They clinched the American League West pennant on September 25th and split its final eight games from there on out. In their three previous playoff appearances, the Rangers were eliminated by the Yankees each time, including back to back sweeps in 1998 and 1999. This is one of just three teams never to have made it to a World Series and is the only team in MLB never to have won a postseason series.
Game One of this series takes place Wednesday afternoon and features a fantastic pitching matchup of Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 ERA) vs. David Lee (19-6, 2.73 ERA), a battle of southpaws. Tampa Bay has opened as a $1.21 favorite on the betting line and the majority of the betting trends do favor the home team here. Price was sensational at home this year with a 12-4 team start record and as a favorite of -125 to -175, his TSR was 11-1. Lee could find it tough sledding against a Rays lineup that has gone 36-19 vs. lefties in 2010 with 5.2 runs scored per game. It’s also worth noting that all nine of Price’s daytime starts at home this season went Under the total. The betting total for Game 1 has opened at seven runs.
The rest of the pitching matchups go as follows: Game 2 (Thursday) – C.J. Wilson (15-8, 3.35 ERA) vs. Matt Garza (15-10, 3.91 ERA), Game 3 (Saturday) – Wade Davis (12-10, 4.14) vs. Colby Lewis (12-13, 3.72), Game 4 (if necessary) – James Shields (13-15, 5.18 ERA) vs. Tommy Hunter (13-4, 3.73). Game 5, also if necessary, would take place next Tuesday.
Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton is clearly not 100%, which is something to watch out for. He missed 24 games with injured ribs before returning for the final three games of the regular season. He went 3 for 11 with one home run and three RBI’s …