MLB Playoff Preview

AL Match-ups:

Texas Rangers vs Tampa Bay Rays

Finishing 96-66 the Rays held off the Yankees and captured the AL East crown. Tampa will take on the Texas Rangers who captured the AL West with a 90-72 record. The Rays took the season series 4-2, while the Rangers were 0-3 at Tropicana field. The division series begins Wednesday with Tampa having home field advantage.

Tampa Bay starts the series sending David Price to the mound. Price is a CY Young hopeful going 19-6 with a 2.72 era and 188 strike outs. The Rays have a solid rotation with Matt Garza, James Shields, Wade Davis supporting Ace David Price and Jeff Nielmann being the odd man out. Texas Rangers hitters have gotten the best of Price over his career, in the last five years against the Rangers Price is 0-2 with a 7.45 era. Nelson Cruz and Michael Young both have .500 bating  average for Texas. Tampa is hoping Price emulates his numbers from this season, and puts his difficulties with the Texans behind him. Rafael Soriano brings his 45 regular season saves to the post season. The closer is the key piece to the Rays play off push, as they often rely on him to close out and take over games. Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria lead the offence, both hitters had excellent seasons. Evan Longoria finished the campaign with 22 home runs and 104 rbi’s while Pena posted 28 home runs and 84 rbi’s.

For the Rays to win the series they will need to solve Cliff Lee and hope David Price continues his CY Young worthy season.

Texas starts their playoff charge with Cliff Lee battling the Rays sluggers. Lee also had another stellar season going 12-9 with a 3.18 era. At Tropicana Field the lefty has posted solid numbers with a 3-2 record and 3.86 era. In 13 career starts against the Rays, Lee has an amazing 2.87 era winning 6 games. Tampa’s hitters have struggled against Lee in the last few years, Carlos Pena is the only one to homer off of Lee. Longoria has been held to a .143 batting average against the left hander. Scott Feldman, Tommy Hunter, Colby Lewis, and C.J. Wilson will fill out the rangers rotation behind Lee. Not to be outdone by Soriano, Texans closer Neftali Feliz posted  a career high 40 saves while developing into a dominating force for the Rangers. Josh Hamilton and Vladamir Guerroro led the Rangers potent offence. Hamilton lead the team with 32 home runs and 100 rbi’s while Guerroro wasn’t far behind posting 29 home runs and 115 rbi’s.

The Rangers have to pitch with consistency and overcome their troubles indoors at Tropicana Field to win the series. Josh Hamilton makes his playoff debut against his former team. Tampa Bay selected Hamilton with the first overall pick in the 1999 draft.

Tampa Bay wins the series in five games. This division series will be a pitching battle between the teams respective rotations.

Read tomorrow for the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins preview

  1. Great post man! I am a big believer in the fact that you need a very good rotation to be able to win in the playoffs, and right now the Yankees don’t have that. It’s so difficult to outscore teams in the playoffs, that goes for any sport, because you have to face each teams best pitcher’s night in and night out. Scoring is at a premium in any sport when post-season time rolls around. Burnett, Hughes, Vazquez…who do you start? Tough call, no clear-cut answer and even though they have gone with Hughes only time will tell if it is the right decision. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I really wanna hear what you have to say.

    • Excellent post, if the Yankees exit the post season early it will be pitching that caused it. About Burnett, although he struggled this year I’m not sure I’d leave him in the bullpen. We all know what he’s capable of when he’s on his game and the calibre of his pitching. It’s a risk to put him in the rotation, but pitching in the playoffs could have been the motivation he needed to get back on track. Well see if it works out. Yankees win in 5, a-rod’s pushing the yankees through in this round.

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