Tonight is a prime example of why October baseball is so great. We head to a Game 5 of the ALDS where two of the game’s best pitchers are matched up in a win or your finished game for all the marbles. I am of course talking about the Rangers vs Rays matchup between Cliff Lee and David Price. Loser goes home folks. Spring training starts in about 128 days right?
The old veteran verse the young gun. Precision verse speed. Experience verse talent. This matchup is one of the ages, and definitely will be the most hyped up game of this year’s playoffs thus far.
Game 5 will be intriguing for more reasons than just the pitching duel though. If the Rangers are to win, it will be the first time in postseason history (started in 1903), that a road team has won every game of a series. So much for home field advantage right? Wrong actually. I see home field advantage being the deciding factor in this one. Another interesting statistic for my numbers people out there. The Rays are trying to become the 8th team in MLB history to come back from a 2 to 0 deficit in a five game series. No team has done this since the Red Sox shocked the A’s in 2003.
Texas has their major midseason pickup toeing the rubber. This is the exact reason why Nolan Ryan made sure to acquire Lee for the big bucks. He saw the benefits Philadelphia received last year from Lee’s services in a similar midseason pickup. Why not us, said Ryan, the man he tossed 7 no hitters during his epic career. And though his regular season performance was far from masterful, he looked nearly unhittable in Game 1 of this series. Would you really expect anything less. Lee last year, started 5 games for the Phillies during their playoff run. He posted a record of 4 and 0 and threw 2 complete games. Talk about being stellar in October. This 32-year-old has ice in his veins. Sadly on this night, it will not be enough. The Rays bats have finally woken up with 23 hits in Games 3 and 4.
In the home corner is the Rays, a team that sported the best record in baseball this year. They have the young 25-year-old David Price toeing the hill. Price is only making his 2nd career playoff start. Not to mention this was only his second year as a full-time starting pitcher. So he may be young. But I do not see this guy losing two times in the same series. The kid had 19 wins and an ERA of 2.72 this year. The numbers are in the favor of Tampa. Not to mention he is pitching at home, where the Rays since 2008 are 45 and 18 when they play in front of crowds of 30,000 or more. I promise the crowd will exceed 30,000 on this night. Though Price was not bad in his Game 1 start, he did not get the job done. Expect the young gun to go to work tonight and give the Rays a date with their AL East foe, the New York Yankees.
This game will be close. But the home crowd and the firy youngster will lead a Rays team, which is more talented in my eyes, to an epic ALCS date with the New York Yankees. A matchup that most baseball gurus have been thirsting for.
So I got David Price outdoing Cliff Lee tonight. It is sure to be a matchup of epic proportions though.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.