By Evan Brunell
Rangers at Rays, 5:07 p.m. ET, Tropicana Field, TBS
|1||Ian Kinsler||2B||1||Desmond Jennings||LF|
|2||Elvls Andrus||SS||2||B.J. Upton||CF|
|3||Josh Hamilton||LF||3||Evan Longoria||3B|
|4||Michael Young||DH||4||Matt Joyce||RF|
|5||Adrian Beltre||3B||5||Johnny Damon||DH|
|6||Mike Napoli||C||6||Ben Zobrist||3B|
|7||Nelson Cruz||RF||7||Casey Kotchman||1B|
|8||Mitch Moreland||1B||8||John Jaso||C|
|9||Craig Gentry||CF||9||Reid Brignac||SS|
|Colby Lewis||RHP||David Price||LHP|
Price vs. Rangers: The Rangers can hit lefties well, but Matt Moore showed that the postseason is an entirely different story by putting Texas in a chokehold. Price will hope for more of the same, and has success to draw on. Across two starts on June 1 and Sept. 7, Price threw 14 innings against Texas, allowing five runs while walking three and punching out 13, good for a 3.21 ERA. He'll have his hands full, without question. Nelson Cruz, who is in the midst of a slump that skipper Ron Washington says he's about to break out of, might have the right victim in price. Cruz has slammed two homers against Price in his career and is batting .538. Other strong performers include Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, who has reached base at a .500 OBP clip.
Lewis vs. Rays: One matchup worth watching is Lewis vs. Evan Longoria. Longoria is hitless in six plate appearances against Lewis, and it may have to do with the slider. Lewis' best pitch the last two seasons has been his slider as Fangraphs.com notes. Longoria happens to have major problems with sliders this season. Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman are the only batters who have at least career double-digit appearances against Lewis, and only Damon has been able to hit him. The team as a while has seen Lewis 64 times at the plate and are hitting just .182/.297/.255. Unsurprisingly, Lewis blanked the Rays for eight innings in his lone start against them this season.
|Full Playoff Coverage|
- Price has never beaten the Rangers and was a major reason why the Rays lost to Texas in the ALDS last season. He was winless in both his starts, and of course, you only need three wins to advance.
- Moreland hit .234 against lefties this year and usually doesn't play against them, with Yorvit Torrealba picking up the slack. But Washington doesn't want Moreland out of the lineup after he smacked a homer in Game 2.
- Those who are keeping an eye on the weather after Mother Nature has already reared her head need not worry. The Rays play in a dome, so this game is getting in.