Monday, October 3, 2011

ALDS Moves to Tampa

The American League Division Series matchup between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays moves to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg this evening.  What have we learned from Games 1 & 2 and what can we expect for Games 3 & 4?

Game 1 & Game 2 Summary:
Game 1 in Texas featured Tampa Bay's rookie pitcher Matt Moore (one MLB start prior to Friday's game) hurling 7 innings of shutout ball.  He received all the offense he would need from his battery mate, Kelly Shoppach, who pounded two home runs and drove in five in a 9-0 rout of C.J. Wilson (6 ER) and the Rangers.

In Game 2, Tampa Bay starter James Shields was battered for seven runs in five innings.  Ian Kinsler, Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland drove in two runs a piece in Texas' 8-6 triumph.

Game 1 and Game 2 Statistical Notes:
  • B.J. Upton is a combined 4 for 8 with 3 doubles and 3 runs scored
  • Wilson had given up only 5 ER in his last 37 1/3 IP of the regular season
  • Moore threw 62 of 98 pitches for strikes
  • The Rangers are hitting a combined .194 in the series
Game 3 and Game 4 Expectations:
David Price takes the mound for Game 3 against Colby Lewis. Price was a hero out of the pen for Tampa during their World Series run in 2008 and Lewis was exceptional last year in Texas' postseason going 3-0 with a 1.79 ERA. In Game 4, Rookie of the Year candidate, Jeremy Hellickson faces Matt Harrison.  Tampa will hope to turn around their fortune against the Rangers at the Trop where the Rangers swept three games from the Rays in last season's ALDS.  The Rangers need production from Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz (combined 1 for 21 in the series).  The Rays hope to continue to get solid performances from Upton and Evan Longoria (3 for 9, HR, 3 RBI).

Stats courtesy of MLB.com

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