Tampa Bay Rays
The AL East and AL West champions will duke it out at Tropicana Field on Wednesday afternoon to start 2010 MLB playoff betting action, as the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers square off.
Last postseason couldn’t have possibly gone any better for LHP Cliff Lee. He led the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-0 record and he only allowed seven earned runs, five of which came in one start in the World Series. Lee went 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA, and he struck out 33 men in 40.1 innings of work. This year, he hasn’t been the biggest stud at just 12-9 for the year, but he has been pitching sneakily well down the stretch and might be the biggest ace in the hole in these playoffs.
For the Rangers, this is going to be all about the play of Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, and Michael Young. Hamilton has been banged up at times down the stretch, but with a .353 batting average, 32 homers, and 100 RBIs, there isn’t a man that the Rays need to be worried about more than him in the lineup. We also know that if push comes to shove and the game gets down to the last few innings that the Rangers have a plethora of arms to throw at Tampa Bay, ending with Neftali Feliz, who went 40-of-43 in save chances on the season.
The Rays aren’t exactly storming into the playoffs on a tear right now, but they do know that they have a Cy Young candidate on the mound that is ready to take care of the Rangers and their ace. LHP David Price stood toe to toe with the best in the AL this year and still ended up with a 19-6 record to show for his work. Price led his team to wins in his final seven starts of the year and didn’t allow more than three earned runs in his final eight starts. Price had a 2.72 ERA on the season, and he clearly is going to be a man to watch, especially after his remarkable postseason in ’08. The rook at the time only allowed one earned run in 5.2 innings of work and struck out eight batters, including recording a tremendous four out save against the Boston Red Sox to close out the ALCS in Game 7.
The Rays might not have a phenomenal team batting average at just .247, but that doesn’t mean that this lineup isn’t lethal. 3B Evan Longoria blasted 22 homers and knocked in 104 this year. However, he was one of just two men to bat better than .263 for the season. Tampa Bay has the AL leader in saves on its side, as Rafael Soriano slammed the door shut 45 times on the season.
This is going to be a fantastic duel in Game 1 and might be the best game of the entire postseason. Both teams have aces on the mound and a ton of arms in the pen to throw. Don’t expect to see much in the way of scoring. However, we think we’re getting great MLB odds on the visitors in this one, so go with Lee as a pup, even on the road.
Selection: Texas Rangers +120