Matchup: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
Date/Time: September 30th, 8:07 PM ET
Probable Starters: Price (Tampa Bay) vs. Perez (Texas)
Moneyline: Rays -125
162 games wasn’t enough to separate the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers. They are going to be playing in the first ever MLB betting battle to determine a second Wild Card in league history, as they meet in Arlington on Monday night for the right to play the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Wednesday.
It’s not going to be a fun week of travel if the Rays continue to win. They’re headed from Toronto to take on the Rangers in Arlington, and from there, it could be a day to travel to get to Cleveland and a day to travel to get to Boston for Game 1 of the ALDS. However, they have to get the job done game after game, and it starts against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in both 2010 and 2011. We’re a bit surprised that the team is the favorite in this one on the MLB odds, but the good news is that LHP David Price is on the mound. Price hasn’t had a history of pitching big in these big time games, and he has lost against these Rangers in Game 5 in the past as well. However, Price was strong down the stretch this year, allowing exactly two runs in his last four starts of the campaign. The lefty finished out the regular part of the regular season at just 9-8, but he had a 3.39 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
The Rangers have had a heck of a season. They were in front of the AL West for a good chunk of the year, but they were always right there hand in hand with the Oakland Athletics for the top spot in the division. They went on a long slide that was only halted when they took two out of three games at Tropicana Field against this Tampa Bay team, and from there, they took care of business game in and game out to force this playoff. Texas improbably came back from two down to Tampa Bay with three days to the season left, and sweeping the Los Angeles Angels did the job. However, the pitching staff is really decimated, and it is going to be tough to find a starter for this one. Manager Ron Washington is calling on LHP Martin Perez, who was scheduled to be on the mound today anyway. Perez might not be a part of the regular postseason rotation for the Rangers after he went 10-5 with a 3.55 ERA this year. He had a 1.34 WHIP. Perez didn’t face Tampa Bay at all this season.
The Rays feel like they are just barely hanging on right now. They were up 7-0 on Sunday and nearly choked it away against a bad Toronto Blue Jays outfit, and they have a much harder travel schedule here than a Texas team that didn’t have to go anywhere to prepare for this game. Perez isn’t the better pitcher, but on this day, he’ll be the winner.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Texas Rangers Pick: Texas Rangers +108
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.