Final

Playoff Series: Game 5 of 5

Texas leads 3-2 (as of 10/12)

Game 1: Wednesday, October 6
Texas5Final
Tampa Bay1
Game 2: Thursday, October 7
Texas6Final
Tampa Bay0
Game 3: Saturday, October 9
Tampa Bay6Final
Texas3
Game 4: Sunday, October 10
Tampa Bay5Final
Texas2
Game 5: Tuesday, October 12
Texas5Final
Tampa Bay1

Rays 1

 

8:07 PM ET, October 12, 2010

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

123456789 R H E
TEX 100101002 5 11 1
TB 001000000 1 6 2

W: C. Lee (2-0)

L: D. Price (0-2)

Rangers-Rays Preview

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Rays manager Joe Maddon spoke matter-of-factly, assessing Tampa Bay's chances of completing an improbable comeback against the Texas Rangers in the opening round of the AL playoffs.

Down 2-0 after losing the first two games of the series at home, the AL East champions rebounded to win the next two on the road and force a deciding Game 5 on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

Postseason ace-for-hire Cliff Lee will start for Texas, hoping to finish what he started with a dominating performance in Game 1.

The Rangers built on the 5-1 victory and were five outs from their first postseason series win before the sputtering Rays -- in Maddon's words -- got their "mojo" back.

"Getting ahead is really a big component in this series," said Maddon, who will send 19-game winner David Price to the mound in a rematch of the starting pitchers from the opener.

"The first three games we just did not show up. All of a sudden we showed up for what, one and a half games now? Definitely there's a difference in the dugout and within the clubhouse. It's back to where it had been, and that's where we need to be. We play off our internal emotions pretty well, and we didn't have any."

The Rays, who had the AL's best record this season, are trying to become the sixth team in major league history to win a postseason series after losing the first two games at home. The 2001 New York Yankees were the last to do it (and the only ones to rally in a best-of-five playoff), bouncing back against Oakland.

Maddon likes Price's chances of completing the task, even though the 25-year-old was outpitched by Lee in Game 1.

"He was not satisfied in what he did that first game. I know him, he took a lot of that on himself," Maddon said. "But I do believe any kind of mistakes he thought he made, he's not going to make them in Game 5. He's got the ability, both mentally and physically, to make the corrections, so that's what I see from David. I see a very, very good performance."

The Rangers are the only current major league franchise that has never won a playoff series. They outscored the Rays 11-1 in the first two games and led in the eighth inning of Game 3 before Tampa Bay fought back.

Since batting .123 (10 for 81) with one homer through the fifth inning of Game 3, the Rays have hit .362 (21 for 58) with four homers.

Texas manager Ron Washington is confident Lee can cool the bats again.

"They proved they can beat us on our field, we proved we can beat them on their field. This is what it's about now," Washington said when asked if he has a message for his team.

"They have the right person they feel that's going to be throwing tomorrow, and we certainly feel the same way. So it's a matter of going out there, getting Cliff some runs. And if we get him some runs, he'll take it to the finish line. That's what it's all about."

Lee, obtained from Seattle in early July with this type of situation in mind, is 5-0 with a 1.52 ERA in six career postseason starts.

The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner was 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in the postseason for Philadelphia last October, including a pair of wins over the Yankees in the World Series.

Still, the Rays are confident. After all, they did beat him three times this season.

"Obviously, he's had good postseason success. But at the same time, we're in a good spot," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "We've been able to bring the series back home, and we have our horse on the mound, too."

Lee said he doesn't feel extra pressure because of the Rangers' history of postseason futility.

"I have heard about that, but that really doesn't matter to me that much, to be honest with you. This is a different team," he said. "It's a whole different set of circumstances.

"What has happened in the past, they could have had 60 World Series rings and that's not going to change the way I am approaching this season and this postseason. ... We want to get a ring, period. Regardless of whether they've done it every season up until now or never done it before."

Lee allowed one run and five hits, walked none and matched his postseason best of 10 strikeouts in Game 1.

He doesn't plan to change much for Game 5.

"I am really a guy that goes out there and makes pitches and sees how the hitter swings at them and makes adjustments on the fly," Lee said. "Obviously, I will have a game plan and what I did last time, a lot of that worked. So they will have to prove to me that they are making adjustments before I will make a big adjustment. That's how I have always pitched."

Price yielded homers to Nelson Cruz and Bengie Molina while giving up five runs and nine hits in the opener.

At 25, the young lefty is in his first full season in the majors. But he demonstrated two years that he's capable of thriving on a big stage, coming out of the bullpen to get the final four outs against Boston in Game 7 of the AL championship series.

He's eager to redeem himself and relishes the challenge of doing it against Lee.

"This is what you grow up as little kids seeing, growing up watching all the games, the postseason games and World Series games, and you see matchups like this," Price said. "Now that I get to be a part of one, I need to kind of grasp it and take control of it and give us a chance to win."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Gameday Matchup

 TexasTampa Bay
W-L90-7296-66
Night71-4769-47
Grass88-6443-29
Current StreakL1W2
Last 106-45-5

Pitching Matchup

TexasTampa Bay
C. Lee
2-0, 1.13 ERA

Last Game:
11/1 at TEX
7.0 IP, 3 ER
Dec = Loss
D. Price
0-0, 0.00 ERA

Last Game:
10/12 vs TEX
6.0 IP, 3 ER
Dec = Loss

Gameday Lineups

NO.TexasTampa Bay
1. E. Andrus, SS J. Bartlett, SS
2. M. Young, 3B B. Zobrist, RF
3. J. Hamilton, CF C. Crawford, LF
4. V. Guerrero, DH E. Longoria, 3B
5. N. Cruz, LF C. Pena, 1B
6. I. Kinsler, 2B B. Upton, CF
7. J. Francoeur, RF D. Johnson, DH
8. B. Molina, C K. Shoppach, C
9. M. Moreland, 1B S. Rodriguez, 2B

Research Notes

No surprise that the Rays won games 3 & 4 of the ALDS at Arlington -- they had the best road record in the majors this season... But this was the WORST regular season for MLB teams on the road in the last 32 seasons!... And after his impressive Game 1 outing, Cliff Lee is now 4-and-2 with a 3.51 ERA, 50 Ks and only 7 walks in his career at Tropicana Field (including the postseason). Notes on MLB Road Records >> 2010 regular season: all 30 MLB teams combined for .441 win pct on road (lowest since 1978 - .427) >> Rays in 2010: MLB-best 47-34 road record >> Rangers in 2010: 39-42 on road (6th in AL) >> Cliff Lee career at Tropicana Field (including postseason): 4-2, 3.51 ERA, 50 K, 7 BB
Cliff Lee has a chance to become just the second pitcher in MLB history to get at least 10 K in 3 straight postseason road starts. Bob Gibson has the longest such streak, with 4 from 1964 to 1968. Lee is currently one of just three others to do so in at least 2 straight (joining Roger Clemens and Kevin Brown).
  [+]
From Elias: Tuesday's ALDS between the Rays and Rangers will be the 14th Division Series to go the full 5 games since the Wild Card was created for the 1995 season and the first since 2005. In the previous 13 LDS Game 5's, the home team is 6-7. An even worse trend for home teams is that 5 of the last 6 home teams in a LDS Game 5 have lost.
  [+]
From Elias: The road team has won each of the first four games of the Rangers-Rays ALDS. There has NEVER been a postseason series in which the road team won every game.

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