MLB Odds: Rays and Rangers square off in Game 5
By: Adam Markowitz
Monday, October 11, 2010
Lefty David Price gets the call from Joe Maddon for Tuesday’s Game 5.
Something has to give in the Tuesday night matchup at Tropicana Field. There has only been one team in baseball history down 2-0 in a series after losing both games at home to come back and win that series. However, the visitors, who were ahead 2-0 going back home, have never won a series in their franchise's history, making them the only team in the AL to be able to say that.
It will all come to a head Tuesday in the Sunshine State, as the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers square off in MLB betting action for the right to take on the New York Yankees in the ALCS.
For the Rangers, the role of manager Ron Washington has been huge in this series. Many question the way he handled his bullpen on Saturday. The unit imploded, allowing five runs in just two innings of work to put the Rays back in this series. Had that game gone to extra innings, Texas was out of regular relief pitchers.
For the Rays, there is still a ton of question about their offense and the ability to close out games. The 'pen was shoddy at times on Sunday, allowing a few situations for the Rangers to sneak back in the game, while the batting order went to sleep after putting five runs on the board in the first five innings.
However, Tampa Bay has been here before, and it has arguably the biggest warrior on the team on the bump on Tuesday night in the form of LHP David Price.
Price made a real name for himself in the only other close-out game in the history of Tropicana Field, Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. The Sox had the bases loaded in a 3-1 game with two down in the eighth inning. Price came on to face JD Drew and struck him out. Instead of going to anyone else, Manager Joe Maddon elected to leave his rookie in the game, and he proceeded to get two more strikeouts and a ground out to send Tampa Bay to its first ever World Series.
Unfortunately for Price, his debut as a starting pitcher in the postseason didn't exactly go according to plan. He allowed five runs, four of which were earned, including two solo homers in Game 1 against these Rangers. The loss dropped him to 0-3 lifetime against Texas.
On the other side of the diamond, Washington was questioned all week about whether or not he should have used LHP Cliff Lee in Game 4 on Sunday on three days of rest. However, that is something that Lee has never done in his career, and he knew that he had his southpaw in his back pocket to use for Game 5 for the full nine innings if need be.
Lee has a great history in the postseason, and it would be shocking to see him do anything less than throw the majority if not the entirety of the game on Tuesday. He "only" went seven frames and allowed just a solo home run to utility man Ben Zobrist in his dominating Game 1 effort. He improved to 5-0 all-time in the playoffs and has still only allowed more than one run in two of his six playoff appearances.
The Rangers had only won three of their previous 16 visits to the Trop before taking the first two games in this series. The rash of road wins was very strange for a series in which the hosts went 5-1 over the course of the regular season.
In this do or die game, Price and the Rays are minus 115 choices of the MLB oddsmakers. The 'total' has been set at 6½ and flat-priced at minus 110 on each side at most shops.