So its finally time. October baseball, one game to decide who moves and who advances. Is there anything else better in sports than one game to decides who advances in a playoff series? But tonight means a little more to both teams. The Tampa Bay Rays had been the favorite to win this ALDS easily much like the Yankees did theirs, to set up a potential last team standing series against each other in the ALCS. This wasn’t the case as the Texas Rangers have stood in their way since taking the first two games of this series on the road in St. Petersburg.
Tampa needs to win this series for a number of reasons, the main one being that if they don’t they may be finding themselves with a window of opportunity that may be closed quickly after a loss tonight. Rays franchise player, Carl Crawford and other notables like Carlos Pena and Rafael Soriano will be set to become free agents at the end of the 2010 season and you don’t think those players will look for more lucrative deals. The Rays will still have a very good young pitching staff but take out Pena and Crawford from their defense and offense and you have to question if they can stay afloat in the hardest division in baseball, the AL East. The Rays have to win now. The state of the franchise, as far fetched as it may sound, for the next 5-8 years may be hinging on this game.
For Texas, the burden is simple. Win a playoff series. Its been 39 years in the majors for the Rangers and not one series win. Texas hasn’t been as close as they are now to finally moving on to the second round of the post season. A win here might even sway a guy like Cliff Lee to sign an extension and give the Rangers a much needed ace for 2011 and beyond. More importantly a win tonight may give the Rangers and their fans the confidence and outlook that they can do some damage in the ALCS and maybe even win the World Series as a team of destiny.
So grab a seat on the couch, chair or if your lucky enough at Tropican Field, and sit back, watch and enjoy. This game has the makings of a classic, it may even take extra innings with both pitchers going deep into innings and pitch counts to decide who wins.
STARTERS (Would you have it any other way if you were both teams)
TEXAS Cliff Lee (1-0, 1.29 ERA) at TAMPA David Price (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
LOCATION: Tropican Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
TIME: 8:00pm EST
About the Author
Written by George Kouvalis
A huge fan of sports who loves to travel for major events. I've seen my fair share of major games and events including three Olympics, Wimbledon, The Masters etc.... Always up for a road trip or a drink to talk over sports or pro wrestling, in any city I am in or online. Favorite Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Bulls, San Francisco 49ers, Toronto Argonauts, Manchester United, and of course the teams I blog for, the Texas Rangers and Buffalo Sabres. Follow me on twitter at the handle georgekouvalis