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Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays: ALDS Game 5 Preview

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 14:  American League All-Stars Evan Longoria, Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford, Ben Zobrist and Carlos Pena of the Tampa Bay Rays stand during introductions before the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IOctober 11, 2010

The ALDS series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers started when the Rangers Cliff Lee outdueled the Rays David Price.  Twenty-four hours later, the Rays fell again behind James Shields to the Rangers and C.J. Wilson.  In fact, the Rays only had one run in the first two games at Tropicana Field, via Ben Zobrist's solo homer in Game 1. 

Then, the series went off to Arlington, Texas.  The Rangers wanted to close out the series in front of the home crowd.  Colby Lewis tried to advance the Rangers, while Matt Garza tried to save the Rays season.  Garza prevailed, pushing a Game 4.  Tommy Hunter tried again to win in Texas, but Wade Davis pitched a gem to defeat the Rangers 5-2. 

Now, the Rangers are feeling the pressure.  The Rays have momentum, and the advantage of the home crowd for Game 5.  The pitching matchup is a rematch of the Game 1 starters, Cliff Lee vs David Price.  Lee won the first match, but David Price is a Cy Young candidate, and will most likely bounce back. 

The Rangers' bullpen has been real busy in Games 3 and 4, while the Rays have total depth in the pen.  If Cliff Lee gets into any trouble, the Rangers have a tired bullpen, while the Rays are well-rested and have plenty more arms.  Lefty Derek Holland probably won't be seen out on the mound tomorrow, as he pitched 4.2 innings combined in Games 3 and 4, four of those innings in Game 4. 

The Rays lineup looked lackluster in Games 1 and 2, while the Rangers offense was surging.  However, this completely turned around in Games 3 and 4.  The Rays offense went on a tear, including Evan Longoria going 3-4 with a homer, and B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena, and Ben Zobrist all collecting two hits.

The Rays have offensive momentum, and have field flexibility.  Several players, including Reid Brignac, Ben Zobrist, and Sean Rodriguez being able to play several positions.  The Rays have offensive depth, and a smart manager in Joe Maddon.

Is home field advantage good or bad for the Rays?  The Rays offense was sluggish in Games 1 and 2 home at the Trop, but they picked up at Texas.  The Rangers were dominant at the Trop, but fell in Texas.  Will the road team win yet again?  Or will the home team win the series for their crowd?

Overall, I'd have to give the Game 5 edge to the Rays.  The Rays have all the momentum, which probably won't disappear at home.  The Rays offense is going good for them, and David Price is ready to rebound.  The Rays offense will have a tough time versus Cliff Lee, and the game will probably end up being a pitchers duel.  I believe that David Price will come out on top this time.

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