The Scariest Things for the Rangers in the ALDS Are Joe Maddon and the Rays

Clay ThomasContributor IISeptember 30, 2011

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Yorvit Torrealba (L) #8 and Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers congratulate each other following the Rangers 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 28, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Boy, we needed Boston to win the wild card.

If that would have happened, Texas had a really good chance to sweep them right under the rug and move on to face either the New York Yankees or the Detroit Tigers.

But the gods of baseball decided to frown upon the Red Sox in the Curse of the Andino, and thusly, here we are, Rangers and Rays on the road to the ALCS.

So, now that we have somewhat digested the most famous regular season day of all time, as a sports columnist, I get to dissect what will happen in the upcoming days.

It's like Christmas and my birthday all on the same day!

The Rays winning the wild card is the worst thing that could have happened to the Rangers. Boston wouldn't have even been a challenge. The Rangers stout rotation and line-up would have murdered the worst team in baseball in the month of September.

People keep telling me that "Boston is a different team in October." To them I say, "No they're not. They blow leads in October. Look at the record in October for the Redsox. It took them 86 years to finally break the Curse of the Bambino."

The Rays however, coming off a stellar 15-10 September and a sweep of the Yankees, come to Arlington with a resume full of talent and veteranship. They've been there before, they've won two of two games played in Arlington in October, and they are coming off the biggest win in recent history for them. They are hot right now.

The onus is on CJ Wilson. Can he quiet the storm from Tampa?


To counter the Rangers dominant ace, the Rays are throwing Matt Moore, who has a (and no I am not lying) career total 9.1 innings pitched in the Majors. He was born in 1989. He's a young pup. The biggest thing he's done however is hold the Yankees scoreless through five innings.

He's their number one prospect.

If I'm a Rays fan, I like this move. I like it a lot. He's good. Really good. The kind of good you can count on. Joe Maddon has a long history of questionable, off-the-wall, down-right-ridiculous decisions he has made.

The crazy part: they work. I love his style of coaching.

What probably went through his mind is they have absolutely nothing to lose. He understands that his ace and number two can't throw, and instead of sending out someone less talented, he's pitching a guy who is confident and more importantly someone who the Rangers have never seen before.

If you refer to my last article, I talked about Ogando and explained why he had success this year. It's because no one had seen him up until this point.

You can bet that the Ranger camp is scrambling around today to find as much information as they can from area scouts around the nation to piece together somewhat of a hitting strategy against him. I would even bet that Maddon knew all along that he would start Moore in game one. He delayed telling everyone to give the Rangers even less time to find information on him.

With all that said, I'm nervous. Very, very nervous. We get the "tough road". It's going to be epic.