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American League Wildcard Playoffs 2011: Rays vs. Rangers Game One Line

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Sep/30/2011
American League Wildcard Playoffs 2011

Carrie Stroup here with your American League Wildcard Playoffs 2011 Rays vs. Rangers odds where the line on Game One had Texas as a -178 favorite with the UNDER at -115.  The Series line had Texas at -165 and Tampa Bay at +145.

Series Schedule (Best of 5)

Game 1 at TEX: Friday, 5:07 p.m. EDT

Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA)

Game 2 at TEX: Saturday, 7:07 p.m. EDT

James Shields (16-12, 2.82 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95 ERA)

Game 3 at TB: Monday, Monday, 5:07 p.m. EDT

Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40 ERA) vs. David Price (12-13, 3.49 ERA)

Game 4 at TB: Tuesday, Time TBD (if necessary)

TBA vs. TBA

Game 5 at TEX: Thursday, Oct. 6, Time TBD (if necessary)

TBA vs. TBA

After a dramatic run to the AL Wild Card, the Rays open the playoffs against second-seeded and defending AL champion Texas.

These two teams are built similarly, with strong defenses backing up solid starting rotations and question marks in the bullpen. But the Texas offense is what sets the Rangers apart. They were second in the majors in runs (5.35 per game) and first in home runs (222). They didn’t slow down in September, averaging 6.64 runs per game and scoring double-digits twice during a season-ending six-game winning streak. On top of that, they have home-field advantage and were tied for the best home record in the AL this year (52-29).

Texas led the 2010 postseason with 4.44 runs per game, and this year’s offense is even better. Along with LF Josh Hamilton (.298 BA, 25 HR, 94 RBI), RF Nelson Cruz (.263, 29, 87), DH Michael Young (.338, 11, 106) and 2B Ian Kinsler (.255, 32, 77), Texas now has 3B Adrian Beltre (.296, 32, 105) and C/1B Mike Napoli (.320, 30, 75) for this year’s playoff run.

The Rays are used to the do-or-die pressure at this point, making up a nine-game deficit in the Wild Card race to make the playoffs. This team has some familiar faces from their run to the 2008 AL pennant and 2010 playoff appearance, but gone are stars like Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Matt Garza.

Tampa went 17-10 in September, but that included a 4-0 record against a Yankees team with nothing to play for. 3B Evan Longoria (.244 BA, 31 HR, 99 RBI) caught fire down the stretch, posting a 1.043 OPS in September and hitting two home runs in a must-win, regular-season finale. They could use another postseason surge from CF B.J. Upton (.243, 23, 81), who hit seven home runs during the 2008 postseason, and 1B Casey Kotchman (.306, 10, 48) must prove his resurgent season wasn’t a fluke.

Pitching is a question mark for both teams. Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89 ERA) will start Game 1 for Tampa after the Rays scrambled to win games down the stretch. The Rangers will be heavy favorites in the opener with ace C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA) taking the mound. The most interesting matchup will be in Game 2, when the Rays throw the reliable James Shields (16-12, 2.82 ERA) against streaky 24-year-old lefty Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95 ERA), who went 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA in his last six starts. Tampa would appear to have an edge in Game 3, but Rangers righty Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40 ERA) was 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA in four playoff starts last year while Rays ace David Price (12-13, 3.49 ERA) collapsed in his last two starts, both crucial pennant-race games, allowing 11 runs over 10 innings.

The bullpens are issues for both teams, but Rangers closer Neftali Feliz (32-for-38 in save opportunities) seemed to have straightened things out after a midseason slump. He was 11-for-12 on save opps. and posted a 1.90 ERA after August 1. Tampa’s bullpen is anchored by journeyman Kyle Farnsworth. The 35-year-old was 25-for-31 in save chances in his first full season as a closer.

- Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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