The Texas Rangers can close out their American League Division Series with the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday afternoon at Tropicana Field
Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays
Texas won all three road games in last year’s ALDS and came away with a 4-3 Game 3 victory Monday over Tampa Bay. The Rangers scored all four runs in the seventh inning and are now just a win away from eliminating the Rays. “We want to come back out with the same intensity and win so we don’t have to play them again at home,” commented Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre. The club is 2-3 all-time in potential series-clinching games. Texas is also seeking to match its longest postseason win streak with a win today. Over the course of the year, the team is 72-43 against right-handed starters.
Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison finished the regular season with a 14-9 record and 3.39 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) this year. The left-hander has led the club to five consecutive wins, coming off a 3-1 no-decision effort on the road against the Los Angeles Angels, allowing a run and five hits over six innings. Harrrison has compiled a 6-4 mark and 2.99 ERA in 15 road starts, surrendering just six home runs in 93 1/3 innings. In four career games (one start) versus the Rays, he is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA, holding them to a .176 batting average.
Tampa Bay has been on the brink of having its season end plenty of times before during the year, so today’s contest will be a familiar feeling. “We’ve been underdogs all year,” commented Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon. “Hopefully tomorrow is another great finish for us here and we’re planning on going to Texas.” The Rays have been hitting the ball out of the ball park, knocking 18 home runs in their last eight games. The team doesn’t seem to have a home-field advantage at Tropicana Field, dropping four consecutive postseason games. Tampa Bay is 32-20 versus left-handed starters and 42-31 following a loss.
Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson compiled a 13-10 record and 2.95 ERA in 29 regular season starts and will be looking to save his team from elimination. Tampa Bay has won four of his last five games, including a 5-3 home win over the New York Yankees, giving up three runs and six hits over six frames. Hellickson is 6-5 with a 2.54 ERA in 14 home starts, as opponents are hitting just .206 against him. He dropped a 2-0 road contest to the Rangers on Aug. 30, allowing two runs and six hits over six frames.
Bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 21-7 mark as a home favorite, while the Rangers are 1-5 in home plate umpire Greg Gibson’s last six games behind the plate.
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