Home > Game Previews, MLB > ALWC Tiebreaker Preview: Win (and Go to Cleveland) or Go Home

ALWC Tiebreaker Preview: Win (and Go to Cleveland) or Go Home

We came really close to seeing the Rays melt down and lose their shot at Game 163 as they turned a 7-0 lead into a one-run nailbiter in Toronto; the stupid Blue Jays instead denied fans any sort of symmetric revenge for Boston’s own failure in 2011. But they did give us one more day of high-stakes baseball this week, even if it’s a game in which it’s hard to take a strong rooting interest.

In that Toronto game, Tampa Bay’s Jake McGee threw 28 pitches, Joel Peralta 20, and Fernando Rodney 33. Against Los Angeles of Anaheim, the Rangers only worked Robbie Ross for 20 pitches, so everyone else in that pen should be a bit fresher. Texas also gets home field advantage for this final matchup.

The problem for the Rangers is that this weekend took their best three starters, and Matt Garza would be on three days’ rest. David Price has looked almost mortal this year for Tampa Bay, but a down year for Price is still better than what you’d expect from Perez. Factor in a superior offense (the Rays edged out Texas in on-base and OPS, and lost slugging by just 4 points despite a vast difference in ballparks), and the Rays are the odds-on favorite. Rays 7, Rangers 3

Goog: One thing that Sportspun didn’t mention is that Joe Maddon vs. Ron Washington is pretty much the biggest managerial mismatch there can be. I’ll say Rays 5, Rangers 3, with Wash doing something stupid but still not being fired.

Sportspun: I was on the fence for this game when I thought, “Wednesday’s Ray would be Jeremy Hellickson, who is not as good as Matt Garza or Alexi Ogando, and we certainly would rather face Cleveland than either of these teams.” I forgot Alex Cobb exists and has had a very good season. I’ll take my chances with the Rangers and hope Danny Salazar comes up big while Matt Garza looks like a headcase one more time.

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