Holy crap! It’s the playoffs, you guys! The Fightin’ Spreadsheets of Tampa head deep into the heart of Texas to take on the Scrappin’ Washes in the first of two highly watchable ALDS series. Lots of intrigue and mystery as the Rays send rookie Matt Moore, he of the manipulated service time and nine career big league innings to the hill against free agent kingpin C.J. Wilson.

Analysis-shaped Morsels

Lineups are below the jump and, if we’re being honest, they’re a little scary. Craig Gentry gets the nod in left for the Rangers while the Rays hit Sean Rodriquez leadoff against the southpaw.

The Rangers are a fearsome offensive machine at home, boasting baseball’s best home wOBA. Sending C.J. Wilson might give the Rays and extra dose of grief as they typically struggle against ground ball pitchers.

The Rays starting Matt Moore is nothing short of brilliant…unless it doesn’t work out. The Rangers may have a lot of right-handed hitters in their lineup to menace the young lefty but the park itself helps LHB when it comes to home runs. The extra 2%, perhaps?

Pre-determined narratives for the eveningNothing beats the banality of post-season baseball coverage. The games are exciting enough and the stakes so high that (you’d think) they don’t need much window dressing. That won’t stop announcers who spend the season covering the Reds or Blue Jays wax poetic about what really makes these teams tick. Keep your eyes peeled for these tired lines sneaking into game lulls when the game stops giving for a few moments.

  • IT TAKES PITCHING TO WIN IN THE PLAYOFFS AND THESE RAYS/RANGERS HAVE IT IN SPADES
  • IT IS HOT AS BALLS HERE IN TEXAS, THAT HURTS THE RAYS WHO PLAY INDOORS AND LIVE IN IGLOOS
  • EXPERIENCE COUNTS BIG TIME AND, AS THE DEFENDING AL CHAMPS, THE RANGERS KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO SURVIVE A SHORT SERIES
  • ROOKIE MATT MOORE MUST NOT WILT/WILTED/STOOD STRONG AGAINST THE PLAYOFF PRESSURE COOKER
  • SCORING FIRST IS IMPORTANT IN A PLAYOFF GAME, THE TIRED RAYS CAN’T AFFORD TO FALL BEHIND
  • THE RAYS MIGHT BE THE UNDERDOGS BUT THEY HAVE ALL THE MOMENTUM COMING INTO TONIGHT

Repeat until you die.

Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers
S. Rodriguez ss I. Kinsler 2b
B.J. Upton cf E. Andrus ss
E. Longoria 3b J. Hamilton cf
B. Zobrist 2b M. Young 1b
J. Damon dh A. Beltre 3b
K. Shoppach c M. Napoli c
C. Kotchman 1b N. Cruz rf
D. Jennings lf Y. Torrealba dh
M. Joyce rf C. Gentry lf
M. Moore p C.J. WIlson p

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