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Rangers have no answer for the Rays’ stars

Sep 30, 2013, 11:47 PM EDT

Evan Longoria Getty Images

The simple fact is that things lined up better for the Rays than they did for the Rangers in Monday’s one-game playoff.

With no maneuvering necessary, the Rays had their 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, David Price, ready to the take the mound. The Rangers, having used Yu Darvish on Sunday, were forced to turn to rookie Martin Perez or go to Matt Garza on three days’ rest. Perez on regular rest was clearly the better of those two options, and he held his own after a rocky start, but it just wasn’t enough in Tampa Bay’s 5-2 victory.

That this wasn’t the Rangers’ year had long seemed obvious. They struck out on their biggest targets last winter, losing Josh Hamilton and failing to bring in any big names to replace him. They eventually settled on Lance Berkman, but his bad knees caught up to him quickly after a fast start and he was a non-factor down the stretch. Starting pitchers Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis ended up missing the entire season with injuries. Nelson Cruz got handed a 50-game steroid suspension. The Rangers brought in Garza and Alex Rios as reinforcements and managed to battle their way into the play-in game by winning their last seven after a big September swoon. But the better team won tonight.

Led by Price, who pitched his fourth complete game of the season, and Evan Longoria, who went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer to right-center that just kept carrying and carrying, the Rays won relatively easily, if not entirely comfortably. And the game was won by the stars; to play what was essentially a postseason game with 40-man rosters is patently ridiculous, but in the end, the Rays used 13 players, the Rangers 15. The only way the game would have gone differently under Aug, 31 rules is that the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier wouldn’t have come in for defense in the ninth.

The Rangers have another tough winter coming up. Cruz, a free agent, seemed to be welcomed back with open arms by the fanbase in his return Monday, but the front office probably won’t be so generous with its affections. Closer Joe Nathan and catcher A.J. Pierzynski could also exit in free agency. Room must be made in the starting lineup for Jurickson Profar, either by trading or shifting Ian Kinsler. Expect the Rangers to make some sort of splash in free agency, perhaps with Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu. Alternatively, they could dip back into the well that brought them Darvish and aim for fellow Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.

The Rays will now go to Cleveland for another elimination game, this one with Alex Cobb on the mound. Again, they’ll face a rookie starter in Danny Salazar who may well battle some nerves. Cobb, meanwhile, is throwing about as well as any pitcher in the postseason. The Red Sox await the winner on Friday, and while they’ll never admit it, it’s a safe bet they’ll be rooting for Cleveland.

  1. hcf95688 - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    Interesting color of “rally towels”. We haven’t see that many Texans waiving white rags since the Mexicans overran the Alamo.

    • somerangerfan - Oct 1, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      Good sir (or madam, as the username does not indicate gender),

      You clearly have no understanding of Texas history. Had you any understanding, however minimal it is, or had even seen one of the Hollywood recreations of the Battle of the Alamo (blessed be that place forever and ever, amen!), you would realize exactly how errant your statement is.

      No white flags were waved at the Alamo (blessed be that place forever and ever, amen!). In fact, when Santa Anna offered an opportunity to surrender to the Texians (not a misspelling) they responded with a cannon shot. That, good sir, is no white flag.

      In case you care to educate yourself, please follow this link: http://www.history.com/topics/alamo

      And a note about your blog: to barbeque is to cook with indirect heat and smoke. It is not the same as grilling.

  2. thesmedman - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    Stick that in your “self-evaluation mode”, Mr Daniels.

  3. mackfellows - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    wow

    this is unbiased reporting at it’s finest…

    “Again, they’ll face a rookie starter in Danny Salazar who may well battle some nerves. Cobb, meanwhile, is throwing about as well as any pitcher in the postseason. The Red Sox await the winner on Friday, and while they’ll never admit it, it’s a safe bet they’ll be rooting for Cleveland.”

    go back to school blooger and this time pay attention and maybe learn

    • jarathen - Oct 1, 2013 at 7:07 AM

      The Rays are better than the Indians.

    • myopinionisrighterthanyours - Oct 1, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      The purpose of a blog is to give opinions. And who’s to say Pouliot’s opinion isn’t righter than yours, mack.

  4. bigx21 - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    👍 Mackfellows comment. U bloggers will learn that Cleveland will upset Rays, then Red Sox!!

  5. ezwriter69 - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    Hard to imagine worse Karma than starting a two time drug cheat and giving him a standing ovation… for what, exactly, by the way?

  6. grumpyoleman - Oct 1, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    Karma for playing Cruz should have followed the example set by the giants

    • raysfan1 - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:49 AM

      The Giants’ example? You mean the team that had Guillermo Mota, who has been suspended for PED use twice on the playoff roster last year?! That by itself should have shown you the Giants’ leaving Melky Cabrera off their roster was a baseball decision and not a morality decision.

      As for karma, well my own favorite team has players who aren’t exactly the best role models either.

  7. raysfan1 - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    For the “karma” commenters– who will Karma favor between the A’s and the Tigers, both of which have Biogenesis-connected players?

  8. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Did anyone notice that A.J. Pierzynski was wearing bright green fingernail polish last night? Has anyone ever seen another catcher to do so? I’m assuming this was to make it easier for his pitchers to see him flashing signs, and if so, is absolutely brilliant. Of course it would make it easier for opponents to steal signs aswell, but that’s more of a minor concern.

    • zzalapski - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      Russell Martin has also painted his fingernails.

    • raysfan1 - Oct 1, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Yep, and yellow-green is the easiest color to see.

    • cur68 - Oct 1, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      Lots of catchers do it. Strengthens the nails as well as gives a better target. Also, its not always nail polish. They also use a nail sticker that can look like polish.

      http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/several-catchers-wear-special-pink-fingernail-stickers-mother-165823590.html

      Anyhow, Mauer, Martin, Molina etc all have stuff on their nails. Not THAT uncommon. Only a matter of time before maybe even that bust Matt Weiters does it, too.

      • tontoepstein - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:22 PM

        I’ve often wondered what strategic advantage there was by Jeff Garcia painting his toenails.

  9. markofapro - Oct 1, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Give me power at first

  10. APBA Guy - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    It’s understandable that Cleveland fans don’t want to hear that another team is favored to win their elimination game. Their team went 10-0 to finish the year, they’ve got charismatic players, a winning manager, that’s all positive. And in truth, a one-game elimination is no certain thing either way.

    But, if you’ve seen Cobb pitch, and if the Cobb that we’ve been watching actually shows up (he’s still young), it could be-not necessarily will be-a repeat of the Rangers game, with the Rays having too much pitching and just enough offense.

    Of course, Salazar could do his version of Henderson Alvarez and no-hit the Rays: he’s a talented kid and the Rays are prone to no offense. Swish and Santana could each bomb one.

    We don’t know what will happen. But on the whole, as a fan who loves good baseball, I’d give the edge to Cobb and the Rays.

  11. leothelyon - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    G. Soto of Texas was batting .440 for Sept. with 11 hits in 25 at bats, why didn’t he play? He had a HR and double the day before and they put this Cruz in the batting line up who hadn’t played in the last 50 games????????? This likely affected the entire team.

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