During the course of the 2010 MLB Playoffs, I, Bryan Holt, will be writing my thoughts about each game in which my Tampa Bay Rays participate. Today, we do a little groundwork for the ALDS.
I just bought tickets to Game 1 of the 2010 ALDS between the Rays and the Texas Rangers, and I’m probably more excited than I have any right to be. I’m not sure if this is a fan-ish move or an idiotic one, but in the words of Forrest Gump, I think maybe it’s both.
There will be a solid amount of times this year in which I drive from Gainesville to Tampa and back to Gainesville in a roughly 24-hour period for Buccaneer games. Why not do the same for a team that might actually be making something of itself?
The big story angle around Tampa right now regarding this series is the lack of respect that it is getting.
For the second time in as many playoff appearances, the Rays will be playing their ALDS home games on weekday afternoons. Everyone in the area seemed to be all bent out of shape about this.
BUT we’re the AL East champions. BUT we’re the No. 1 seed in the American League. BUT Evan Longoria is totally marketable and MLB even made that one commercial that’s just about how awesome he is. SCREW YOU, MLB. SCREW YOU, TBS.
TBS is in the business of A) making money and B) televising the ALDS. Guess which one is more important.
They have every right in the world to give the Yankees and Twins series the primetime spots because, well, more people are going to care about that series. And I’m pretty sure having to start a playoff game that features David Price and Cliff Lee at 1:30 P.M. can only make Joe Maddon’s “Us Against the World” pep talks more effective.
So skip work, Tampa Bay. Worst case scenario you get fired and then you don’t have to skip work for Thursday’s game!
The Rays will have to turn the tides a bit if they plan on making their stay in the playoffs (and the existence of this very post series) at all lengthy.
When you look at all the concerns that they have, it’s almost puzzling that the Rays have made it as far as they have.
- Starting Pitching:Since August, every Rays starting pitcher not named Price has been inconsistent at best and terrible at worst. Rookie Wade Davis was able to bump Jeff Niemann out of the postseason rotation by being far more productive down the stretch.
- Evan Longoria: What started as a precautionary “he might sit out a few days” quad injury has now turned into 13 days of no baseball for Longo heading into Game 1. Watching Dan Johnson attempt to play third in his absence was painful and the Rays’ success against Texas will be heavily weighted upon whether or not Longoria looks rusty.
- The Lineup: Yes, Longoria’s injury and some late-season player rest had something to do with it, but the Rays’ lineup looked pitiful at times in September. On paper, they look like a lower-tier team, and in reality, they are very streaky. In 2008, they were beyond hot until they faded in the World Series. Let’s hope that’s not the case here.
All that aside, the Rays have played Texas well and have not lost to Cliff Lee yet this season. I think they take this series in four. But I might be slightly biased.
I’m off to Tampa. Enjoy one of the greatest sports times of the year.