Oct 6, 2010, 4:30 PM EDT
Photo courtesy Tampa Bay Rays
Tropicana Field hosts the first game of this year's postseason.
What better way to get the playoffs underway than with a classic pitching matchup like this: Cliff Lee vs. David Price? Two of the best lefties in the game square off this afternoon at Tropicana Field, with Lee hoping to duplicate his dominant postseason run from last year with the Phillies (4-0, 1.56 ERA) and raise his asking price in free agency in the process, and Price hoping to pick up right where he left off at the end of a regular season in which he went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA.
This game probably means more to the Rangers, who can ill afford to lose any of Lee's starts, than the Rays, who still have James Shields and Matt Garza waiting in the wings. Texas hasn't had a whole lot of success against Price before. Nelson Cruz (2-for-4, homer) has hit the lefty during their few encounters, but Vladimir Guerrero (2-for-7), Josh Hamilton (1-for-6) and Jorge Cantu (0-for-6, three strikeouts) have struggled against him.
Lee has been less-successful against Texas' hitters over the years. B.J. Upton (7-for-21, three doubles) and Carlos Pena (three homers in 29 at-bats) have good track records against him. Only Evan Longoria (3-for-18) has particularly poor numbers among Tampa Bay regulars against Lee.
I'm not sure how much of this game I'm going to be able to watch, because Stan Kasten is holding his final press conference as Nats president at 3 p.m. at Nationals Park. But if I do, I'll be sure to post some thoughts. Either way, please feel free to discuss the game with each other in the comments section…
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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