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ALDS Game 4: Rays at Rangers

Oct 10, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT

Photo courtesy Texas Rangers
The Rays try to keep their season going today at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

There may have not been a more mysterious team in baseball this season than the Tampa Bay Rays, who wound up with the American League's best record but at times looked as weak as any club in the majors. Such is life when you rely on an all-or-nothing lineup that features plenty of pop but also plenty of strikeouts and plenty of low batting averages. So I guess we shouldn't be surprised that Tampa Bay's offense was rendered helpless in Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS, only to spring back to life yesterday in Game 3. The question now is which Rays lineup will show up today for Game 4.

This pivotal game features a matchup of both teams' No. 4 starters: Tampa Bay's Wade Davis and Texas' Tommy Hunter. For all the attention lavished upon aces and No. 2's, these series often come down to which club is better at the back end of the bullpen. If you were wondering, the Rangers didn't give any real consideration to bringing back ace Cliff Lee on short rest. He's never done it before in his career, so manager Ron Washington didn't want to try now. However, Game 2 starter C.J. Wilson is available out of the bullpen if needed.

The Rangers would love to wrap this thing up today and avoid a trip back to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a do-or-die Game 5. There are some demons to overcome, though. The Texas franchise (which of course began as the expansion Washington Senators) has never won a postseason series. It's the only franchise in the majors that can claim that. So history is on the line today in Arlington, Texas…

AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES — GAME 4
TAMPA BAY RAYS at TEXAS RANGERS
Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Gametime: 1:07 p.m.
TV: TBS Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Sunny, 83 degrees

RAYS
C John Jaso
2B Ben Zobrist
LF Carl Crawford
3B Evan Longoria

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  1. JaneB - Oct 10, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    My naive but genuine question: does winning this series impact Crawford's potential to end up on a team which still a few years away from play-off contention (like the Nats)? Or is it not at all a factor. I know many people here…or at least a few vocal people…would like Crawford for our team. Just curious.Also, I know the Expos went to the playoffs, and that there are Expos/now Nats fans here, so I don't want to be insulting…but I don't think of our franchise as having been to the postseason, let alone winning anything there, especially at this point time.

  2. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 10, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    JaneB: I don't think the outcome of this series really affects where Crawford ends up signing as a free agent. I suppose the better (and the longer) he plays, the more his stock will rise. But trust me, even if the Rays are eliminated today, this guy is going to get big-time interest from big-time suitors this winter.And while I understand your sentiment about not accepting the Expos' history as Nats history, technically speaking, it's the same franchise. And as far as MLB is concerned, this franchise has been to the postseason once and won one series (1981).

  3. Doc - Oct 10, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    Go Les Expos, now Les Nats!

  4. natsfan1a - Oct 11, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    Not to horn in on your line, but I liked "claw" their way back. :-)I was thinking Gibson on the Longoria dinger.

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