Sep 30, 2011, 8:30 PM EDT
US Presswire photo
Michael Young and Mike Napoli lead the Rangers into the playoffs.
After the wildest final day of the regular season baseball has ever experienced, the postseason begins tonight. And it's only fitting one of the first teams on the field is the one that pulled off the most dramatic comeback to get here. The Tampa Bay Rays did the unthinkable Wednesday night, storming back from a 7-0 deficit to tie the New York Yankees with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, then winning in the bottom of the 12th on Evan Longoria's walk-off homer.
The Rays arrived in Texas flying high, but they can't live in the past. They're facing a daunting challenge in the defending AL champs, who knocked them out in the Division Series last fall. Rangers manager Ron Washington has his rotation lined up exactly how he wants it, with lefty C.J. Wilson on the mound for Game 1 tonight. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, meanwhile, is taking a bold risk: Rookie Matt Moore, the organization's top prospect, will make only his second career start tonight.
How will this all play out? Scroll down for my series prediction…
AL DIVISION SERIES – GAME 1
TAMPA BAY RAYS at TEXAS RANGERS
Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Gametime: 5:07 p.m.
Radio: WSPZ (570 AM), XM 181
Weather: Sunny, 84 degrees, Wind 12 mph LF to RF
SS Sean Rodriguez
CF B.J. Upton
3B Evan Longoria
2B Ben Zobrist
NL EAST STANDINGS
Through Sunday's games
NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's games
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- State of the Nats: Final week before playoffs brings tough decisions
- Braves fire GM Frank Wren after missing playoff
- Report: Braves likely to make 'significant' changes this winter
- LaRoche: Nats unlikely to bring me back in '15
- PHOTO: Nats get hero's welcome at Dulles on Sunday night
- As October looms, Strasburg and Nats are peaking
- Strasburg solves struggles in Miami, Nats win 2-1
- Barrett's role expanding with September surge
- Strasburg starts, but several regulars sit today
- As Nats hold breath, Zimmerman passes test