Keys to the Game: Rays Vs. Rangers, ALDS Game 1, September 30, 2011

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The 2011 postseason will kickoff with a rematch of last year’s ALDS when the Tampa Bay Rays visit Arlington to face the AL West Champion, Texas Rangers. While the Rays were smoking hot to finish the season, winning five games in a row to complete the largest regular season comeback in Major League history, the Rangers were even hotter winning 10 of their last 11 contests. The Rangers will start their de facto ace, C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA) tonight. Wilson has had great success against the Rays this season going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a miniscule 0.83 WHIP in three starts. Track Wilson’s ERA this season. Click for much further insight on Wilson’s pitching.

Rays Manager, Joe Madden, has shocked the baseball world by starting Rookie left-hander, Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89 ERA), in Game One. Moore has only pitched 9 and 1/3 big league innings but pitched five scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts against the Yankees in his last start.

The Rangers have a powerful offense, finishing third in the league in with 855 Runs Scored and second by knocking in 210 Home Runs. Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre lead Texas with 32 Home Runs and have scored a combined 203 Runs and batted in 182 Runs. Amazingly, the Rangers have 467 more total bases than they Rays! Rays hero Evan Longoria, who hit the Wild Card clinching extra innings walk off Home Run Wednesday evening, has 31 Home Runs and 99 RBIs this season. Compare the Rangers’ and Rays’ starting lineups.

RBIs (Blue), Runs Scored (Orange) & Total Bases (Green)

The Rangers won the regular season series 5-4, so don’t be surprised if this series goes the five game distance.

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