The Texas Rangers ended two separate losing streaks on Wednesday in Game 1 of the ALDS with their 5-1 win over the Rays. They snapped their nine-game playoff losing streak and four-game losing streak to the Rays. Cliff Lee was brilliant in Game 1, pitching seven innings while allowing only one run and striking out 10.
On Thursday, the Rangers turn to C.J. Wilson, who looks to replicate Lee's effectiveness. Wilson went 15-8 for the Rangers this year after transitioning to the starting rotation, logging 204 innings while striking out 170 and posting a 3.35 ERA.
The Rays will counter with "Big Game" James Shields, who will try to keep the Rays from going into an 0-2 hole headed back to Texas. Shields struggled this year for the Rays, going 13-15 with a 1.46 WHIP and 5.18 ERA. Home runs were his Achilles heel - he allowed 34 in 203.1 IP.
Texas' offense connected for two home runs in Game 1. Nelson Cruz and Bengie Molina both hit solo home runs off Rays ace David Price.
Shields has pitched well against Texas this season. In two starts, Shields has gone 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, striking out 10 in 14 innings.
The Rays offense may prove to be a more difficult test for Wilson than it was for Lee. Lee walked only 18 batters in 212.1 innings all season. Wilson issued 93 free passes in 204 innings. The Rays offense is fueled by walks - they led the American League drawing 672 walks in the regular season.
A win in Game 2 would give the Rangers a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series while returning home to Arlington for Games 3 and 4. A win in Game 2 would almost certainly mean that the Rangers would win their first playoff series in franchise history and head to the ALCS.
First pitch for Game 2 is scheduled for 2:37 p.m. EDT with televised coverage on TBS.