Before you go to bed (or if you're just getting up), here's a few more links to get you prepped for the ALDS.
This was the No. 1 Billboard single on the date of the last Texas Rangers playoff game.
"It's been a good ride so far and, yeah, I could see myself being here in the future. Hopefully, we do some damage here in the postseason, win the World Series, and that will make things a lot easier for me." Those are the actual words of Cliff Lee. Winning the World Series just got a little more important.
- David Murphy is reportedly "good to go" for the ALDS. He will not be starting the games in Tampa, but that makes sense, Jeff Francouer is a good platoon partner for Murphy even if Murph is healthy. I assume skipping game two would be cautionary, though. This isn't a huge upgrade if he plays, as the defensive advantage of Borbon likely offsets quite a bit of the offensive disadvantage in a low-scoring situation, but it is huge from a depth standpoint. And it would be nice if he played, too.
FanGraphs has a preview of game one. Not much going on you don't already know, but I hadn't realized Cliff Lee's gone 25/2 K/BB against the Rays this season, with no home runs, in 23.2 innings. Despite the 0-3 record and the 4.56 ERA, that's actually really good. But, while I do remember his start in Tampa being victimized by flukey hits and Joaquin Arias defense, I didn't realize he did that well. That, I believe, comes out to a 1.19 FIP. So. . . yeah.
- DRays Bay looks at Ben Zobrist's loss of offensive productivity post injury, and speculates he has not been 100%. From our perspective, that can be seen as encouraging, that one of the best Rays players may be a mitigated factor. From their perspective, that can be seen as encouraging, that one of their best players hasn't been playing his best for a while. As pointed out, B.J. Upton had a similar situation in 2008 and then went crazy in October. Let's hope that's not the case here.
At Baseball Time in Arlington, Joey Matschulat takes on the importance of "who's hot going in" at playoff time. Pro tip: it's not very important. However, there is some evidence that pitchers who have been hot can be expected to continue a little bit longer. That bodes well for holding on to ninth inning leads. It also bodes well for game two, where recently-off James Shields will be pitching.
- FanGraphs scouts the ALDS game one starters. We've already seen some pretty good scouting on Price and Lee already, but here's the short version if you like.
- DRays Bay looks at whether or not the Rangers can slow down the Rays' running game. It's an interesting break down, though I would bet Nellie Cruz's arm is getting underrated statistically.
- Beyond the Boxscore also talks about Ben Zobrist's inability to reproduce 2009's power hitting.
- Tommy Rancel explains why James Shields was the right choice for the Rays in game two.
- And in what has to be the most incredible story of the ALDS, a woman called in to Tampa radio accusing the Rays of starting James Shields only because he's a Jew. Despite the fact that he's not Jewish. Deadspin has the official Jewish response. It should be read.
The No. 1 box office film the last time the Rangers were in the playoffs.