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Pre-Game Rangers-Rays Talk

To start your hype off right, here's a collection of information being posted around the Series of Tubes on the Rays and Rangers.

First off, Adam Morris has his usual Lone  Star Ball A.M. Rangers Stuff post with plenty of DFW links. That way they don't have to be posted twice.

SB Nation sabermetrics blog Beyond the Boxscore used it's projection system to forecast the playoffs, installing the Rangers as the favorites to win the World Series. I also want to note he has the Rangers as "merely" 61% to win the ALDS, way lower than what our preview turned out. I have no issue believing reality might be closer to 61% than 75%, though I do guess the former is a tad low just as I believe the latter is a tad high. I suspect it may be based on the teams' overall performance, rather than specifically the players who will be playing, which underrates a Rangers' squad that missed a lot of injury time. Still, favorites to win the World Series is pretty awesome. They project the playoffs end with the Rangers as world champions more than one out of every five times it's played.

Rob Neyer writes at Baseball Nation that "Moneyball" is alive and well in Tampa.

FanGraphs has a preview of the ALDS, with a nice nugget on a subject that I think might be overlooked:

Even though the Rays are a difficult team to play matchups against, the Rangers have a collection of five bullpen aces that are dominant against either hand…and the Rays lack any big bats on their bench for pinch hit matchups. With these five relievers, the Rangers can theoretically turn a ballgame into a five inning affair.

Baseball Time in Arlington has a couple terrific posts. First, Joey Matschulat dumps a ton of ALDS-related info for you. Prashanth Francis has a fantastic preview of the series, and spends particular time focusing on the differences between the team that plays a post season series and the team that played 162 games. For both teams in this series, that is important to pay attention to. If you are not familiar with Desmond Jennings or Matt Moore, Pras will change that.

The Hardball Times previews both ALDS matchups. Vince Caramela agrees with me that Craig Gentry should be playing against left handed starters.

Washington’s possible decision to go full time with Josh Hamilton in center field and David Murphy in left would seem short-sighted to a team like the Rays, since it negates the defensive value of a player like Craig Gentry, who should be used in center especially when the team is opposing a left-handed starter.

While most of the THT staff has the Rangers winning the ALDS, only one picks them to make the World Series. No one thinks they win.

Now, finish off getting pumped with Christopher Fittz's preview at Lone Star Ball.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.