Thursday newsletter time: Rangers leave Tampa Bay still perfect at Tropicana Field
(AP photo/John Raoux)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Baseball is full of the weird, the wild and the hard-to-believe, and the Rangers are in the midst of an all-timer.
They have never lost a postseason game at Tropicana Field
They ran their record to 7-0 in Rays home games with a 7-1 victory Wednesday.
These Rays weren’t pushovers, with 99 victories and the best home record in the American League. None of the other two Tampa Bay teams, in 2010 and 2011, were pushovers either.
Not many from the Rangers’ World Series runs are still around the club, though pitching coach Mike Maddux and a few members of the front office are.
Jordan Montgomery’s seven scoreless innings Tuesday took the holdovers back to Cliff Lee here in 2010, when he tossed complete games in Game 1 and 5.
“It brings back memories,” Maddux said.
The Rangers advanced to the best-of-5 division series and will face Baltimore, which won 101 games in the regular season. Game 1 is scheduled for 12:03 p.m. Saturday at Camden Yards.
The only time the Rangers faced the Orioles in the postseason was in 2012, two days after being overtaken by the A’s for the AL West title. The Orioles beat rookie Yu Darvish at Globe Life Park and advanced with a 5-1 victory.
A couple other oddities from the Rays series:
Evan Carter, 21, became the youngest player in club history to hit a postseason home run, edging Rougned Odor by 211 days, and the 11th youngest in MLB history. He’s the third-youngest U.S.-born player to homer in the playoffs, behind Bryce Harper and Mickey Mantle.
Carter reached in his first six postseason playoff appearances and has two doubles and the homer. He’s batting .750 with an .875 on-base percentage.
The Rangers allowed only one run in their two-game sweep, and it didn’t come until the Rays’ 16th turn at-bat. The key to the Rangers’ success was another one — one walk.
That came with two outs in the ninth inning Tuesday with Jose Leclerc protecting a 4-0 lead.
“Look, our bats just didn’t come to life,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “They pitched really, really well.”
Montgomery and Eovaldi combined for a 0.66 ERA, and the Rangers used only three relievers. Leclerc was the only one who pitched in both games.
The Rangers could go with right-hander Dane Dunning to open the ALDS, and Montgomery would be on normal rest Sunday for Game 2. Eovaldi could start Game 3 at Globe Life Field, where the Orioles won twice in the second series of the season.
The Rangers returned the favor in May by taking 2 of 3 on the road.
Hotel rooms this weekend in Baltimore are scarce and outlandishly priced, so Rangers Today will be returning to Texas and saving its financial bullets for later in the postseason. Coincidentally, Rangers Today is seeking advertising partners. Respond to this email if interested. Also, continue to subscribe to the website and get full access for only $5.99 a month or $60 a year. We’ve been busy. Here’s our latest in case you missed it.
Game 2 recap: Sweepage
Game 1 recap: Montgomery shines
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Rangers to the Rays the past two days. Enjoy.
Being the youngest of the family.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/5py0Fyp53H
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Jeff Wilson, email@example.com