As soon as I start a baseball blog, the Angels miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006. I hope you like your post-season previews filled with animosity and tears.
The post-season officially kicks off at 12:37 on Wednesday. That's right, I live in the Central Time Zone, adjust your clocks accordingly. The Rangers will visit Tampa Bay and deal with the dozens of fans who will cross that godforsaken bridge and enjoy that craptastic stadium. But hey, at least they altered the rules about a ball hitting the catwalk at the Trop to essentially being a do-over. Seriously, get a new stadium.
My Completely Biased Opinion.
I'll be rooting for the Rays in this series for all of the apparent reasons. I'm not afraid to admit them. The Rangers toppled the Angels from atop the AL West division and made their way onto my enemies list which also include Nazis and PETA. And secondly, Joe Maddon was the bench coach for the Angels once upon a time and he makes some pretty cool shoes. I'm pretty sure one of those is true. I do deduct a few points from the Rays for their epic draft FAIL of passing on blog favorite Buster Posey. The Rangers get a bonus point for the ballpark in Arlington resurrecting the career of Vladimir Guerrero.
Just Some of the Facts M'am.
Cliff Lee brings his 3.18/2.58/3.23 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) line to the Trop to battle David Price and Evan Longoria. Price had his breakout year as an ace posting a 2.72/3.42/3.99 line and the 19 wins will probably garner more Cy Young love than he deserves. I'll have Felix Hernandez, Lee, Francisco Liriano and probably Jered Weaver over Price on my imaginary ballot once I post it. Longoria put together another MVP caliber season hitting .294/.372/.507 while playing Gold Glove defense at third (11.0 UZR). Of course, he'll finish somewhere behind Josh Hamilton and his .359/.411/.633 line in the MVP voting.
I think the Rays are the better team with more pitching. The home field advantage is less of an advantage for the Rays as it is a disadvantage for the Rangers. Did you follow that? The Rangers are 39-42 away from their bandbox park while the Rays are good whether they're at home (49-32) or not (47-32). I could give you a whole lot more splits analysis but I trust you can work Baseball-Reference on your own at this point. Rays in 4.