ALDS G1: Rangers ride Cliff Lee to 5-1 win over Tampa Bay

I scored this game at home on my iPad, and was chattering a lot on Twitter today during the game. Jamey Newberg did not, so I’m assuming he was doing lawyer stuff at work, otherwise I would have been out Tweeted 20 to 1. :) My summary of the game will mostly be an archive of my own tweets. In chronoligcal order from right before the start of the game until it was over..

  • @Evan_P_Grant the empty seats there are just bloody amazing. Move that team. They don’t deserve them.
  • When did the Orioles hide inside the Rays uniforms? #Rangers (Referring to getting to Cliff Lee early)
  • Stop giving the #Rays batters time at the plate, please! #Rangers #seligaboutpaceofgameagain (Rays batters seemed to be trying to throw Cliff Lee off by calling time excessively in the first)
  • @aandro 4 out of first 5 outs are Ks, though. @aandro Excuse me. 5 out of 6. (in reply to Anthony Andro talking about how many hits the Rays had early on)
  • #Rangers – Both Price and Lee have 43 pitches thrown thru 2 innings.
  • I just clawed from the couch after Nelly’s HR. Off the roof out there! #Rangers #Boomstick
  • Just seven pitches for Cliff Lee in the third. That’s more like it. #Rangers #Pricedidntdothat
  • Retweet of Aandro – The three #Rangers with postseason homers are now Nelson Cruz, Juan Gonzalez and Dean Palmer.
  • The three #Rangers with postseason homers are now Nelson Cruz, Juan Gonzalez and Dean Palmer.
  • That’s the second run that scores on a 3-0 RBI hit. #Rangers #ByBbyePrice
  • Retweet of craigcalcaterra – Price’s “throw it right down the middle” strategy may not be as devious as he assumed.
  • 5-0 over David Price after 5. Rays look like they’ve already lost sitting on the bench. Not a good sign for a comeback. #StepOnTheirThroat
  • BJ Upton, you’re not Derek Jeter. Stop it with the stupid hold your hand up at the ump. You are not getting time. #doofus #Rays #Rangers
  • 17 of 21 first pitch strikes for Cliff Lee. #Rangers
  • Cliff Lee is now the #Rangers record holder for Ks in the playoffs. #AnyoneSurprised?
  • David Price is gone in the 7th after about 105 pitches and a 5-0 deficit. A bit surprised by that, honestly. #Rangers #Rays #w00t
  • More than once the ball/strike indicator on TBS has been wrong. Doesn’t even match the pitchtrax count. Fail. #Tbsfail #Rangers #Rays
  • #Rangers relievers keep Lees shutdown feeling going. Even threw in a strikeout, too. #O’Day #Oliver #CanSmellGame1Win
  • Neftali Feliz takes the hill in the 9th. Non save, but this feels good. #Rangers #Rays
  • This is not the part of a John Wetteland closing performance you want to emulate. #NoMoreHeartAttacksPlease #Rangers #Rays
  • The 9 game post season losing streak going back to 1996 is over. #Rangers beat #Rays 5-1. Feliz looked like Wetteland in 9th for sure.
  • #Rangers had lost something like 10 of 12 at the #Rays park before today.
  • @SixOkay Rangers win Game 1 of the ALDS! P.S. Megan Fox for Wonder Woman!

That last one is an inside joke with someone (as much as an “inside” joke can be inside on a public thing like Twitter). Anyway, it was cool that the Rangers won. Winning Game 1 against a guy we were expected to be shut down by is a huge morale booster. I mean, wow. We’re up 1-0. The last time the Rangers were up 1-0 was October 1, 1996, when they were up 1-0 over the Yankees. That was our last post season win until today.
A few other thoughts. After we went up 3-0, we had scored more runs than all the six playoff games in 1998 & 1999 combined. Granted, that had a lot to do with the Yankees late 90’s dynasty, but to me, that’s a more embarassing stat than the fact we had lost 9 playoff games in a row, and before today only a single playoff game. Two runs in six games over two years is pretty sad. We destroyed that today. Funny that you can talk about an “offensive destruction” while only scoring five runs.
Ten hits, five runs (four earned). Error by Elvis Andrus, but it didn’t affect anything.
Early on the Rays had a beef with Carlos Pena claiming he was hit by a pitch and then ended up striking out. It was a non conclusive call based on replays (to me), and obviously one never knows how an inning might turn after that. But if that was the only thing different, we still would have won the game.
Long balls by Nelson Cruz & Bengie Molina. As stated above in Twitter, they join Juan Gonzalez & Dean Palmer as the only other Rangers with post season home runs (both of those others coming on Oct 1, 1996 off of David Cone). That doubles the lifetime franchise of home run output. Yeesh.
Both starters had rocky first innings – Cliff Lee loading the bases, but he escaped. Both pitchers had over 20+ pitches the first inning. Both escaped, although Cliff Lee found himself after that, retiring about 12 in a row or so at one point.
The biggest observation of mine came from one of my mid game tweets when the Rays were down 5-0. They were shown in the dougout looking sad and depressed (much in the way I like seeing the Cowboys). The point being that it was only the fifth, and realistically, it was only 5 runs. Yeah, it was Cliff Lee, but the fifth inning of Game 1 of the playoffs is not the place to look like you’re about one out away from being eliminated. It was at that point I didn’t think they were coming back. Even when Feliz walked two to start the ninth, harnassing his inner John Wetteland. Had he been wearing #35 on his back, it would have been TOO scary for comfort.
Tomorrow afternoon is Game 2. CJ Wilson against James Shields. A lot was made after Lee came out about how CJ Wilson essentially idolizes Cliff Lee, and will use his info from Game 1 in Game 2. Hope it works. I like our pitching staff, but I’m nowhere near as confident about a win after Cliff Lee. Prove me wrong CJ. Prove me wrong.