Funny that the game was delayed by about 90 seconds because Matt Moore was late in walking to the dugout from the bullpen and made CJ Wilson wait. But it wasn’t him would be playing mind games with CJ Wilson: it was his battery-mate Kelly Shoppach.
America got a view of the pitcher with the fewest big league starts before starting a Game 1 in Matt Moore who showed off his fastball at 95-98, changeup at 85-88 and curveball at 80-84. Unfair, right? The Rangers thought so, going 7 IP, allowing 2 H (both to Josh Hamilton), 2 BB, and getting 6 K’s. This would also be only the 3rd time this season they’ve been shutout at home.
CJ Wilson was using his fastball at 90-93, cutter at 87-88, changeup at 83-85, slider at 80-something, curveball at 76-79. Throw in another pitch while you’re at it, you lazy bum! However, all his pitches and all the shadows that were on the field though couldn’t save him from the Tampa offense that kept its offensive onslaught going from that 7-0 deficit they “wildly” overcame.
In the top of the 2nd, Ben Zoborist got hit on his right elbow/funny bone area that helped set up Johnny Damon’s 3-1 fastball blast to RF to get the first runs of the postseason in. It was very reminiscent of the last ALDS when Michael Young had that check swing debate then HR to CF in Tampa. Damon looked like he went, and anyone will tell you the dynamics of a 3-1 count vs. a 2-2 count are so very different. Matt Joyce would add a 2-out RBI single past two diving infielders into RF to pad their early lead to 3.
The top of the 3rd got Rangers fans booing as CJ Wilson threw a fastball in the up and outer edge over the plate in the zone and Kelly Shoppach punished that ball to the grass area for a 3-run shot that made it 6-0 and looked to put the ball out of reach. An Evan Longoria single up the middle and a bunt single on the 3B side by Ben Zoborist perfectly put down set up the 1st and 2nd situation for Damon (who would K), then Shoppach who ate that fastball up.
The Rangers had a hard time threatening the rook, getting Josh Hamilton to 2nd on a leadoff double in the 4th, but he eventually got tagged out on a bad baserunning decision on a ball in play to the SS.
The top of the 5th was going ever so smoothly for CJ Wilson, getting Longo and Zoborist then Damon got on with an E5 by Beltre on a high throw to Michael Young that made him leave the bag. What seemed like 10 minutes later, Shoppach had worked the count full and after pulling one way deep and way foul, he connected on another pitch up and there was no doubt about it.
The game fell into a lull with not much happening until the top of the 9th when Upton walked, Longoria singled, a wild pitch by Matt Harrison advanced both runners and with 2 outs the fans exited the stadium out of frustration so the Rays tacked on another run just to rub it in.
Game 2 will matchup James Shields (16-12, 2.82 ERA, 11 CGs, 249.1 IP) from the Rays and Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95 ERA, 4 CGs, 198.0 IP) of the Rangers as the Rays try to go back home up 2-0. Will the visiting team win every game of this series AGAIN??