I am not going to beat around the bush, I see the Texas Rangers taking this series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Despite the Rays having the best home record in the American League (tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers) this season at 53-28, the Rangers are going to go into St. Pete and take care of business. Now will the series be over in two games, no way. Why would we think that this Rangers club would let us off the rollercoaster that easily?
After taking game one of the series, the Rangers will drop game two, setting up a win or go home for Thursday. The offense will shine, and Texas will take the deciding game by a score of 8 to 3. Corey Seager will be the series MVP against Tampa Bay, just like he was in 2020 against them in the World Series that was held in Arlington.
This Rangers team is heading into the playoffs with a chip on their shoulder and wants to prove that they belong. They will parlay the bad taste in their mouth from dropping game 162, and thus the AL West, into a series victory over the slightly favored Rays.
Prediction: Texas in 3
I guess it wouldn't be a postseason series for Texas if they were not taking on Tampa Bay, Toronto, or New York as Texas has faced each of those teams in two or more series over the years. This time it is Tampa that Texas will be taking on. They will be renewing their early 2010's rivalry. Those last playoff series were dominated by such players as Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, and David Price. This series the names to know will be Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Randy Arozarena, and Tyler Glasnow.
Tampa was the better team in the regular season, but both teams have bullpen issues. If Texas is going to win they are going to need to score runs early and establish leads and then hope the bullpen can close it out. I think the MVP for the Rangers in this series will be Corey Seager. I believe he will come through with a multiple hits in both games and help carry this team to the series win.
My prediction is I believe Texas will win this series in two games. Texas has answered the bell against every good team they have played since the middle of September. They swept Toronto at the Skydome. They swept Seattle in Arlington. They won series against the Red Sox and Angels that helped get them to this point. They did not fare as well against Seattle to close the season, but overall they played very well down the stretch.
Texas will score runs in the early innings, take the crowd out of the game, and then use a combination of former starters and power right-handed arms to close out both games. It will be tense, it will be nerve wracking, and in the end Texas will win their first playoff series since beating Detroit in the 2011 American League Championship Series.