Red Sox, Cardinals top seeds for MLB's second season
By Larry Fine
(Reuters) - The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are top seeds in Major League Baseball's playoffs but they take a back seat on Monday as the postseason line-up will be completed with a Texas-Tampa Bay tiebreaker game.
The Rangers and Rays finished the regular season with 91-71 records, thus forcing a one-game tiebreaker to determine which club travels to Cleveland to play the Indians in a do-or-die, American League wild card showdown on Wednesday.
Reigning Cy Young winner David Price will take the mound for the visiting Rays, while Texas counters with rookie left-hander Martin Perez, backed by the return of slugging outfielder Nelson Cruz, fresh off a 50-game suspension.
"I'm sorry for my mistake, but I'm ready to move on," said Cruz, who belted 27 home runs in 108 games before being banned following MLB's probe into the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic accused of distributing performance enhancing drugs.
Price, who battled injuries on the way to a 9-8 record this season, has revenge in mind against Texas. The hard-throwing left-hander has a 1-7 career mark versus them and lost all three of his career postseason starts against the Rangers.
"This is the moment I want to be in," Price said. "I want to be able to relish this moment and go out there and have fun."
The survivor of the American League wild card drama will win a trip to Boston to take on the AL East champion Red Sox (97-65) in a best-of-five Division Series starting on Friday.
St. Louis (97-65) already knows it will encounter a familiar rival in their Division Series beginning on Thursday, since the NL wild card duel will be between fellow NL Central residents the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds, who play on Tuesday. Continued...