The Texas Rangers had one of the best records in the MLB, but fell off in the second half of the season. The one major change for the team was losing Nelson Cruz to a 50-game suspension in the giant steroid suspensions this season. According to ESPN on Sept. 29, Cruz has now served his suspension and will be back in the lineup for the AL tiebreaker game.
This might seem controversial, but one of the reasons that Cruz agreed to the quick suspension without a fight was so he would be available in the postseason if needed. It was never for certain whether he would be activated until today.
After Texas beat the Los Angeles Angels, 6-2, on Sunday, they made the public announcement that Cruz would return for this game. The Tampa Bay Rays will send out David Price to pitch and Cruz will be in the lineup.
The big question is whether or not Cruz will be in baseball shape for the game or if the rust of missing 50 games will hinder his ability to help Texas in this must-win contest. The Rangers had to win seven straight games to end the season to just make it into the tiebreaker game.
Martin Perez is the starting pitcher for Texas in this important game, probably the biggest moment for the young star. Texas had to use Yu Darvish on Sunday just to make it to this game.
David Price is 1-4 with a 5.98 ERA in eight regular-season starts against Texas and is 0-3 with a 4.66 ERA in three postseason starts. He just hasn't been able to overcome the Rangers, and now with Nelson Cruz back, it just got a little bit tougher. Cruz is a career .278 hitter in the postseason, with 14 home runs and 27 RBIs in 34 games.
Texas and Tampa Bay play on Monday night in Arlington.