Game One, 10/8, 8:05 PM EST: DET – Justin Verlander vs. TEX – C.J. Wilson
Game Two, 10/9, 7:45 PM EST: DET – Max Scherzer vs. TEX – Derek Holland
Game Three, 10/11, 8:05 PM EST: TEX – Colby Lewis vs. DET – Doug Fister
Game Four, 10/12, 4:19 PM EST: TEX – Matt Harrison vs. DET – Rick Porcello
Game Five, 10/13, 4:19 PM EST: TEX – C.J. Wilson vs. DET – Justin Verlander
Game Six, 10/15, 8:05 PM EST: DET – Max Scherzer vs. TEX – Derek Holland
Game Seven, 10/16, 8:05 PM EST: DET – Doug Fister vs. TEX – Colby Lewis
The Outlook – Rangers: Texas had a few extra days of rest which can mean a couple of things: 1) that timing could be off, and 2) that they are all healthy, especially Mike Napoli, who was trucked by Sean Rodriguez in game four of the ALDS versus the Rays. The Rangers have their rotation set up perfectly, but the Tigers do, too. The outburst of offense by Adrian Beltre in game four provided some “is he a Hall of Famer” discussions, but they need to see that continue in this series, especially since Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Elvis Andrus, Michael Young, Mitch Moreland, and Nelson Cruz are a combined 14 for 85 (.165). Beltre’s three homers in game four gave him four total hits in the series, so he made them count. The Rangers need that prolific offense to return with Verlander and Fister on the mound early in the series, though.
The Outlook – Tigers: If having Verlander in game one is exciting for Tiger fans, just think how exciting it is that they could possibly see him in game four and game seven, as well. If having the eventual AL Cy Young award winner and the AL pitching Triple Crown winner on the mound for three games in a seven game series isn’t the most important factor in this series, I don’t know what is. The Tigers will hope that Magglio Ordonez and Don Kelly aren’t their offensive stars in this series. Alex Avila, Austin Jackson, Ramon Santiago, and Miguel Cabrera combined to go 8 for 61 (.131), Avila was especially bad, going 1 for 16 (.063).
The Prediction: Texas has home-field advantage and they were 52-29 at home this year (.642). That doesn’t change the fact that Justin Verlander is 6-2 with a 2.31 ERA over 9 career starts against the Rangers. The upper hand goes to Detroit if Verlander goes three times. If they keep Porcello in game four, the series will go seven and Fister versus Lewis in Arlington would be great for the Rangers. Why? Because Colby Lewis is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA over five career postseason starts. This series is going to go seven and Leyland is conservative, so the Rangers will win with Colby Lewis in game seven.