The Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers will open up their best-of-seven American League Championship Series Saturday night inside Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers
Detroit took its best-of-five game ALDS series 3-2 over the New York Yankees and advanced to its first ALCS since the 2006 campaign. The Tigers posted a 3-2 win over the Yankees on Thursday night and the city is squarely behind them. “We’re pulling for one another,” commented Tigers manager Jim Leyland. “Good atmosphere for the city. Makes people forget about their troubles with good times with sports.” These two teams met nine times during the regular season, with Detroit coming out on top in six games. Over the course of the 2011 campaign, the team posted an even 10-10 record following a day off, while going 28-37 in the situation the last two-plus seasons.
Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander finished the regular season with a 24-5 record and 2.40 ERA and came away with a 5-4 home win over the Yankees on Monday night. He allowed four runs and six hits over eight frames in that contest, just a few days after having his Game 1 start shortened due to rain. Verlander has enjoyed great success pitching in tonight’s venue, posting a 3-0 record and 1.29 ERA in three career starts. Overall, the right-hander is 6-2 with a 2.31 ERA in nine starts versus the Rangers.
Texas clinched its ALDS with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday inside Tropicana Field, which secured the franchise’s third postseason series victory. “You can forget the season series, the fact that we won that,” commented Leyland about the subject of facing the Rangers. “We may have missed a couple of star players. Certainly that had something to do with it.” Third baseman Adrian Beltre was a big part of the team’s success in moving on, hitting just the seventh three-homer game by a player in postseason history. In facing Detroit, the Rangers will be facing the only AL Central team in which it posted a sub-.500 record against this year. Texas is 73-43 versus right-handed starters.
Rangers starting pitcher C.J. Wilson will look to bounce back from an awful start in Game 1 of the ALDS, as he was handed a 9-0 home loss by the Tampa Bay Rays, giving up eight runs (six earned) and seven hits over five innings. The left-hander finished the regular season with a 16-7 record and 2.94 ERA. He was tremendous at home during the year, posting an 8-2 mark and 3.69 ERA, allowing opponents to hit just .246 against him. Wilson has made seven career regular-season appearances (one start) versus the Tigers, going 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA.
Bettors will likely back the Tigers due to their 13-3 record in Verlander’s last 16 road starts, while the Rangers are 2-6 in Wilson’s last eight starts on seven or more days of rest.
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