The Texas Rangers will look to close out their 2011 American League Championship Series Saturday night when hosting the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers
Detroit won two of its three home games in the series in order to send it back to Texas, but will now be facing elimination Saturday. “You think we should have any pressure? I don’t think so,” commented Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez. “It’s definitely not on our side, I can really tell you that.” This is the 15th time in the history of the ALCS that a series has gone to Game 6, the team holding the 3-2 advantage has won the series 10 times. It’s also important to note that the club’s locker room is incredibly beat up. Detroit is 48-39 on the road this year and 33-25 when facing left-handed starters.
Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer will be making his fourth postseason appearance (third start), coming off a no-decision effort that saw the team drop a 7-3 contest to the Rangers inside this venue on Oct. 10. The right-hander tallied a 7-5 record and 5.23 ERA in 15 road games during the regular season, surrendering 18 home runs in 86 frames. In six career starts (outside of the postseason) versus the Rangers, Scherzer is 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA, issuing 10 walks and compiling 31 strikeouts in 37 frames.
Texas returns home and will play just its second Game 6 in franchise history, but even more important is the advantage that teams have with a 3-2 lead in this situation. Each of the last four postseason series that have reached this stage have been closed out by the team with the lead. “In my opinion, it’s been a tremendous five ballgames,” commented Rangers manager Ron Washington. Offensively, outfielder Nelson Cruz has been carrying the club, hitting five home runs and 11 RBIs in the first five games. The bullpen should benefit from the day off and comes in with a 2.37 ERA and .194 opponents batting average in the postseason. Texas is 76-45 versus right-handed starters.
Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland is set to make his third start (fourth appearance) of the postseason, coming in with a 1-0 record and 4.00 ERA. The left-hander has gone 2-0 with a 4.43 ERA in nine career playoff appearances. Holland benefited greatly from the highest run support average in the Majors, as his 7.64 runs per nine innings was the highest for the club since 1999. He tallied an impressive 8-2 record and 4.69 ERA in 16 home starts during the regular season, allowing nine home runs in 86 1/3 innings.
Bettors will likely back the Rangers due to their 4-0 record in LCS games, while the Tigers are 2-6 in playoff road games.
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