This week I will give my predictions on how the ALDS will go for the Rangers in all of their 3 possible match-ups, the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays. My Rangers rotation is just my prediction of what it will be. CJ Wilson is locked into the #1 spot, but after that, numbers 2-4 are up in the air. I decided to go with Harrison at #2, Colby at #3, and Holland at #4. I chose that order because Harrison has the best ERA of the three and has been pitching well of late. Even though he has struggled this year, I still put Colby at #3 just because he was so good in the playoffs last year.
Rangers Playoff Match-Ups:
Rangers vs. Yankees
Game 1: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. CC Sabathia, NYY in New York
RANGERS WIN – CC Sabathia is a very good pitcher, but usually struggles against the Rangers, allowing 13 runs in 19.1 innings against the Rangers this season. In the ALCS last year against the Rangers, CC allowed 7 runs on 17 hits in 10 innings. Meanwhile, in CJ’s only start against the Yankees this year, he allowed only 2 runs and struck out 10 in 8 innings of work.
Game 2: Matt Harrison, TEX vs. Ivan Nova, NYY in New York
YANKEES WIN – I don’t think the Yankees will leave New York down 2 games to nothing. Harrison has had a good year, but so has Ivan Nova. Harrison has a slightly better ERA, but I think the Yankees’ home-field advantage, and their determination after losing Game 1, will just be too much and will help them win in a close one.
Game 3: Colby Lewis, TEX vs. AJ Burnett, NYY in Arlington
RANGERS WIN – While Colby hasn’t pitched very well this year, with a 4.45 ERA, AJ Burnett has been worse, with a 5.28 ERA. The Rangers have all the edges in this game, a better starting pitcher, a better bullpen, home-field advantage, and at worst an even line-up. Also, Colby pitched great last year in the playoffs, going 3-0, with a 1.71 ERA, including 2 wins and a 1.98 ERA against the Yankees.
Game 4: Derek Holland, TEX vs. Freddy Garcia, NYY in Arlington
RANGERS WIN – Freddy Garcia has had a very good year overall for the Yankees, but it the month of September, he has a 7.36 ERA and has a 5.40 ERA in 4 career divisional series starts. Meanwhile, Derek has an ERA of 3.92, including a 1.63 September ERA and didn’t allow a run in 5.2 innings against the Yankees last year in the playoffs. I don’t think this series goes back to New York.
RANGERS WIN 3-1
Rangers vs. Red Sox
Game 1: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. Josh Beckett, BOS in Arlington
RANGERS WIN: Both CJ and Josh have had great years this year, both of them have ERA’s under 3.00, but the difference between the two is that Beckett has a 4.24 September ERA while CJ has a September ERA of 1.27 and has been unhittable. Also, CJ has allowed only 2 earned runs in 12.1 innings against Boston this year, and Boston is falling apart, with a 5-18 record in September.
Game 2: Matt Harrison, TEX vs. Jon Lester, BOS in Arlington
RANGERS WIN: Once again, this is a matchup of two pitchers that have similar numbers on the year, with Lester at a 3.49 ERA and Harrison at a 3.46 ERA. However, once again, they have pitched very differently of late, with Lester at a September ERA of 5.96 and Harrison’s September ERA at 2.92. Lester has just been bombed of late, and all reports say that he just doesn’t have the stuff he did at the beginning of the year.
Game 3: Colby Lewis, TEX vs. John Lackey, BOS in Boston
RANGERS WIN: Colby really hasn’t pitched well this year, with a 4.45 ERA in 194 innings, but he is on a team that is both hitting and playing well right now. The same thing can’t be said for John Lackey, who really needs help, as his season ERA is 6.49, including a 10.70 September ERA. The Red Sox are in bad shape for any game that Lackey starts in.
RANGERS WIN 3-0
Rangers vs. Rays
Game 1: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. James Shields, TB in Arlington
RANGERS WIN: This one might just be 0-0 going into extra innings. Both pitchers have ERAs under 3.00, and have pitched fantastic in September. Also, they have both pitched well against the teams they are facing, as CJ has allowed 5 runs in 21.2 innings against the Rays this year, while Shields has allowed just 1 run in 17 innings against the Rangers this year. In the end, I think this match-up is just so even that I will give it to the home team.
Game 2: Matt Harrison, TEX vs. David Price, TB in Arlington
RAYS WIN: Matt Harrison has had a good year so far, and has pitched well of late, and his numbers might actually be close to David Price’s on the year, but he just isn’t a match for Price. David has pitched well against the Rangers this year, going 15 innings and allowing 5 runs, and has lots of playoff experience.
Game 3: Colby Lewis, TEX vs. Jeremy Hellickson, TB in St. Petersburg
RAYS WIN: Despite pitching lights-out in the playoffs last year, Lewis has struggled so far this year, and the 2011 Lewis is what I think we will see in this year’s playoffs, not the 2010 playoff Colby. Meanwhile, Hellickson has had an amazing year, with a 2.90 ERA, including a 2.28 September ERA and a 2.48 August ERA, so he has been almost unhittable for a couple of months now.
Game 4: Derek Holland, TEX vs. Wade Davis, TB in St. Petersburg
RANGERS WIN: Derek has been lights-out so far in September and he tends to pitch well in big games. He has lowered his ERA down under 4.00 on the year, and I think he would pitch a gem against the weak Rays line-up. Meanwhile, Davis has a 4.45 ERA, and allowed 7 runs on 12 hits in just 2.2 innings in his only start against the Rangers this year.
Game 5: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. James Shields, TB in Arlington
RAYS WIN: I gave the first showdown between these two to CJ, so I’ll give the second one to Shields since they are so evenly matched.
RAYS WIN 3-2
Come back next week for my playoff predictions and my end-of-season awards.