I had a great weekend in Arlington last weekend (two Rangers playoff games plus a Cowboys game) and am about to head out for tonight’s ALCS game, followed by another one tomorrow night. It’s definitely a good time to be a Rangers fan.
This week I made my predictions for the two League Championship Series.
Rangers vs. Tigers
Game 1: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. Justin Verlander, DET in Arlington
TIGERS WIN – While neither pitcher has pitched too well so far in the playoffs, CJ with a 10.80 ERA and Verlander with a 5.00 ERA, this one should be a pitchers’ duel. However, Justin has the upper edge in this one as he is definitely the best pitcher in the American League right now. Both starters have only faced the other team once so far this year. However, if it can be a 1 or 2 run Tigers lead and Verlander gives the ball to the bullpen, the Rangers could definitely make that up, as the Tiger bullpen has been shaky so far this postseason.
Game 2: Derek Holland, TEX vs. Max Scherzer, DET in Arlington
RANGERS WIN – Derek and Max each allowed just 1 earned run in their first postseason start this year, and they both picked up the win. They also both finished the year off well. However, Derek had both a better year and a better finish to the year than Scherzer did. Also, Scherzer didn’t exactly shut the Rangers down when he faced them this year, as he allowed 9 runs, all earned, in 17 innings in his 3 starts on the year against the Rangers.
Game 3: Colby Lewis, TEX vs. Doug Fister, DET in Detroit
RANGERS WIN – While based on the pitchers’ regular seasons, it would appear as if Detroit had a huge advantage in this game, that actually is not the case. During the season, Colby had a 4.40 ERA, including a 4.66 September ERA. Meanwhile, Doug Fister had a 2.83 ERA, including a 0.53 September ERA, a month in which he went 5-0. But Doug has been awful so far in the playoffs, and in 2 games against the Yankees in the ALDS, he went a total of just 9.2 innings, allowing 7 runs, a 6.52 ERA. And in Colby’s first start, he backed up his clutch pitching in last year’s playoffs (where he went 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 26.1 innings), by allowing only 1 run on 1 hit in 6 innings of work.
Game 4: Matt Harrison, TEX vs. Rick Porcello, DET in Detroit
RANGERS WIN – Matt has the edge in this match-up in both the regular season and postseason stats. While Harrison had a very good regular season, with a 3.39 ERA, Porcello really, really struggled, as he posted a 4.75 ERA. Also, Rick had a bad first start of the postseason, allowing 4 runs in 6 innings, while Matt allowed 2 runs in 5 innings in his only start so far. Also, the bullpen should play an important role in this game, with Porcello not known for going deep into games, and the Rangers have an advantage in this category.
Game 5: CJ Wilson, TEX vs. Justin Verlander, DET in Detroit
TIGERS WIN – Once again, it should be a pitchers’ duel, and I could see the Rangers pulling out a close one here, but Verlander is just too good. The guy won the pitching triple crown this year and should be the MVP of the league.
Game 6: Derek Holland, TEX vs. Max Scherzer, DET in Arlington
RANGERS WIN – Derek has pitched better than Scherzer this year, and has a knack for pitching very well in big games.
RANGERS DEFEAT TIGERS 4-2
Brewers vs. Cardinals
The Cardinals have not yet announced their pitching rotation, but they will be outmatched in most games. In game 1, they will be facing Zack Greinke, who has an 11-0 record and a 3.13 ERA at home this year. They will also have to face Shaun Marcum, who posted a 3.54 ERA, and Yovani Gallardo, the ace, who had a 3.52 regular season ERA, and has a 1.29 ERA so far this postseason. The Brewers also have a dynamite offense, with Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, both MVP candidates, anchoring the lineup. Not to mention Milwaukee’s shut-down bullpen.
However, the Cardinals do have a solid rotation, with Jaime Garcia (3.56 ERA), Chris Carpenter (3.45 ERA), Kyle Lohse (3.39 ERA), and Edwin Jackson (3.79 ERA). But, they just do not have the offense or the bullpen to match up to the Brewers, and it would be very surprising to me if the Cards won this series.
BREWERS DEFEAT CARDINALS 4-2
Come back next week for more playoff coverage.