ALCS Game 3 Preview

Posted: October 11, 2011 in MLB playoffs

By Chris Bates          

          It was the first walk-off grand slam in Major League Baseball postseason history.  It was hit by a player who has been sent down to the minors numerous times, had to clear waivers and was acquired in a trade involving Carlos Lee.  This is a player who 3 weeks ago was on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. This player is named Nelson Cruz.  Every team in the major leagues is kicking themselves for not picking up this guy when they had a chance.  He had to clear waivers twice when he was sent down for minor league assignments by the Rangers after being acquired in the trade.  Cruz did not break out until he was 27 years old, but boy are Ranger fans happy he’s on their team.  Cruz went 2 for 5 last night with 2 homeruns and five RBI’s, one of the homeruns tied the game in the seventh inning when the Rangers needed it the most and the other sent them to a two game to none lead over the Tigers heading into tonight’s pivotal Game 3. 

Tough Road Ahead          

         Game 3 starts at 7:05 p.m. tonight on Fox from Comerica Park in Detroit.  Although the Rangers have held court on their home field (had the best home record in the American League this year) I think the Tigers win game 3 tonight because the Rangers have had plenty of problems winning in Detroit.  The Rangers previously had an 11 game losing streak inDetroit before they won 8-6 last July to end the streak but they are just 4-5 at Comerica Park since that losing streak ended.  That adds up to 4-16 over the last 4 years at Comerica Park in Detroit.  It has been the Rangers worst nightmare over recent years.  Josh Hamilton was hurt sliding head first into home plate in a game in Detroit earlier this year and missed 6 weeks.

Tonight’s pitching matchup

               Colby Lewis (14-10)

                                               

                vs. Doug Fister (11-13)

                                                

Advantage: Fister.  Lewis has been the best Rangers postseason pitcher the last two years, going 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA during that span.  However, he has struggled mightily against the Tigers this season.  In just 7 1/3 innings he went 0-2 giving up 13 Earned Runs including 5 homeruns.  In each start he gave up 10 hits a piece.  It’s been “Jekyll and Hyde” this year for Lewis on which guy you’re going to get.  He can be really good at times or really bad at times.  The Rangers are hoping for the Postseason Lewis, Mr. October if you will (not Reggie Jackson) but the pitching Mr. October. In his career, The Tigers are batting .340 against Lewis including 6 homeruns. The 6’4″ Lewis has a career record of 38-38 with an ERA of 4.99. In his career against the Tigers, Lewis is 2-2 with a 7.48 ERA in 27 2/3 innings pitched.

          Fister has been the Tigers second best pitcher since the All-Star Break going 8-1 with an ERA of close to 1.79.  Although he had a losing record of 11-13 he was 4th in the American League this year in ERA (2.83).  He was 6th in WHIP (With Hitters in Position to score) 1.06.  That means he did not give up a lot of hit or runs with runners at second or third base.  Fister was the Game 5 starter for the Tigers in their series clinching win over the Yankees in the American League Division Series.  He went 5 innings giving up just 1 earned run on 92 pitches in that game.  Fister is familiar pitching against the Rangers as a member of the Seattle Mariners.  He was traded to the Tigers at the trade deadline.  This season, Fister has given up 7 earned runs in 13 innings against the Rangers.  In his career, the Rangers are batting just .268 against him. The 6’8″ Fister has a career record of 20-31 with an ERA of 3.49.  He has not had much run support, pitching most of his career in Seattle.  He has just 2 postseason starts going 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA, both starts coming this postseason against the Yankees.  In his career against the Rangers, Fister is 2-3 with an ERA of 4.38 in 39 innings pitched. However, in his last start vs. the Rangers on Aug.3 (his 1st start since being acquired in a trade) he allowed just 3 runs in 7 innings of a 5-4 win over the Rangers at Comerica Park.

Projection

          The game will be another close one as these two teams are very evenly matched, but I think Detroit will win tonight’s game to climb back into the series.  With their crowd being rowdy and fired up, the Tigers feed off of that and play better at home than they do on the road (50-31 at home, 45-36 on the road).  Their history against the Rangers at Comerica Park will “hold serve” tonight cutting the Rangers series deficit to 2-1.  Although the Rangers have been hot on the road lately, winning both games in St. Petersburg against the Rays in the Division series and having won 7 postseason road games over the last 2 seasons.  I see the pitching matchup being a great one tonight as both pitchers pitch 6+ innings giving up 2 runs or less then turning it over to the bullpens, which is in the Rangers advantage (9 innings of shutout relief baseball in Game 2).  The Rangers have the better lineup but both teams are better at home. Comerica Park in Detroit has one of the biggest outfields in baseball so homeruns are hard to come by, especially in centerfield.  I don’t see the Rangers overcoming their demons inDetroit tonight because the Tigers are in a must-win game with all the pressure on them, no pressure on the Rangers to win tonight.  That will cause the Tigers to step up and do what they are supposed to do, win at home.  Final score Prediction: DET 6 TEX 4.

Fox Sports Preview:

http://msn.foxsports.com/video/MLB?vid=e70f1d94-df5e-4a43-82e0-1a13eb92a974&from=foxsports/mlb/home_gallery

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Comments
  1. RUTH SPARKS says:

    YOUR PROJECTIION IS CLOSE TO THE VEST.

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