Shark-Infested Waters: Texas Rangers-Detroit Tigers ALCS Game 3 Preview and Open Thread
Wow. What an amazing start to the American League Championship Series for Your Texas Rangers. Two close games. Two incredible wins.
Now Detroit has to win four of the next five games to get back to the World Series for the first time since they fell to St. Louis in 2006.
Ain't gonna happen. Heck, they just might find themselves swept by the defending AL champs before Justin Verlander has a second chance to pitch.
Although the series moves to Detroit -- where the Tigers were 50-31 this season -- Game 3 always seemed like a game Texas would find a way to win. And, after the first two games, I'm even more convinced.
Originally, knowing Colby Lewis was on the bump gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. And why not? The guy has been a playoff hero, posting a 4-0 record and 1.67 ERA in five starts and surrendering no earned runs in the start he didn't get a decision.
Sure, he was lousy in two starts against Detroit this year with a sky-high 15.95 ERA. And, sure, Doug Fister turned into Greg Maddux after he was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Tigers at the trade deadline, with an 8-1 overall record and 1.79 ERA and 4-0 record at home with a 0.98 ERA.
But this isn't the regular season. And Fister looked more like Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux when he allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings against the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS.
As I mentioned in my series preview, you can't put a lot into stats this time of year. For example, Austin Jackson is 6-for-15 with a homer in his career against Lewis. Alex Avila is 3-for-9 with two home runs against him. But do you really fear either hitter, especially given their struggles in the series?
Aside from my faith in Cobra, this game seems primed for the Rangers to explode offensively. Michael Young is gonna hit. So is Hamilton. And both showed good signs of heating up in Game 2. Of course, the Boomstick is already scorching hot.
The Rangers smell blood in the water. And, more than any team in franchise history, this one is built like a shark. It could get ugly.
Two more wins. Just two more.
-- As I speculated in yesterday's open thread after his third strikeout, Mitch Moreland has been benched. Young takes over at first, Mike Napoli to DH and Yorvit Torrealba to catcher. David Murphy has also been replaced by Endy Chavez.
-- Delmon Young is not in the lineup tonight.
-- As we noted in yesterday's live blog, Nelson Cruz hit the first walk-off grand slam in postseason history. What you might not have heard, though, is he became just the seventh player in baseball history to hit two postseason homers in the seventh inning or later, joining Josh Hamilton and some guy named Babe Ruth.
-- The Texas bullpen pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings last night, tied for the second-most scoreless relief innings pitched by a team in a postseason game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Only the 1964 Cardinals had more, with 8 2/3 scoreless relief innings in Game 4 of the World Series against the Yankees.
First pitch is at 7:05. First pitcher? Now. To the comments we go.