ALCS prediction: This one's going six games
But the two teams are quite a bit different from most of those matchups. The Tigers, for instance, did not have Delmon Young yet (and won't again, now that he's been ruled out with an oblique injury), but did have Brennan Boesch, who bashed in Arlington. Rangers sluggers Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre both missed significant parts of the regular-season series with the Tigers.
Why this matchup should scare the Tigers: The Yankees may have been the best power-hitting team, but the Rangers are the best hitting team, period. Led by Michael Young and last year’s MVP, Hamilton, and Beltre, the Rangers are hitting at a .282 clip as a team, and their pitching is good enough, especially after dealing for bullpen arms at the deadline. Mike Napoli has had some of the biggest home runs of the season for the Rangers in the past two weeks, helping the Rangers clinch home-field advantage on the last night of the regular season, then get past the Rays in four games. Beltre has 15 home runs in his last 20 games.
C.J. Wilson on facing Detroit ace Verlander in Game 1: "No one is going to dispute how good he is, how good of a season he had. But at the same time, we beat him earlier this year. So I feel like we have a team that can hit anybody."
Why it shouldn’t scare the Tigers: Detroit can slug with any team, and has proven that it can outslug even the Rangers. Outside of the powerful Ogando, Texas’ lefty-heavy rotation doesn’t present all that much of a scare for the Tigers’ righty-heavy lineup. The Tigers had a losing or .500 record against everybody in the AL West but the best team.
Alexi Ogando has all three of the wins against the Tigers — nearly unheard of for a non-divisional opponent these days — but the former reliever hasn’t been as good as his All-Star start of late, his pumped-up workload probably a big part of the reason he ran out of gas down the stretch, and will be in the bullpen for the ALCS.
Outside of Ogando, the other three starters in the Rangers rotation who faced the Tigers (they missed Derek Holland), compiled an 0-3 record in five starts, with a 10.00 ERA and a WHIP of 2.333 (44 hits, 12 walks).
While Verlander is lined up for Games 1 and 5, the Tigers will also get two outings from Max Scherzer (G2/6) and Doug Fister (G3/7), who both got wins in the ALDS.
Prediction: Tigers in six, with a lot of 6-5, 8-6 scores.