After winning the first two games of the AL championship series,
the Texas Rangers head to Detroit with the right man on the mound
to help pad their advantage.
Colby Lewis looks to remain undefeated for his career in the
postseason as he tries to help the Rangers earn a sixth consecutive
playoff victory Tuesday night against the Tigers.
Four innings after he tied the game with a solo home run, Nelson
Cruz hit the first walkoff grand slam in postseason history in the
11th to give Texas a 7-3 victory in Game 2 on Monday. Cruz, who
homered for the decisive run in a 3-2 victory in Game 1, is 4 for 7
with six RBIs in the series.
“It’s special,” Cruz said. “When you get a chance to get a W,
that’s the most important thing.”
Winners of five straight since losing 9-0 in the division series
opener versus Tampa Bay on Sept. 30, the Rangers are filled with
confidence as they head to Detroit in a comfortable situation.
“It’s amazing when you play around those group of guys,” Cruz
said. “Everybody is pulling the same way.”
Though Texas dropped four of six at Detroit during the season,
it should feel confident with Lewis (1-0, 1.50 ERA) taking the
The right-hander allowed only a solo homer and struck out six in
six innings of a 4-3 win at Tampa in Game 3 to improve to 4-0 with
a 1.67 ERA in five postseason starts.
“It’s the comfortability aspect of things,” Lewis said.
“Basically the more you do it, the more you go out there, the more
you understand what it takes to perform and be on that stage.”
Lewis went 0-1 with a 15.95 ERA in two starts against the Tigers
this season. He allowed five runs, 10 hits and walked three in four
innings while not factoring in the decision of a 6-5 loss at
Comerica Park on Aug. 2.
Detroit counters with Doug Fister (1-1, 6.52), who hopes his
success at home during the season carries over into the
Acquired from Seattle at the trade deadline, Fister went 8-1
with a 1.79 ERA in 11 appearances – 10 starts – for the Tigers. In
his first outing with his new team Aug. 3, Fister allowed three
runs in seven innings of a 5-4 win over Texas at Comerica Park.
The right-hander went 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA in five home starts
for the Tigers.
“Obviously, there’s a huge fan base in Detroit, which is
terrific to play in front of,” said Fister, 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in
two starts versus Texas this season. “It’s been very prevalent.
It’s something that gives you chills.”
Fister gave up six runs and struck out six in 4 2-3 innings of a
9-3 loss at New York when Game 1 of the ALDS resumed Oct. 1.
However, he yielded only one run in five innings of a 3-2 victory
at Yankee Stadium in Game 5 on Thursday.
Though his team is down 0-2 and Cruz is 7 for 14 with a home run
and two doubles against him, Fister does not feel any added
pressure taking the mound in this must-win scenario.
“It can’t change the approach for the pitcher at all,” Fister
said. “It doesn’t change the mindset, it doesn’t change how you
Ryan Raburn provided all of Detroit’s Game 2 scoring with a
three-run homer in the third inning as the Tigers left 13 runners
on base. Detroit is 2 for 19 with runners in scoring position in
“It’s been a great two games. It didn’t go the right way,
obviously,” manager Jim Leyland said. “(The Rangers) earned it, and
we didn’t quite get it done. We haven’t been able to come up with
any big hits.”
Added to the postseason roster before Game 2 after Magglio
Ordonez was lost for the playoffs with an ankle injury, Detroit’s
Delmon Young went 0 for 4 on Monday. Young – 6 for 19 with three
homers in the ALDS – returned to action after he was expected to
miss this series with an oblique injury, but he isn’t in the lineup
for Game 3.
Tigers catcher Alex Avila, 2 for 25 with 10 strikeouts in the
postseason, is 3 for 9 with two homers against Lewis. Victor
Martinez (5 for 11), Miguel Cabrera (5 for 12) and leadoff hitter
Austin Jackson (6 for 15, one homer) have also had success when