Rangers-Tigers Preview

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

ball.

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

playoffs.

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

attack hitters.”

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

the series.

“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

facing Lewis.