Playoff Series: Game 2 of 6

Texas won 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 8
Game 2: Sunday, October 9
Game 2: Monday, October 10
in 11
Game 3: Tuesday, October 11
Game 4: Wednesday, October 12
in 11
Game 5: Thursday, October 13
Game 6: Saturday, October 15

7:45 PM ET, October 9, 2011


Tigers-Rangers Preview


A pair of weather delays did not keep Texas from taking the early advantage in the AL championship series against the Detroit Tigers. The Rangers hope more rain in the Arlington area won't halt the momentum they've built.

With the weather again expected to be an issue in Game 2, the Rangers look to take a commanding series lead as they seek a fifth consecutive postseason victory Sunday night.

Despite two delays totaling 1 hour, 50 minutes, Texas held on for a 3-2 victory Saturday. The Rangers scored twice in the second inning and Nelson Cruz homered off Justin Verlander in the fourth.

"You've got to stay focused," said Cruz, 2 for 18 in the postseason. "It's important to win this game and get it going. It's a good start to the series."

That was also the case for the Rangers bullpen, which gave up one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

Texas, which won three in a row to eliminate Tampa Bay in four games in the ALDS, picked up right where it left off. The Rangers' ability to keep doing so could be tested again, as there is 50 percent chance of rain in the forecast for Sunday night.

The Tigers were hindered by the elements for the second straight playoff opener. Game 1 of the division series at New York was suspended by rain, and Detroit lost 9-3 the next day when play resumed before advancing in five games.

Ramon Santiago had three of the seven hits Saturday for the Tigers, who appeared to suffer from the absence of injured slugger Delmon Young. The outfielder went 6 for 19 with three homers in the ALDS but is out for this series with an oblique injury.

"It obviously hurts a little bit," manager Jim Leyland said. "Sure, we missed that bat in there. There's no question about it. No excuses."

The Tigers look to bounce back behind Max Scherzer (1-0, 1.23 ERA). The right-hander threw 32 pitches and allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings of relief during a 3-2 win over the Yankees in Game 5 on Thursday.

Rick Porcello was originally scheduled to start this game with Scherzer to go in Game 4, but after Porcello pitched in relief Saturday following the delays, Scherzer was able to convince Leyland he was ready to take the ball.

"(Leyland) wanted to make sure I was thinking 100 percent about my arm and the health of my arm," Scherzer said. "My goal is not to sit out here and try to be 50 percent and try to take the ball. I know I can be 100 percent on Sunday."

Scherzer, who allowed two hits in six scoreless innings of a 5-3 win over New York in Game 2 last Sunday, is 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA in six starts versus Texas. He's 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in two outings at Arlington.

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, 4 for 11 versus Scherzer, went 1 for 4 in the opener after hitting three homers in the 4-3 clinching victory over the Rays on Tuesday.

One of Cruz's four hits in 15 at-bats against Scherzer was a home run.

Texas' Derek Holland (1-0, 1.42) also made a relief appearance this week, giving up a hit in 1 1/3 innings Tuesday.

After making six appearances out of the bullpen during the 2010 postseason, Holland made his first playoff start and gave up three runs -- one earned -- in five innings to earn the win in an 8-6 victory over the Rays in Game 2 on Oct. 1.

The left-hander believes his playoff experience from last year has played a big part in the calm approach he's taken toward starting this season.

"I have a better idea how to handle myself as a starter," Holland said. "This year it's a big difference. I'm a lot more relaxed and I would say composed."

In Holland's only start versus Detroit on Sept. 14, 2010, he allowed four runs -- one earned -- in four innings of an 11-4 home win.

Though the Tigers struggled to score Saturday, Holland knows they are likely to be more aggressive at the plate in Game 2.

"They've got a solid lineup," he said. "It's not going to be easy. That's for sure."

After recording one hit between them Saturday, Detroit sluggers Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera are a combined 8 for 39 (.205) with 12 strikeouts in the postseason.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Gameday Matchup

Current StreakW4W6
Last 107-39-1