Can Rangers tame Tigers in ALCS?

Most sports books monitored by the SportsOptions odds product have installed the AL West champion Texas Rangers as $1.30 favorites against the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers in their best-of-seven American League Championship Series. The take-back price on the Tigers is plus $1.10.

The series begins Saturday night on the Fox Network at 4:30 Pacific Time, with southpaw C.J. Wilson on the hill for the Rangers against Detroit’s Justin Verlander. The Tigers opened as slight $1.15 road favorites, with the total set at 7 ½ ‘over’ (minus $1.15).

Though Detroit captured six of the nine meetings with Texas during the regular season, it should be noted that the Rangers were missing Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz or Adrian Beltre either separately or together during most of those matchups.

It is also interesting to note that right-hander Alexi Ogando registered all three of Texas’ victories against the Tigers. Ogando was appointed to an eighth-inning setup role late in the season, but that might change given his success against Detroit during the regular season.

The Tigers were 4-2 against the Rangers at Comerica Park and 2-1 at Texas. The ‘under’ went 3-1-1 in Detroit and 2-1 at Texas. Detroit outscored Texas during those nine meetings, 45-37.

Verlander started once against the Rangers during the regular campaign (April 11) and suffered a 2-0 loss as a $1.35 home favorite despite tossing a complete game and allowing just two runs on six hits. The 28-year-old righty fanned four and walked one during a 119-pitch effort.

Verlander will be pitching on his customary four days of rest, as he last started on Monday, Oct.3 during Game 3 of the ALDS. The 6-foot-5 native of Virginia registered a 5-4 victory against CC Sabathia and the Yankees as a $1.15 home favorite by limiting the Bronx Bombers to four runs on six hits through eight innings. He walked three and fanned 11 en route to tossing 120 pitches.

Pitching away from home has not been a problem for Verlander this season. The probable Cy Young Award-winner was 14-2 in 16 starts away from Comerica Park with a nifty 2.43 ERA. The ‘over’ was 9-7 during that span.

Wilson faced the Tigers once during the regular season (April 12), but was not involved in the decision after allowing four runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. The 30-year-old walked four and fanned four in his 106-pitch effort. The Rangers went on to lose that game as $1.33 road favorites, 5-4.

Wilson hasn’t pitched since Friday, Sept.30 when he dropped a 9-0 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays as a $1.70 home favorite during Game 1 of the ALDS. The California native was tagged for eight runs (six earned) on seven hits in just five innings. He walked one and struck out six during a 103-pitch effort.

Pitching at The Ballpark in Arlington has been a successful venture for Wilson, evidenced by his 8-2 record with a 3.69 ERA in 14 starts. The ‘over’ is 11-3 during that span.

Trendsetter

Detroit is 19-7 in its last 26 road encounters and 13-3 in Verlander’s last 16 starts away from Comerica Park. The Tigers are also a sizzling 40-13 in Verlander’s last 53 starts as a favorite and 20-7 in his last 27 starts as a road ‘chalk.’ The ‘over’ is 10-4 in Detroit’s last 14 overall outings.

The Rangers are 8-1 in their last nine home matchups and 8-3 in their last 11 playoff games as an underdog. The Rangers are also 8-3 in Wilson’s last 11 starts and 26-10 in his last 36 home starts. The ‘over’ is 17-6-3 in Wilson’s last 26 home assignments.

The ‘over’ is 13-4-4 in the last 21 meetings between the Tigers and Rangers in Texas.

Injuries

The lone injury to report for this ALCS belongs to Detroit Tigers starting leftfielder Delmon Young, who left Thursday’s Game 5 against the Yankees with an oblique strain. Young, who belted three home runs during that series, is listed as “out” for the entire series.

Speak Your Mind

*