In: MLB Free Picks11 Oct 2011
Chris Hodge, Free Picks Newsletter Editor
249-150-3 of last 400
MLB: Texas Rangers (+129) vs. Detroit Tigers (-135); Over/Under (O/U 8.5o -120)
There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.
The heels are clicking frantically in Detroit tonight as the Tigers try to salvage their post-season from certain ruin down 0-2 to the Texas Rangers.
It was a long ride home for the Tigers after last night’s shattering loss. Every player in a Tigers uniform can probably still see Nelson Cruz hitting an 11th-inning, walk-off grand slam to take Game 2.
There aren’t too many situations in baseball where a team’s manager is more important than Jim Leyland is right now to the Tigers. With any other current manager in the Major Leagues, it would be tempting to go ahead and stick a fork in the Tigers and chalk up Game 3 for the Rangers.
Leyland has worked miracles in Detroit since his arrival, and we’re apt to see another one tonight, as the Tigers will come out focused and ready to play. Leyland is a master at manipulating his players’ temprament and spirit.
Their hopes will be in the shoulders and the right arm of Doug Fister.
The Tigers have not lost three games in a row since August. In fact, the Tigers have lost three games in a row only three times this season. The first two were way back in April and May.
Detroit is 6-5 in their past 11 games with Texas, and they are 4-1 against the Rangers at home during that stretch. Through two starts against the Rangers this season, Fister is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA.
Both of Fister’s starts versus Texas have been at home. The Tigers won his most recent outing 5-4, btu were blanked 4-0 in his first appearance against the Rangers in 2011.
Fister has been a better pitcher at home than on the road this year. His ERA is a full point lower, 2.35, than his road ERA. Tonight will be his first home start in the post season, and he’s coming off of a gem of a performance against the Yankees Oct. 6.
David Murphy and Nelson Cruz have both had success against Fister. The pair are a combined 13-25 with three homers. However, the big factor in tonight’s game is how Colby Lewis pitches for the Rangers.
Lewis has accumulated just seven innings of work in two starts against Detroit, and he’s got a 13-point-something ERA to show for it. Lewis has yet to make it out of the fifth inning against the Tigers, and it hasn’t mattered whether he was at home or on the road.
Lewis’ history versus the Tigers, combined with the managerial skills of Leyland, should be enough to finally get the Tigers an ALCS win.
Pick: Take the Detroit Tigers (-135)