When past is hardly prologue.
If I were a Detroit Tigers blogger, I’d probably point out that Detroit played three series against Texas in 2011, winning two games out of three each time. Moreover, each of the three Rangers victories were earned by Alexi Ogando, who won’t be part of the club’s rotation for the ALCS.
I probably wouldn’t point out that, in the clubs’ first series in April, Josh Hamilton was around for the 2-0 Texas win (contributing a single, walk, and run scored against Justin Verlander) but missed virtually all of the two Rangers losses, breaking a bone in the back of his shoulder on a slide home five minutes into the first of those two games.
I would ignore the fact that in the June series, the Rangers’ relief work was provided by Michael Kirkman, Yoshinori Tateyama, Arthur Rhodes, Dave Bush, Mark Lowe, Tateyama again, Darren Oliver, and Feliz. (Though to be fair, in the two Texas losses, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison were knocked around, prompting the back of the bullpen to get the game completed.) Mike Adams and Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez weren’t around yet, and Ogando wasn’t a bullpen weapon at the time.
Stunningly, when that June series ended, Mike Napoli was hitting .213/.344/.504, having played in 43 of the Rangers’ 63 games. From that point forward, he hit .376/.453/.698 over 70 games.
I’d also fail to mention that Adrian Beltre was out with a hamstring strain when Detroit took two of three in August, taking both of its wins by a margin of one run.
I’d note that Detroit hit .317 against Texas in 2011, slugging .486, while the Rangers hit only .275 against the Tigers and slugged .396.
Detroit ERA against Texas this year: 3.71.
Texas ERA against Detroit: 4.96.
But I’m not a Tigers blogger, and I’m not going to break this series down position-by-position or dive any further into the statistics or make any predictions.
Detroit had an insanely hot September and continues to play well.
Texas, same thing.
And the Rangers will show Detroit a different team from the ones the Tigers saw in April, June, and August.
This ought to be a fantastic series of playoff baseball games.