Texas follows C.J. with Holland, Lewis, Harrison
Washington not changing rotation after strong Division Series
ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington announced that Derek Holland would be the Rangers' Game 2 starter in the American League Championship Series against the Tigers.That leaves Colby Lewis for Game 3 and Matt Harrison for Game 4 at Comerica Park in Detroit. Washington announced his rotation after Friday's workout and confirmed that Harrison will be available out of the bullpen for the first two games. "The same way it was in the first series, I like C.J. [Wilson] and Holland back-to-back," Washington said. "That's what I did in the first round and it worked, so that's what I'm going to do in the second round." The Rangers waited to learn their opponent before announcing their rotation. One possibility is because Lewis has been better on the road than at home. He was 5-5 with a 5.54 ERA in 15 starts at the Ballpark in Arlington, compared to 9-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 17 starts on the road. Washington suggested he's more enamored with Lewis' experience in handling a hostile atmosphere on the road during the playoffs, rather than concerned about how he'll pitch in Texas. "I have no qualms about pitching Colby anywhere," Washington said. Lewis was 0-1 with a 15.95 ERA in two starts against the Tigers this season, allowing 13 runs on 20 hits and four walks. "It doesn't matter if you're pitching against the Tigers, the Yankees or the Red Sox, you still have to get them out," Lewis said. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he will start Justin Verlander in Game 1, followed by Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello. "They are certainly loaded with starting pitching, but so are we," Holland said. "You can't sell us short. We have been pitching all year and we did a pretty good job. It all comes down to execution." "It's a matter of doing the same thing all year and who makes the least mistakes," Harrison said. "We have to execute our pitches, keep it close and hand it over to our bullpen. If we do that, we can take this series."
Washington unlikely to alter lineup in ALCS
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' lineup against the Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series will look a lot like their lineup did against the Rays, according to manager Ron Washington.The Tigers are planning to start four right-handers. Based on what the Rangers did against the Rays' right-handers, that means that Mitch Moreland will likely start at first base with David Murphy in left field and Josh Hamilton manning center. Mike Napoli will catch and Michael Young will be the designated hitter. Washington also said he was not going to deviate from having Young bat cleanup with Adrian Beltre behind him. Young was 2-for-15 in the ALDS, while Beltre hit three home runs in Game 4. "It's not broke, so we're not going to try to fix it," Washington said. "Adrian has been doing a good job in the fifth slot, and Michael has done a good job in the fourth. We're not going to change it." Washington left open the possibility of changing the lineup if needed, including the option of having Endy Chavez start in the outfield if the Rangers need to shake things up. "Things can change. I don't want to start saying what I'm planning to be doing and then change it," Washington said. "We'll let this series dictate the rest."
Rangers aiming to keep Tigers' Valverde in 'pen
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers need to keep Tigers closer Jose Valverde out of the game. He was 49-for-49 in save opportunities during the regular season and converted both of his chances in the American League Division Series against the Yankees.Manager Ron Washington knows how good Valverde is, having picked him for the All-Star Game in July, and compared him to an all-time great, the Yankees' Mariano Rivera. "He knows how to get three, and that's what you want," Washington said. "Rivera knows how to get three. These are guys that have been doing it for a long time. It may not always be picture perfect, but they get three outs." Washington's goal is to get the lead before the Tigers can bring Valverde into the game. "What I'm thinking about is having the lead through six," Washington said. "If I have the lead through six, I feel I can shut it down with my bullpen." Valverde and Rivera are two good relievers for Neftali Feliz to emulate, as far as their success and their ability to handle the ninth without getting flustered by the situation. "He's got some ways to go," Washington said."Those guys have been doing it a lot longer than Neftali, but Neftali always gets three. It isn't pretty, but before you can compare him to those guys, he's got to do it for a while."
Regular-season record goes out the window
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers were 3-6 against the Tigers in the regular season, losing two of three in each of their three-game series. Two were played in Detroit and one was in Arlington. Five of the nine games were decided by one or two runs, and four of the nine were decided in the seventh inning or later.The Rangers were struggling with their bullpen in the first two series in April and June. They added Koji Uhara and Mike Adams for a three-game series in Detroit in early August but were also without Adrian Beltre, who was sidelined with a strained left hamstring. It was also against the Tigers in April that the Rangers lost Josh Hamilton for six weeks with a fractured bone in his right arm. "You can forget the season series, the fact that we won that," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "We may have missed a couple of star players. Certainly, that had something to do with it. You can throw that out of the window. This is a tremendous team, a very versatile team. I like that team. It's very versatile, left, right. Got some speed, got some power. Got a very creative manager who is probably untouched in motivational tactics. "We're pretty good too. It should be a real good series. Obviously, the best two teams, or the teams that played the best, are here. That's the way it should be. We know we have our work cut out. Hopefully, we'll put on a good show for you. Both of the teams."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.