Manager Jim Leyland made a prudent move to not use Justin Verlander in relief on Thursday night, as he knew that that would remove any possibility of using him for three games in the ALCS. That being said, the soon to be Cy Young Award winner is now on regular rest and should be just fine for this game. He didn’t have his greatest outing in the world in Game 3 of the ALDS, as he allowed four runs in eight innings of work. However, we have to remember that he was going against a big time lineup. He gritted through it all in a fantastic performance in which he struck out 11 against three walks. The bullpen for Detroit needs to be very careful in this series, going against such a big time bullpen for the Rangers. Jose Valverde closed out a pair of games in the ALDS, including that power packed Game 5 on Thursday. The pen was used quite a bit in that Game 5, so it might be a long first game if Verlander can’t go the distance or near the distance, but we aren’t all that concerned. If Verlander needs his bullpen for any period of time, the Tigers are probably in trouble.
The Rangers have had the benefit of a few days off after taking care of the Tampa Bay Rays in four games in the ALDS. It was an interesting series to say the least, as Texas lost the first game at home and won the next three games, all of which were very, very tight. Ironically though, it wasn’t really that powerful bullpen with Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Alexi Ogando, and Neftali Feliz that did that well. The man that made the big difference in Game 4 was Derek Holland, who started Game 2 and will be starting Game 2 of this series in all likelihood on Sunday. The man on the mound in this one is going to be CJ Wilson. The southpaw didn’t pitch fantastically this year, but he didn’t pitch poorly either. Including the playoffs, he is now 16-8 with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. For Wilson’s sake, we hope that he can get some more offensive help than he got in Game 1 against the Rays. The team was shut out, and it didn’t end up really getting its bats going until the middle of Game 2.
Detroit Tigers @ Texas Rangers Game 1 Pick: The Rangers are basically playing with house money right now, as this is a game that they are expected to lose. Though we’d love to go contrarian and take Texas at home, we have to back the Tigers and Verlander after he struggled against the Yankees.
MLB Pick: Detroit Tigers -110 at Bookmaker Sportsbook.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.