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Saturday, October 1, 2011
Matchup: James Shields vs. Derek Holland

By Jeff Caplan

ARLINGTON, Texas -- With much fanfare, Texas Rangers LHP Derek Holland is set to take the mound for his first career playoff start in today's Game 2 of the American League Division Series. He'll face the Tampa Bay Rays' top pitcher against Texas this season, RHP James Shields. The game is televised on TNT and broadcast on 103.3 FM ESPN and espndallas.com will host a live in-game chat. Game 2 starts at 6:07 p.m.

Here's a look at the two starters:

Shields (16-12, 2.82): His 0.53 ERA against the Rangers (one earned run in 17 innings pitched) is his lowest against any team this season. He's 2-0 while allowing the one run on eight hits and three walks. He's struck out 13. ... In his one start at Rangers Ballpark on Aug. 31, Shields pitched eight scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out seven. ... Less than a week later in Tampa, he went the full nine. ... He won his final start on Sept. 26 against the New York Yankees, but lost tough decisions in his two outings prior to the Yanks and Boston Red Sox, going at least seven innings in each start.

Holland (16-5, 3.95): Since Aug. 16, the young lefty is 7-1 with a no-decision, a 5-4 loss to the Rays in which he gave up four runs -- three earned -- on six hits over 6 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts. ... The Rangers' potent offense has been a friend all season, lifting Holland to the top of the league in run support. In his last six starts, Holland has seen his offense put up 53 runs, including double-digits in three of them. ... In his second-to-last start against Oakland, Holland dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time April 16.

Hitters: Four Rays that were in the Game 1 lineup against lefty C.J. Wilson -- Johnny Damon, Desmond Jennings, Kelly Shoppach, Casey Kotchman -- have not recorded a hit against Holland, going a combined 0-for-19. However, some of the Rays have done significant damage. Evan Logoria is 6-for-13 (.462) with four doubles and a home run, Matt Joyce is 2-for-3 and B.J. Upton is 5-for-12 (.417) with a double and a homer. ... Elvis Adrus has tagged Shields in his career to the tune of 7-for-12 (.583) with a pair of doubles and triples. Otherwise, Shields has had the upper hand: Adrian Beltre is batting .258, Ian Kinsler .143, Josh Hamilton .125 and Nelson Cruz is .333, but is just 1-for-3.