Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Matchup: Colby Lewis vs. Doug Fister
By Jeff Caplan
DETROIT -- The Texas Rangers turn to the old man of their staff and their rock of the postseason, RHP Colby Lewis. The 32-year-old was stellar last season and he answered concerns heading into this postseason with a dandy performance in Game 3 of the ALDS that put the Rangers in control. He'll go against Detroit Tigers RHP Doug Fister, a key trade addition at the deadline that helped the Tigers run away with the AL Central title.
Here's a closer look at the two starters:
Lewis (1-0, 1.50): His ailing hip certainly wasn't an issue against Tampa Bay as Lewis allowed one run one hit, a Desmond Jennings home run, through six innings. The homer, however, reminds of Lewis' one major flaw that can be detrimental in a postseason game. He allowed 35 homers in the regular season, tops in the American League and second in all of baseball. But, when Lewis is keeping his pitches down he can be downright dominant as the Rays found out. The Tigers' lineup, even without Magglio Ordonez, presents more challenges and Lewis had his troubles with Detroit in two appearances during the regular season. On Aug. 2 at Detroit, Lewis gave up five runs, four earned, on 10 hits and three walks. On June 6 in Arlington, the Tigers hit four homers and tagged Lewis for nine earned runs. For those scoring at home, that's a 15.95 ERA.
Fister (1-1, 6.52 ERA): His bloated ERA stems from the lashing the Yankees put on him as the starter/reliever of the rain-suspended Game 1 of the ALDS that Justin Verlander started the following night, but was postponed in the second inning. Fister allowed six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings in that game. He gave the Tigers a much more useful outing in his lone actual start in the clinching Game 5 at Yankee Stadium. He pitched five innings of one-run ball, only surrendering a Robinson Cano home run, while striking out four. Against the Rangers, Fister faced them once as a Tiger on Aug. 3. He got the win, going seven innings and allowing three runs, two earned, on eight hits. In July with Seattle, he took the loss, but lasted 7 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits.
Hitters: Texas hit .254 as a team against Fister this season. Nelson Cruz has the best numbers with a .500 average (3-for-6, all singles). Michael Young is 2-for-7 (.286) and Josh Hamilton is 1-for-5 (.200). Three players likely to be in the Game 3 lineup against Fister are a combined 0-for-12): Adrian Beltre (0-for-3), Mitch Moreland (0-for-6) and Mike Napoli (0-for-3). ... The Tigers have teed off on Lewis this season for a team batting average of .390. The good news for Lewis is that Brennan Bosch, 4-for-5 (.800) of him including two homers, is injured and not on the ALCS roster. Alex Avila, however, is on the roster and he has two home runs in three at-bats (.667). Victor Martinez is 3-for-5 (.600) with a double and Jhonny Peralta and Delmon Young are both 2-for-5 (.400).
Game 4 Wed. at Det: Matt Harrison (1-0, 4.76 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (0-1, 4.50 ERA), 3:19 p.m. (103.3 FM/1540 AM/FOX)
Game 5* Thursday at Det: C.J. Wilson(0-1, 7.45 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (1-1, 5.54 ERA), 3:19 p.m. (103.3 FM/1540/FOX)
* If necessary