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Saturday, October 15, 2011
Matchup: Max Scherzer vs. Derek Holland

By Jeff Caplan

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Here we go. Two chances for the Texas Rangers to clinch a second consecutive American League pennant. Do-or-die for the Detroit Tigers. The Rangers roll out unpredictable LHP Derek Holland, who has four complete-game shutouts and four starts of less than three innings this season. The Tigers put their faith in RHP Max Scherzer, a steady postseason performer to this point.

Here's a closer look at the two pitchers:

Scherzer (1-0, 2.70 ERA): Consistent is a good way to describe Scherzer. He has 13 strikeouts in 13.1 postseason innings and he's walked five. He's allowed four runs on 10 hits, including one home run in Game 2 of the ALDS, a game-tying shot from Nelson Cruz. ... He'll throw 90 or more pitches into the sixth inning mixing in a low-to-mid 90 mph fastball, slide and changeup, but if he can give the Tigers six solid innings it will set up the bullpen combo of Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde. ... In Scherzer's Game 2 start, he allowed two doubles and a single for a pair of runs in the first inning and then pitched five consecutive scoreless innings.

Holland (1-0, 4.00 ERA): Holland has actually done a decent job limiting damage. He left Game 2 of the ALCS after giving up a 3-spot through two outs in the third inning. He escaped potential big innings in the first and second, but his 76 pitches in that short span tells the real story. He was constantly working behind in the count and that just can't happen in Game 6. In Game 2, he allowed the first two batters to reach safely in the first and loaded the bases on three walks in the second. ... Holland turned 25 last Sunday. He became the second-youngest Rangers pitcher to ever start a playoff game when took the mound in Game 2 of the ALDS.

Hitters: Texas has shown it can get the extra-base hit off Scherzer. Cruz (who has three hits in his nine at-bats plus four strikeouts) has the lone homer, but Ian Kinsler (whose .308 career average against Scherzer is tops on the club) tripled and David Murphy (3-for-6) and Michael Young each doubled. Adrian Beltre has three hits in his six at-bats against Scherzer. ... Watch out for Tigers slugger Delmon, who is 6-for-12 off Holland this season with a pair of home runs. Miguel Cabrera is 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and Victor Martinez is 1-for-3 with a homer.