C.J. Wilson to start Game 1
Rangers manager Ron Washington said that he isn't planning any lineup changes, meaning Nelson Cruz is likely to be in the No. 7 spot, where he's been all postseason, despite his MVP performance against Detroit in the ALCS.
"I just want to be in the lineup," Cruz said. "That's the only thing I care about."
Cruz was the first player in MLB history to hit six homers and 13 RBIs in a postseason series. He had eight hits in the ALCS, all of them extra-base hits. He had a 1.273 slugging percentage and was a major run producer.
On the mound, Wilson will try to put his playoffs struggles behind him. He is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in 15 2/3 innings (three starts) this postseason. He's given up 14 earned runs on 21 hits with six of those home runs. Four of those home runs were hit by Kelly Shoppach (two in Game 1 of the ALDS) and Delmon Young (two in Game 5 of the ALCS). Wilson allowed 16 home runs in 223 1/3 innings during the regular season. But Washington stressed that Wilson remains the staff leader.
"He's my No. 1 guy," Washington said. "Nothing has changed."
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Wilson tied Derek Holland for the club lead with 16 wins and had the best ERA by any Rangers starter at 2.94 during the regular season. He topped 200 innings for the second consecutive season after making the transition from the bullpen to the rotation prior to the 2010 season.
Washington said the club plans on going with the same four starters but hasn't settled on the order. The biggest debate might be whether to start Colby Lewis on the road in Game 2 and Holland at home in Game 3. Matt Harrison would likely pitch Game 4 in Arlington. Lewis' road ERA this season was 3.43, more than two runs below his home ERA.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.
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