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Texas tries to close out ALCS on Thursday
By: Nick Bracken - StatFox
Published: 10/13/2011  at  7:56:00 AM
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TEXAS RANGERS

at DETROIT TIGERS

ALCS Game 5 - Texas leads series 3-1
First pitch: Thursday, 4:15 p.m. EDT
Line: Detroit -155, Texas +145, Total: 7

The Rangers look to finish off the Tigers in front of Detroitís home crowd at Comerica Park. After a marathon Game 4, the 4:15 start might start might bring out some fatigue, but both teams know itís the playoffs and must leave everything on the field.

The Rangers will send C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA during regular season) to the mound on Thursday afternoon. After a tremendous regular season, the lefty has had a rough postseason, allowing eight earned runs and 19 base runners in only 9.2 innings. Opposing Wilson is the likely AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40 ERA during regular season). Much like Wilson, Verlander has oddly struggled in the playoffs. Though rain interruptions are a valid excuse, the flame-thrower is 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA. The Tigers have played better in day games (39-25) than Texas has (28-24), but Detroit has been nearly impossible to beat with Verlander on the hill. The team is 16-2 when favored between -125 and -175 in Verlanderís starts. Detroit is also 44-28 after a loss, and 19-6 after losing three of four. With its ace on the mound at home facing elimination, the pick here is DETROIT to send the ALCS back to Texas.

Two more FoxSheets trends favoring the Tigers include:

Play On - Home favorites with a money line of -110 or higher (DETROIT) - average offensive team (4.7 to 5.2 runs/game) against a good starter (ERA<=4.20) (AL), with a starting pitcher whose gives up 5.5 or less hits/start. (67-22 over the last 5 seasons.) (75.3%, +34.6 units. Rating = 3*).

Play On - Home teams (DETROIT) - average offensive team (4.7 to 5.2 runs/game) against a good starter (ERA<=4.20) (AL), with a starting pitcher whose gives up 5.5 or less hits/start. (90-46 over the last 5 seasons.) (66.2%, +36.2 units. Rating = 2*).

Wilson had control problems in Game 1, walking five batters in only 4.2 innings. Rain delays seemed to throw Wilson off, but it appeared that the lefty just didnít have his best stuff that night. Wilson surprisingly has been much better on the road this year (2.31 ERA) than at home (3.69 ERA). Unlike his team, the lefty also has been quite successful in day games going 5-2 with a 2.71 ERA. Wilson only faced Detroit once in the regular season this year. He threw 6.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. Two players he has loved facing in his career are Victor Martinez (3-for-17, 5 K) and Jhonny Peralta (1-for-14, 7 K).

Verlander really hasnít been able to get a good rhythm going in this postseason with two out of his three starts being interrupted by rain. His only start he didnít have to deal with a delay was Oct. 3 against the Yankees when he went eight innings, and allowed four runs, but struck out 11 and got the win. Even with the Game 1 loss, the Virginia native has been terrific against Texas in his career, going 6-3 with a 2.60 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and has struck out 63 batters in only 62.1 innings. The current Texas roster bats .198 off Verlander in his career, with the biggest struggles coming from Ian Kinsler (3-for-18), Mike Napoli (3-for-15, 5 K), David Murphy (3-for-13, 5 K) and Elvis Andrus (1-for-11).

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