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ALCS Game 1 Preview: Verlander vs. Wilson


Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers

Probable Pitchers:
Saturday, Oct. 8, 8 p.m.
RHP Justin Verlander (2.40 ERA, 3.12 xFIP, 8.96 K/(, 2.40 BB/9, 8.8% HR/FB)
Hitter to Fear: Josh Hamilton (.364 avg, .462 OBP, .364 slg) -- Seriously, of Rangers with 10 or more at bats against Verlander he's probably the best.
Hitter to Fail: Elvis Andrus (.091 avg, obp and slg in 11 AB. Off to a slow start in the ALDS, too.)


LHP C.J. Wilson (2.94 ERA, 3.41 xFIP, 8.3 K/9, 2.98 BB/9, 8.2% HR/FB)
Hitter to Fear: Miguel Cabrera (Like most Tigers, incredibly small sample size against Wilson. Unlike most Tigers, he's Miguel Cabrera)
Hitter to Fail: Victor Martinez: (.176, .273, .235)

3 points:

1. I don't think it's good to ever read too much into individual matchups. The Tigers haven't seen a lot of Wilson. However, they have hit slightyl better against left-handed batters than right-handers, so that's a good place to start. Their winning % vs. lefty starters is .607 (31-20). They hit .286 / .353 / .433 against lefty starters, about 20 points of OPS better than against righties. If you like the saber stuff, vs. lefties their wOBA ranks 5th in baseball at .340.

2. C.J. Wilson is, of course, a pretty good pitcher. Detroit hit him pretty well the only time they faced him this year, but, well, sample size. Jumping on him early would be nice, as it seems to take him 25 pitches or so to put things together. He's very good his first and second time through the lineup, though. But after that he takes a hit.

3. Justin Verlander needs to start faster. Both starts against New York, he allowed runs in the first inning. Normally JV settles in and pitches pretty well through the first six innings, and sometimes the seventh and eighth as well. If he can make it through the first two innings without allowing a run, that's a pretty good sign for Detroit and a frightening one for Texas. Verlander has to get through to the 8th inning, because the seventh is still kind of an iffy proposition for Detroit.

ALCS Game 2, Sunday at Texas (Max Scherzer at Derek Holland)