BY: Richard W. Humphrey
Texas blasted Angels’ pitchers for five home runs in a 10-3 rout Tuesday night that inched the team one game closer to home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The win was the 95th of the season for the Rangers which ties the team record. In Detroit, the Tigers kept pace with a 9-6 win over Cleveland. Texas holds a one game lead over the Tigers going into the final day of the season. Either a Texas win or a Detroit loss will send the Rangers back to Arlington to host the Wild Card team Friday afternoon at 4:07 PM CDT.
Colby Lewis was the winning pitcher, his 14th against 10 losses. He was shaky in the beginning, but kicked in to complete six innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits and a walk. Mike Napoli homered twice, his 27th and 28th of the year. Ian Kinsler (32), Nelson Cruz (29) and Adrian Beltre (32) also went long as part of a 15 hit attack.
Manager Ron Washington has contended since clinching the division last Friday that a rested team was more important than home field advantage in the playoffs. However, with home field advantage just a win away, Washington indicated he would play the “A” team Wednesday afternoon in an effort to secure opening the ALDS Friday in Arlington.
There is still no announcement about the balance of the playoff rotation after C. J. Wilson starts game one. However, when Lewis was allowed to pitch Tuesday night essentially without a limit on his pitch count, it was a clear sign that he would not be the game two starter. It is now assumed that Derek Holland will start Saturday’s playoff game. He is the hottest pitcher on the staff with a 9-1 record with a 2.77 ERA over his last 15 starts. It is also assumed that Alexi Ogando will go to the bullpen for the ALDS, and that Lewis and Matt Harrison will be the game three and four starters in some order.
Wednesday afternoon, Harrison (14-9, 3.46) will oppose Garrett Richards (0-2, 8.00). In Detroit, the Tigers will send out Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.76) against the Tribe’s Zach McAllister (0-1, 8.53).