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Tigers Have to Be Comfortable

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Tigers Have to Be Comfortable

Derek Holland and Colby Lewis.

C.J. Wilson failed to outduel Justin Verlander on a day when Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland said before the game even started it was all up to Verlander and reliever Phil Coke to get his team back to Arlington needing to win two straight games.

But Verlander and Coke gave the Tigers that chance, as meager as it might be considering the Rangers haven't lost back-to-back games since Aug. 24 and 25 and haven't lost three straight since July 31-Aug. 2, with the last two of those coming to the Tigers.

Still, two months without losing three straight is pretty salty.

But the Tigers have to like where they're at considering those circumstances.

Unless Rangers manager Ron Washington flips the script and goes with Scott Feldman or Alexi Ogando, who is 4-0 against the Tigers this year instead of Derek Holland on Saturday, the Tigers will get two pitchers who just haven't been very good in Rangers Ballpark.

At home this season, Holland had an ERA of 4.69, compared to his road ERA of 3.39. With that said, his offense loves him as he got an incredible 7.64 runs per game, leading the American League in run support.

Then there's Colby Lewis, the postseason sensei. The best pitcher in Rangers postseason history took his first career postseason loss in Game 3 in Detroit and was a completely different pitcher at home this season than he was on the road.

Lewis had a road ERA of 3.43 with a 9-5 record. At home? He was 5-5 with a 5.54 ERA, even more of a difference than Holland. Lewis would line up to pitch Game 7 on Sunday night if the Rangers can't close it out on Saturday night.

The Rangers would have to be confident based on Lewis' history in the postseason, including pitching the clincher in last year's ALCS and winning the only game in the World Series. But the home struggles this season would be a concern.

Meanwhile, the Tigers will throw out Max Scherzer in Game 6 and Doug Fister, who absolutely owned the Rangers lineup in Game 3, for a Game 7 tilt against Lewis.

In other words, the Tigers still have a huge uphill climb, but this thing is far from over.

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