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Younger Starters Have Big Game Experience after ALDS

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland.

    Heading into the postseason, Texas Rangers fans had plenty of confidence in C.J. Wilson. That's what a 2.94 regular-season ERA will do for you.

    Fans probably even had a healthy amount of confidence in Colby Lewis, solely based on his 2010 postseason and despite his shaky 2011 regular season.

    But after that, it was a bit shaky when it comes to big-game experience.

    Matt Harrison was not on the postseason roster last year but read some sports psychology books and won 14 games this year with a 3.39 ERA. Alexi Ogando had some late-season struggles, but still managed to win 13 games and turn in a 3.51 ERA. Derek Holland was the biggest surprise of the season with 16 wins and a 3.95 ERA, and he was the best pitcher on the staff after July 1.

    There were unanswered questions for all three in the postseason. Ogando was trying to transition back to being in the bullpen, Harrison was making his first postseason appearance and Holland had to recover from his postseason disaster last year in the World Series when he couldn't throw a strike.

    They've all been answered positively. Holland won Game 2 after Wilson dropped Game 1 of the ALDS and got a big hold in the clinching Game 4 when he relieved Harrison. Harrison struck out a career-high nine batters in five innings and picked up the win in the clinching game. Ogando pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief in the ALDS, pitching in all three Ranger wins and picking up holds in each. He allowed just one hit, no walks and struck out two.

    So there you have it. In the biggest game of the year, so far, the three unproven Rangers starters had a hand in the clinching game and got the Rangers to where they are now, back in the ALCS.