By clinching on Tuesday, the Rangers guaranteed themselves three full days of rest and relaxation before getting back on the field for the ALCS.
They find out who will be in the other dugout on Thursday night when the Yankees and Tigers play a do-or-die Game Five in the Bronx. The Rangers have no say in which team winds up advancing to the ALCS, obviously, but that doesn't mean that you can't have a preference about which team wins Thursday's game.
You might already have an opinon on this question. If you don't, we've compiled a little guide to help you come up with a choice.
Home Field Advantage - The Rangers will get the benefit of the extra home game if the Tigers should prevail, but that's balanced against the fact that the team went into the Bronx and won twice during last year's ALCS. Over the years, home field hasn't meant a tremendous amount to winning baseball series so we're going to go with a draw on this front.
History Against Teams - This doesn't work out well on either front. The Rangers lost six of nine games to the Tigers this year and seven of nine to the Yankees.
If we dial things back a little further, though, you'd have to hope for the Yankees. The Tigers have beaten the Rangers 16 of the last 20 times they've played at Comerica Park, which could negate home field advantage, and the Rangers proved that they can take out the Yankees in a postseason series last year.
Pitching Matchups - Normally getting to rest while the other teams play a fifth game swings the pitching matchups well in your favor, but last Friday's rain suspension takes that away. Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia will be in line to start Game One on Saturday and the two Game Five starters -- Doug Fister and Ivan Nova -- will be in line for two starts as well.
On the Rangers' side, having three lefty starters is a big edge at Yankee Stadium, but the Yankees do a lot of damage to lefty pitching. You'd probably like to see Colby Lewis avoid pitching at home and avoid pitching at Yankee Stadium given his issues with allowing home runs and Rangers hitters did a better job against Tigers pitching this season, so we'll take Detroit and their weaker bullpen here.
Lineups - Yankee hitters also had more success against Rangers pitchers this season, tuning them up to a 6.69 ERA in the nine games between the teams. They haven't gotten much from Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira in the postseason, but Curtis Granderson hit more homers off lefties than anyone else in baseball and Jorge Posada has found his stroke to make a deep lineup that much tougher.
The Tigers might have the best hitter in baseball in Miguel Cabrera, but they have more soft spots in the order than the Yankees. You have to go with the team that's less likely to damage at the plate, which means going with Detroit.
Variety - They say it is the spice of life and nothing would be spicier than a series against the Tigers. The Rangers have never had a trip to the playoffs that didn't include a date with the Yankees, so why not switch things up.
While the Rangers will be fine no matter what happens, the sum total leaves us with the conclusion that rooting for the Tigers is the way to go on Thursday night.