If the Texas Rangers had drawn the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS instead of the right-handed heavy Toronto Blue Jays lineup, there's a pretty solid chance that Yovani Gallardo might not have been on the postseason roster.
But with the Blue Jays on deck, who kill lefties, there's an equally great chance lefty Martin Perez could be in the same boat.
Then, there's veteran righty Colby Lewis, who won 17 games this year with a ton of run support and an ERA inflated by a handful of awful starts. Lewis fits the bill against the Blue Jays as far as being right-handed, but he's also struggled pretty badly over the last month of the regular season while Perez pitched very well in his last two starts. Oh, and there's that whole thing Lewis has going for him of being the greatest postseason pitcher in Rangers history.
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So what will the Rangers do if they get to a Game 4 in Arlington next Monday? Who knows.
Game 1 is going to Gallardo, who's owned the Blue Jays this year and has a pretty salty postseason track record of his own. Game 2 goes to ace Cole Hamels, who will also work a possible decisive Game 5 on regular rest.
You can safely assume Derek Holland will draw a Game 3 start on Sunday night in Arlington, which leaves one game open for three possible guys — Lewis, Perez and yes, even a possible Gallardo start on three days' rest if he doesn't work too deep into Thursday's opener but has success against the Blue Jays.
Over their last five starts, Perez and Lewis have worked an almost identical amount — 29 innings for Perez and 29 2/3 innings for Lewis. Yet, Lewis' ERA is more than a full run more than Perez's (4.55 vs. 3.41) despite Lewis' 3-1 record in those starts to Perez's 1-2 mark, proving further than win-loss record means nothing for starting pitching.
But Lewis' postseason experience holds a lot of water, as it should, compared to Perez's history in the postseason — zero outings, although he did start a Game 163 Wild Card tiebreaker in 2013 and lost it to David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays.
It's a tough call, one that could be easier if Lewis could come out of the bullpen, but with his health issues that doesn't seem to be an option. I think you can expect to see Lewis toe the rubber in Game 4 and Perez not make the roster, but don't be shocked if it's the opposite or something else altogether.