Derek Holland's ALCS Game 2 strike zone plot.

MLB Championships: Rangers’ Bats? How ‘Bout Their Pitching!

On Monday, October 10, the Texas Rangers once again prevailed over the Detroit Tigers to take a 2-0 American League Championship Series (ALCS) series lead.

For a while it looked as if the Rangers were trying to find ways to lose game 2 of this series–Derek Holland manifested a complete lack of command, forcing the Rangers’ bullpen to once again rescue their teammates. And, Michael Young, the Rangers’ emotional leader, and Mike Napoli both seemed out-of-sync at the plate.

Derek Holland's ALCS Game 2 strike zone plot.

Yet, in a tense 3-3 extra-inning tie, the Rangers, led by Young, broke through to load the bases, and Nelson Cruz jacked the first grand slam walk-off in post-season history to clinch the victory for the Rangers.

Now, the AL West champs head to Comerica Park in Detroit to play game 3 against the reeling Tigers. It will be the Rangers’ Colby Lewis against the Tigers’ Doug Fister. Both pitchers rely on good command. Expect game 3 to be well-pitched on both sides with the former Fresno State hurler (Fister) to have a slight edge. Also, the Tiger hitters are due to show up at home.

On the NLCS front, the Cardinals’ heavy lumber made an appearance at Miller Park, leveling the series at one a piece. Once again, Shaun Marcum did not have his command, got behind too many hitters, and the Cards made him pay.

Of course, the Redbirds’ Edwin Jackson threw too many pitches per batter himself, but did make enough key pitches to keep St. Louis in the lead. Albert Pujols, the Cardinals’ great hitter, acted like he was taking batting practice after the game started, crashing three doubles and a home run and driving in five runs.  It was an absolute batting clinic.

Tuesday is a travel day in this match-up, with Wednesday’s contest a highly-anticipated treat–two aces on the mound at Busch. Yes, Chris Carpenter hosting Yovani Gallardo. On paper, this could be a classic. Give the Redbirds a slight edge at home.

Isn’t playoff baseball great?!