Things have to get better for the Rangers.
Or at least, they can't get worse, as Game 1 of the ALDS between the Rangers and Rays was a nightmare for Ron Washington's crew. Tampa Bay, behind Kelly Shoppach's two home runs, routed C.J. Wilson and the Rangers 9-0 to take a 1-0 ALDS lead.
Derek Holland will look to fare better than Wilson did, as he starts against the Rays in Game 2. Holland, who has been inconsistent throughout the year, will look to continue dominant September. After going 2-1 with an ugly 5.13 ERA and .336 BAA in August, Holland turned it around and went 4-0 in September, with a 2.20 ERA and .188 BAA.
It won't get any easier for Texas' bats in Game 2. The Rangers couldn't muster up a run against rookie Matt Moore, and they'll have to face Tampa Bay's best pitcher in Game 2 -- James Shields.
Shields' record was merely 16-12 this year, yet another indictment against the win/loss statistics for pitchers. Shields made 33 starts, pitching a complete game 11 times, and a shutout four times en route to a 2.82 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and .217 BAA. Shields struck out 225 in 249 and 1/3 innings as well.
Shields did make two starts against Texas in 2011, pitching 17 innings, allowing just one run on eight hits and three walks -- good for a .140 BAA and 0.53 ERA.