Two more wins. That's all the Texas Rangers need to clinch their second consecutive American League pennant and return to the World Series. On Tuesday night, the Rangers will have an opportunity to pick up one of those two wins as the ALCS shifts to Detroit for Game 3.
On Monday night, Nelson Cruz made postseason history, delivering the first walk-off grand slam in MLB postseason history as the Rangers beat the Tigers 7-3 in 11 innings. Though that's a tough act to follow, the Rangers would settle for any type of win they can get in Game 3.
Colby Lewis starts for the Rangers, and he desperately needs to turn in a good start. Texas has not seen either of their starters pitch deep into either of the ALCS games thus far, with C.J. Wilson failing to escape the fifth inning (thanks in part to rain), and Derek Holland failing to escape the third inning of Monday's extra inning affair.
Lewis starting on the road should be beneficial to him. Lewis has been plagued by the long ball this year, surrendering 35 home runs in 200 and 1/3 innings this season. On the road, however, Lewis has only given up 13 home runs in 107 and 2/3 innings, a much better recipe for success.
Lewis and the Rangers won in Lewis' only ALDS start, a game in which Lewis pitched six innings, giving up just one run on one hit, while walking two and striking out six.
Texas' offense will face off against Doug Fister, who last pitched against the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALDS. Fister, who was acquired from the Seattle Mariners this season, quietly put together an excellent campaign in 2011. Fister posted a 2.83 ERA to go along with a 1.06 WHIP and .237 BAA, as he walked only 37 in 216 and 1/3 innings on the season. Fister's ERA and WHIP were fourth and sixth best in the American League.
A win by the Rangers on Tuesday night would all but end the series, and would put the Tigers on the brink of elimination.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT at Comerica Park in Detroit. Televised coverage can be found nationally on FOX.