By Jonathan Lee
The ALCS starts Saturday with a rested Justin Verlander taking the ball against lefty C.J. Wilson.
The Rangers took on the hottest team in baseball in the Rays and sent them home in four games behind a powerful offense. The Tigers were able to pull out a decisive Game 5 win in the Bronx to reach the championship series for the first time since 2006.
We expect each team to go with four man pitching rotations in the same order as the division series. That means Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, and Matt Harrison following Wilson for the Rangers. Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, and Rick Porcello would follow Verlander for the Tigers. Fister would pitch Game 3 after getting the win in the final game against the Yankees.
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With this pitching alignment, AccuScore simulations project Texas to win the series 59 percent of the time. Texas is predictably favored in each of its four home games (1, 2, 6, and 7). A potential Harrison vs. Porcello match-up in Game 7 in Arlington is the most lopsided result. One thing to note is that the simulations are especially fond of Lewis against the Tigers resulting in the Rangers winning 56 percent of the time on the road in Game 3.
Another thing that stands out is that Detroit is only favored, albeit significantly, in one game in the series. Game 5 would be started by Verlander at home, and he is predictably a strong bet to produce a win.
Below are the per-game projections for the ALCS. Remember that these odds can and will change given lineups, pitching changes, or injuries (Delmon Young, etc.).
Game 1: Texas 55%
Game 2: Texas 52%
Game 3: Texas 56%
Game 4: Texas 53%
Game 5: Detroit 62%
Game 6: Texas 52%
Game 7: Texas 70%