With Game 1 of the 2011 ALCS starting tonight in Arlington, Texas, the Rangers will begin their quest for a second straight AL Pennant. The Rangers have a clear edge in the series against the Detroit Tigers, and they will show that tonight.

The Tigers did not pitch ace Justin Verlander in the deciding Game 5 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees, so he is ready to go tonight against the Rangers’ ace C.J. Wilson.

This pitching match is slightly in Verlander’s favor, but the Yankees proved to us that a good, deep lineup like that of the Rangers can do enough damage to get some runs off Verlander. 

If Verlander doesn’t go eight innings tonight (long enough to get to closer Jose Valverde), then the Tigers will be forced to rely upon less-than-stellar relievers like Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth.

The Rangers just need to get to the Tigers’ bullpen if they want to win, as the only pitcher they should fear is Valverde.

I don’t see Verlander going too deep into the game tonight, and if the Rangers get two or three runs off of him, and one or two off of the bullpen, they will be sure to win.

Once the Rangers win tonight, they will not only take an early 1-0 advantage, they will essentially eliminate the fact that the Tigers have one of the best pitchers in the game because Verlander will only be pitching in one more game.

The Rangers have a lineup filled with both power and contact, led by Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli. This lineup is going to be scoring runs in every game they play in, and not even Verlander will be able to shut them down completely.

While the Tigers’ lineup is not a bad one, their core of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Alex Avila is not nearly as good as that of the Rangers.

The Rangers have an advantage at the plate, but their pitching is also doing very well.

C.J. Wilson proved he’s legit, while Derek Holland and Matt Harrison have both proved their worth. Colby Lewis had a poor regular season, but he rebounded nicely in the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, going six innings and allowing only one hit.

While that hit was a home run, he still proved that this is his time of year.

The Rangers also have a deep bullpen they can count on. Closer Neftali Feliz is still one of the best in the game today, but he is now joined by stud Mike Adams, Mike Gonzalez, and returning pitchers Alexi Ogando and Darren Oliver.

The Rangers are the definition of a complete team, and they hold a big advantage over the Tigers in the ALCS. Look for them to win their second ALCS in two years.

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