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What to watch vs. Detroit Tigers

A few things to keep an eye on as the Rangers and Tigers get things set up for the American League Championship Series:

* Who pitches Game 2 for the Rangers? We know C.J. Wilson and Justin Verlander are scheduled to tangle in what should be a fun Game 1. But what about Game 2? The Rangers could keep the same rotation, and go with Derek Holland in Game 2 at home and send Colby Lewis, whose road splits were much better than his home ones, in Game 3 at Comerica Park.

Lewis is coming off a solid outing in Tampa in a pivotal Game 3. Holland was able to grind out a solid start as well in Game 2, so the Rangers might elect to leave things the way they are. That would include Matt Harrison in Game 4, also on the road. Wilson and Verlander likely would go at it again in Game 5 in Detroit, if both stay on normal rest.

* Jim Leyland's decision to have Verlander throw a side session of more than 50 pitches before Game 5 at Yankee Stadium had some folks raising their eyebrows. But he sent a clear message to Doug Fister that Game 5 was his game. And the Tigers got the win without having to use their ace.

* Who starts Game 2 for the Tigers? Max Scherzer, who pitched 1 1/3 innings in Game 5, likely could do it. That would leave Fister, who started in Game 5, for Game 3 on Tuesday in Detroit on full rest.

* Watch the big outfield in Comerica Park. Craig Gentry said Thursday that he's ready for that area to cover a lot of ground, and Josh Hamilton said he'd be fine but noted there was plenty of room in center out there.

* The Rangers must decide whether to carry an extra pitcher. It seems likely they'll do that, but which one? Darren O'Day and Yoshinori Tateyama threw side sessions Thursday, and they seem to be the leading candidates. Michael Kirkman also could be considered.

* Both Texas and Detroit benefited from great bullpens in the AL Division Series. Joaquin Benoit pitched in and out of a jam in the seventh Thursday, and Jose Valverde didn't blow a save all season. The Rangers have Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz for the final three innings. Watching these two bullpens work should be fun -- and you better score some runs early.

* Ogando started in all three of the Rangers' wins versus Detroit and posted a 1.29 ERA, and the Tigers batted just .205 against him. He allowed three runs on 18 hits in 21 innings (18 strikeouts, three walks).

* Regular-season results aren't necessarily a great gauge of how a postseason series will go. That's especially true for the Rangers against the Tigers. Why? For starters, they weren't particularly healthy when playing Detroit (after all, Hamilton got hurt in the first series up there), and many of the players who found their way into games aren't even on the roster anymore. Dave Bush started one game against the Tigers with bullpen pieces coming in who won't be on the postseason roster.

Plus, the bullpen let some games get away early in the season versus Detroit, and it's not the same bullpen in Texas now. The last time the two teams played was Aug. 4. A lot has happened for both teams since then.

* Is Verlander to the Tigers like Cliff Lee was to the Rangers in last year's ALCS? Lee pitched only once in the ALCS in 2010. But he hung over the series. The Yankees knew they had the pressure on them to win the first two on the road with Lee waiting. Verlander will pitch at least twice in this series. If he wins those games, it gives the Tigers a big edge. But if Wilson gets the better of Verlander, it's a huge boost for Texas. So those games should be fun and big for momentum. Of course, the Tigers could decide to go with Verlander on short rest (he's said he's willing), and pitch him in Game 4 and Game 7. We'll see.

* The Rangers hit .275 as a team against the Tigers, but some of that was one particularly good game. They'll need Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus to hit better off them than they did in the regular season.