Tigers manager Jim Leyland named his entire starting rotation for the American League Division Series against the A's on Friday with the only surprise being Max Scherzer starting Game 4, if necessary, on Wednesday in Oakland.♦ Rangers' hitting still amiss in Wild Card loss (Forth Worth Star Telegram)
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Leyland said that, because Scherzer is coming off shoulder and ankle problems, he opted to give him the extra day in the best-of-five series.
"I think it's pretty obvious that Verlander -- rested -- was going to open up the first game," Leyland said. "With Scherzer's situation, it was also pretty obvious that Fister was going to pitch the second game. And where you get into a little bit of dilemma there, as I mentioned, is the Scherzer situation, coming off a little bit of the [injured] ankle and the shoulder.
"We decided that that would be the best way to go. And it would also, just by pitching Sanchez in front of Scherzer, would keep Sanchez from being off too, too long. I know it's only one day, but it's a little help."
The moment of truth came for the Texas Rangers in the eighth inning Friday night and most everyone at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington seemed to know it.
Josh Hamilton stood at the plate with the Rangers trailing 3-1, contemplating what he must have realized could be his final at-bat in a Texas uniform. Ian Kinsler waited at second base. He also had to know that this two-out at-bat by the vaunted Rangers slugger would tell the tale on the Rangers' season.
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Goodnight and goodbye from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for 2012. Hope to see you next year.
No Sunday and Monday matchup at home with the Yankees in the ALDS. No third straight American League pennant. No three's-the-charm World Series.