In the 2011 American League Championship Series, the Detroit Tigers got a hefty dose of the Texas Rangers offense.
And Thursday night, the Tigers (9-4) once again felt the wrath of Texas (11-2) bats in a 10-3 loss at Comerica Park in Detroit.
If tonight's game is to be any different, Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello has to settle in -- and quickly -- against a club he's traditionally struggled against.
During the past three seasons, Porcello, a 23-year-old righty out of New Jersey, owns a 1-1 record against the two-time defending AL champions and touts a lackluster 6.30 earned-run average. He's given up 16 hits in 10 innings to the Rangers, who have hit an impressive .372 in that span.
But maybe Porcello's splits are cause enough to be cautiously optimistic about his outing tonight against the Rangers. Since 2009, he's 20-13 at Comerica with an opponent's batting average of .277. He's surrendered 31 home runs -- and he better watch out against the potent Rangers lineup -- in those 33 decisions and sports a 4.59 ERA.
Porcello's 1.84 ERA is the third-lowest in the AL. However, he'll be up against two of the league's most dangerous hitters: Josh Hamilton and Michael Young. It would be easy to say that the Rangers have Porcello's number -- even easier to say the Rangers lineup has the number of each pitcher it's faced.
The statistics paint a bleak picture -- and tonight isn't the time for a breakdown on Porcello's part.
Hamilton's .426 batting average is tops in the AL, while Young is a close second at an even .400. Hamilton is tied for second for second-most home runs with teammate Mike Napoli (5). And perhaps the icing on the cake is this fact: Napoli, Hamilton and Young each have 12 RBI, placing them in near the top in the AL in that category. Tampa Bay's Luke Scott leads AL hitters with 14.
There's no wonder why the Rangers are one of the most-feared teams in Major League Baseball. They have the firepower to extinguish even the steadiest of pitchers, which, unfortunately for Tigers fans, isn't Porcello.
Porcello has shown the ability to remain calm, at times, against a powerful docket of hitters. But he hasn't been the most reliable, especially against Texas. History isn't always right. Past stats are just that, past stats. However, if the young Tigers hurler wants to go against the grain and not have a bad outing against Rangers sluggers, he'll have to be careful when pitching to Napoli, Hamilton and Young.
Adam Biggers has followed Major League Baseball for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Tigers. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.