ALCS Game 4: Could It Be a Must-Win for the Texas Rangers?

Clay ThomasContributor IIOctober 12, 2011

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 04:  Pitcher Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Pierre Ducharme-Pool/Getty Images)
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I feel so odd saying this, but Game 4 for the Texas Rangers is a must-win game.

Detroit could very easy turn the tables on the Rangers with a win tonight.

Yes, we are up two games to Detroit's one, however, Verlander is almost a lock to win Game 5 Thursday night. If the Rangers want to come home with a 3-2 lead in the series, tonight is a must-win.

If Porcello were to beat Harrison and tie the series up at 2-2, it would give the Tigers a fresh start in a new three-game series in which Verlander will start the first, and they would have a huge boost of momentum in their favor.

The key to the Rangers' success in this series is this: Win one game in Comerica Park. That game is today at 3:19 p.m. CT.

It will be a tough, uphill battle. Every Tiger with an AB against Harrison excluding Ramon Santiago and Don Kelly are hitting at least .400. In his career, Harrison is 1-4 with an ERA of 6.89 against Detroit. Harrison's OBA against Detroit is a swollen .463.

Rangers hitters have gotten to Porcello in prior matchups, but not as extremely. Porcello has a 6.30 ERA and is 1-1 in 10 career innings versus Ranger hitters.

Harrison must rely on his success in his last three starts in order to defeat the Tigers today, and if the Rangers want to end it in Detroit or go back to Arlington with a three games to two advantage, they must extinguish any thought Detroit might have of gaining momentum and making a comeback.

As General George S. Patton puts it, "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."

In other words: Win now.