October Confidential: Rangers

Rival players offer inside look at facing the AL West champs

October Confidential: Rangers

How do you beat the Rangers? MLB.com asked rival players from around Major League Baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face the AL West champions.

Cole Hamels
"You know he's going to throw you strikes. You want to try to see a fastball out over the plate because he's going to cut the ball in on you and change speeds. He's going to come right at you at times. Personally, I try to see the ball out over the plate because you know he will eventually show you the curve, cut you in and then throw the changeup away to keep you honest. He'll throw any of those pitches at any time. That's what makes him so good."
-- NL East outfielder

"He's one of the best lefties in the game. Lefties are so rare in the league. It's very tough to face a lefty like that, especially in the postseason. They can get through games really quick if their stuff is on, and Cole is one of those guys."  
-- AL West infielder

Game Date Result
Gm 1 Oct. 8 TEX 5, TOR 3
Gm 2 Oct. 9 TEX 6, TOR 4
Gm 3 Oct. 11 TOR 5, TEX 1
Gm 4 Oct. 12 TOR 8, TEX 4
Gm 5 Oct. 14 TOR 6, TEX 3

Colby Lewis
"He's not going to overpower you by any means, but he's got guts. He has to rely on location. He doesn't have the stuff that he used to, where he's going to blow guys away, but if he's keeping the ball down and he's changing speeds and changing timing, that's how he's successful. He's always been a big-game pitcher. He's got a great postseason resume. He definitely rises to the occasion."
-- AL West outfielder

Yovani Gallardo
"He's a reason why Milwaukee was so good all those years. He was a huge pickup for Texas. He seems stone-cold out there. I think he's a guy that definitely wants the ball in big games, clutch situations. He's got wipeout stuff, and he can ride you for a full nine innings and get it done when your team needs it."
-- AL West infielder

Martin Perez
"Young guy with good stuff. He pitched that one-game playoff against the Rays, so he's got a little bit of experience and he's got some good stuff."
-- AL West outfielder

Shawn Tolleson
"He's got a very above-average changeup, and he seems like he's got a bulldog mentality. I don't know if he's necessarily a guy most people look at as a closer, but he's stepped into that role and he's done a great job there."  
-- AL West outfielder

Adrian Beltre
"Beltre is one of the most respected players in the game, both because of how good he is on defense and because of how consistently he is on offense. And despite having injury problems this year, he still found a way to be a productive player in the lineup and a difficult out. He's a Hall of Fame candidate. I think his biggest weakness is that he's aggressive. So, if he's in a position to get the big hit, he's going to get the big hit. But sometimes, depending on how the lineup is constructed on a given day, you might not have to pitch to him directly."
-- AL West starting pitcher

Mitch Moreland
Moreland is probably one of the more underrated players. He can hit the ball as far as anybody. If you leave a ball outer half, thigh-high, he can hit the ball to dead center, he can pull it, he can hit a home run opposite field. So you have to be really careful falling behind in the count with him. If you get ahead in the count, you can neutralize him. He will be aggressive, he'll chase, but in that lineup, I think he's one of those guys that if he gets hits, they're going to win. You're expecting a lot of production from Fielder and Beltre, and if Moreland piles on on top of that then you're going to have a difficult time."
-- AL West starting pitcher

Prince Fielder
"Fielder's a scary hitter. He has the ability to go up there and hit singles, or he can hit the ball 500 feet. When you face a guy who has 500-foot power and you don't know what his approach is on a given day, then you might not be able to get him out three or four times in a row. I think with guys like him, you have to pitch to him, pitch aggressively, because if you walk them, it actually makes him better. If you pitch around him too much, too blatantly, it'll actually make him a better hitter in the following at-bats throughout the game or the series."
-- AL West starting pitcher

Elvis Andrus
"Elvis is a very streaky player. He has the potential to steal bases and let his speed be a part of his game, but obviously he doesn't have power. In that lineup, Elvis is one of few guys that you want to hit the ball in the air, especially to the middle of the field or to the opposite field. The majority of his power is down and in, and if you stay away from that, you can get him out. But he's obviously turned the corner once the second half rolled around. He's been hitting a lot better. I think he's probably playing a lot more to the level of his physical talent, and less towards whatever kind of attitude issues come out from time to time."
-- AL West starting pitcher

Shin-Soo Choo
"His core skill set is getting on base. He's got a little bit of power, he can hit for average, but more than anything, it's his ability to get on base for Fielder and Beltre and Moreland that makes him difficult. In that stadium especially, right field is kind of a joke. If you hit the ball mildly well to right field, it's kind of like Yankee Stadium -- you have a really good chance at extra bases. And because Choo has a fly-ball swing, pitching to him at home versus on the road is a totally different ballgame. So, it depends on where you're pitching to him. You might have to change your strategy a little bit. Just like Fielder, you have to pitch him aggressively and try to get him out on balls just a little bit outside of the strike zone, as opposed to trying to trick him, like you would with some of the less experienced hitters."
-- AL West starting pitcher