Commentary

Texas two times

The Rangers' depth will lead them back to the World Series for the second straight year

Updated: October 7, 2011, 4:18 PM ET
By Jason Grey | ESPN Insider
Josh HamiltonJim Cowsert/US PresswireJosh Hamilton crushes right-handed pitching (career .958 OPS against), which is all the Tigers have.

My biggest concern about the Detroit Tigers entering the playoffs was what appeared to be a lack of lineup depth, despite ranking fourth in the majors in runs scored. However, the Tigers were able to advance to the ALCS thanks to contributions from some unlikely sources. Those sources will likely have to continue to produce for Detroit to advance into the World Series past a tough, rested Rangers team that still looks just as formidable as it did before the playoffs started.

Timely production from Don Kelly, Brandon Inge and Ramon Santiago helped enable a tight, five-game series victory against the New York Yankees. Compounding the issues for the Tigers entering the next round is the potential loss of Delmon Young, who hit three homers in the ALDS before leaving Game 5 with an oblique strain. Granting that the Tigers may very well get more production out of players such as Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta this series to make up for it, one five-game series doesn't change the depth issues in the lineup. Austin Jackson's .317 regular-season on-base percentage doesn't necessarily set the table for the rest of the order, and he had a .188 OBP in the ALDS. That won't cut it.