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Previewing The American League Playoffs With Team Notes

Baseball starts October a day early this time around

The playoffs in the American League get underway on Friday with two games, and here we will take a little look at each series, before doing the same with the AL Championship Series and then the World Series.

After all the drama of the last days of the Wild Card chases, now we get down to the nitty-gritty of October baseball (with an added day in September for spice).

So, without further ado:

Tampa Bay Rays (91-71) vs. Texas Rangers (96-66)

The Rays sneaked into the postseason on the last day of the regular season, earning a spot minutes after the Red Sox lost to the Orioles when Evan Longoria's homer in extra innings beat the Yankees. Texas, meanwhile, won the West by ten full games over the Angels, and as defending American League champions and with home-field advantage, the Rays should have their hands full.

Tampa Bay features starters James Shields and David Price, while Texas counters with C.J. Wilson and Matt Harrison among others.

Here is a look at Rangers notes, and of course, one good turn deserves another, and so here are notes for the Rays.

The Rangers and the Rays met in the first round last year, and the home team won every game, with Texas using home-field advantage to move on.

Texas won the season series 5-4, splitting six games in Tampa and winning two-of-three in Texas.

Detroit Tigers (95-67) vs. New York Yankees (97-65)

The Yankees won the East by six games and ended up with the best record in the American League, while the Tigers won the Central by 15 games, the largest margin in the Major Leagues.

Detroit of course has probable Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, and will also go to mid-season acquisition Doug Fister at the top of the rotation, while the Yankees feature CC Sabathia and Freddy Garcia.

Here is a look at the Yankees' team report, and here is the same for the Tigers.

The Tigers won the season series 4-3, winning three-of-four in Detroit and losing two-of-three in the Bronx to open the season.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.