Blog Entry

With rainy win, Rangers take away Verlander edge

Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: October 9, 2011 1:46 am
 
ARLINGTON, Texas -- With Justin Verlander available for Game 1, the Tigers had an edge in this American League Championship Series.

As long as he won.

He didn't. You can argue about why he didn't -- another rain-interrupted game? Verlander's atypical lack of command? the Rangers' strong lineup? home-plate umpire Tim Welke's small and sometimes inconsistent strike zone? -- but you can't argue the result.

You can't argue that whatever Verlander edge the Tigers had before the series began has already disappeared.

You can even argue that it's already been replaced by an Alexi Ogando edge for the Rangers, because their reliever-turned-starter-turned-reli
ever turned in the pitching performance of the night. After the second of two rain delays, Ogando pitched two hitless innings, setting up the Rangers for their Game 1 win.

Either way, one game into the ALCS, the Rangers have a bigger edge than one game to none, a bigger edge than any home team should have when it wins the opener, which the Rangers did, 3-2.

In fact, one Tigers person went so far Saturday afternoon as to say that Game 1 was almost must-win for the visitors, a truly unusual situation in a best-of-7 series. His reasoning: To win the ALCS, the Tiger pitchers must slow down a very hot Rangers offense, and Verlander was the guy with the very best chance of doing it.

The Rangers didn't exactly beat up on Verlander. Before he left the game at the first of two rain delays, he had pitched four innings and allowed three runs.

But this is worse for the Tigers than Verlander's rain-affected start in the Division Series against the Tigers. He threw just 25 pitches that night at Yankee Stadium, so he was able to come back for Game 3.

Verlander threw 82 pitches Saturday night, meaning the soonest he could return would be for Game 4. It's just as possible that manager Jim Leyland would hold to his original plan and pitch Verlander in Game 5.

Either way, it's likely he'll start just once more in this series.

And it's a series that the Tigers already trail.

They could win Game 2 Sunday, and come home with a split. That's not bad.

But the Verlander edge seems to be gone. The Tiger edge may be gone with it.

Comments

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Since: Nov 27, 2011
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With rainy win, Rangers take away Verlander edge




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Since: Oct 21, 2011
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