Tag:Tigers
Posted on: October 9, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 3:30 pm
 

ALCS Game 2 postponed

By Evan Brunell

ALCS Game 2 has been postponed due to heavy rains. It will be played at 4:19 p.m. ET Monday.

Max Scherzer and Derek Holland will be pushed back a day and oppose each other on Monday. The remainder of the ALCS will remain as scheduled, with Monday's travel day removed.

The Rangers currently lead the series 1-0 after defeating the Tigers Saturday night.

ALCS Coverage: Game 2 preview | Texas wins Game 1 | Cruz HR sets record |

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Posted on: October 9, 2011 2:30 am
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Posted on: October 9, 2011 2:28 am
 

Short Verlander start throws Game 4 into question

Verlander

By Evan Brunell


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Two rain delays derailed Justin Verlander's start in Game 1, thereby limiting him to just 4 2/3 innings. After tossing just 82 pitches, the question naturally springs to mind: Will Verlander come back to start Game 4? Such a decision could have enormous ramifications on the series, as Verlander pitching in Game 4 would allow him to appear in Game 7, possibly as a starter and certainly as a reliever.

"We're going to go down and look at it," manager Jim Leyland said after the game. "We started to map a couple of things out during the one rain delay, but we don't have anything for you at this time.

"We're not trying to hide anything. We just haven't figured it all out."

Leyland fielded multiple questions on the topic, and started to get irritated on the third question.

"I'm trying to be patient. ... You can talk to me until you're blue in the face about the rotation. I don't have anything for you."

Leyland may not have anything, but the move to start Verlander should be obvious, especially after Porcello tossed 22 pitches in relief of Verlander. While the 22-year-old Porcello has a ton of promise and debuted at age 20 just two years after being picked in the first round, Verlander is clearly the better pitcher at this stage. He should be able to go on three days rest. How can the Tigers not make this move?

While Verlander may have been able to come out of the bullpen regardless in a potential Game 7 should he stay on track to start Game 5, giving Verlander the Game 4 assignment allows the team so much flexibility in Game 7. Maybe Verlander starts, maybe Max Scherzer (drawing the ball in Game 2) still starts and Verlander comes in relief for a few innings. And heck, Verlander drawing the ball in Game 4 would allow the club to go to a three-man rotation, eschewing Porcello and giving Scherzer the Game 5 or 6 start.

Either way, it's never a bad thing to have your best pitcher available in the final, winner-take-all, game.

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Posted on: October 9, 2011 2:12 am
Edited on: October 10, 2011 1:43 pm
 

ALCS Game 2: Tigers look to even series up

Scherzer, Holland

By Evan Brunell

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tigers at Rangers, 4:19 p.m. ET, October 10, Rangers Ballpark

WHO HAS THE EDGE?


Yeah, Texas won Game 1, but the Tigers still have a thin edge in Game 2. Why?

The Tigers constantly threatened to break the game wide open each of the first several innings, but could never get that big hit. Texas was able to smack Justin Verlander around enough that even if there was no rain delay, the right-hander was probably coming out of the game after five or six innings anyways, having allowed seven baserunners. All told, Detroit reached base 13 times compared to Texas' nine, which includes an error by Austin Jackson.

Then add in the pitching matchup, which you can learn more about below. Both Max Scherzer and Derek Holland are pitchers long on potential that have experienced some difficulty putting it all together. Each pitcher's respective performances in the ALDS was strong, and Holland rebounded after a shaky beginning to Game 2, but Scherzer came away more impressive in the end.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Tigers' Max Scherzer: Going on three days rest after hurling 1 1/3 innings of one-run relief against the Yankees, Scherzer has taken to the playoffs beautifully and also blanked the Yankees for six innings in Game 2. The righty originally was supposed to start Game 4, but that would have limited him to just one start, and the team could have really used him for two. Now they get that chance.

"He convinced me yesterday. And Max, he's up front with everything. He would never mislead me in any way, shape and form," Jim Leyland said prior to Game 1 of the ALCS, being convinced in due part to Scherzer playing catch on Friday and feeling 100 percent."He's raring and ready to go."

Scherzer's posted a 4.09 ERA since the All-Star break, but that doesn't do justice to how good he's been since mid-July. He punched out 78 and walked just 18 in 82 2/3 post-break innings, with a fielding-independent ERA in the low 3.00s showing just how good he's been. He made three starts against the Rangers in 2011, posting a 4.76 ERA in 17 innings, striking out 12 and walking four, with the team winning two games.

"Scherzer, what an arm," Rangers manager Ron Washington raved.. It's unorthodox, doesn't throw anything straight, and for some reason when he faces us, he finds the strike zone with more consistency with all his pitches."

Much like his opponent Monday, Scherzer has struggled with consistency in his command. "It's been a challenge this whole year of constantly making adjustments throughout mechanically with each pitch and how I want to execute it throughout the whole year," the pitcher said. I felt like the last five starts, the way of my stuff and the way of my mechanics, I felt in a good position."

Rangers' Derek Holland: Holland has been tantalizing many with his potential for quite some time, and he's finally starting to deliver on his promise. As Washington put it prior to Game 1 of the ALCS, "Right now he's not a total thoroughbred. He's just a little pony, but he'll develop into a thoroughbred."

Holland has had to battle inconsistency in the past with both command and jitters, He had a forgettable 2010 postseason thanks to that, posting a 4.76 ERA in 11 1/3 innings, but so far this postseason has been an impact lefty. He scuffled in the first inning of Game 2 of the ALDS against the Rays, but pulled it together to go five innings, giving up three runs, two unearned. He also appeared in relief in Game 5, blanking Tampa for 1 1/3 innings.

"Last year, I didn't really know what to expect, how to handle anything," Holland said before Game 1. I have a better idea, especially after being around with [Cliff Lee] and then C.J. [Wilson] has been helping me big time this year in how to handle myself as a starter. This year it's a big difference. I'm a lot more relaxed and I would say composed."

Holland has only started once against the Tigers, coming last season when he held Detroit to one run in four innings, knocked out with a rising pitch count due to walking two and striking out five. Delmon Young had the best success for Detroit against Holland, facing him twice while with Minnesota and collecting six hits in 12 at-bats. Unfortunately, Young isn't on the roster. Wilson Betemit and Victor Martinez are the only active Tigers who have a hit off Holland.

LINEUPS


Tigers Rangers
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Austin Jackson CF 1 Ian Kinsler 2B
2 Ramon Santiago SS 2 Elvis Andrus SS
3 Delmon Young LF 3 Josh Hamilton CF
4 Miguel Cabrera 1B 4 Michael Young DH
5 Victor Martinez DH 5 Adrian Beltre 3B
6 Ryan Raburn RF 6 Mike Napoli C
7 Jhonny Peralta SS 7 Nelson Cruz RF
8 Alex Avila C 8 David Murphy LF
9 Brandon Inge 3B 9 Mitch Moreland 1B

Max Scherzer RHP
Derek Holland LHP

NOTES
  • Unlike the NLCS, there's no rancor between the teams involved in the ALCS. During Jim Leyland's press conference, he went on and on about how amazing Ron Washington has been in Texas and said that they are not enemies, just friends managing against each other. Meanwhile, both teams fraternized during BP with smiles on everyone's face. Miguel Cabrera was a popular man and could be sighted laughing uproariously with Washington.
  • Nelson Cruz's home run snapped a 1-for-16 skid in the postseason following a brutal September. It was a special homer for him too, as it's his seventh postseason homer (in just two seasons). That's the most in Rangers franchise history, breaking a tie with Juan Gonzalez.
  • The winning team in Game 1 of the ALCS has won the series 24 of 41 times, or 59 percent. That number dips to 52 percent when you limit it to only when the ALCS shifted to a best-of-seven since 1985. However, seven of the last 11 ALCS have been won by the Game 1 losing team.

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Posted on: October 9, 2011 2:04 am
Edited on: October 9, 2011 3:09 am
 

Nelson Cruz homer sets postseason team record

Nelson Cruz

By Evan Brunell


ARLINGTON, Texas -- WIth one swing of the bat, Nelson Cruz made history.

In the fourth inning, Cruz took a Justin Verlander changeup deep into the night, giving Texas the margin of victory needed to win Game 1, 3-2. 

It also happened to be the homer that gave Cruz the franchise lead in postseason home runs, breaking a tie with Juan Gonzalez after smashing six home runs in the Rangers' run to the AL pennant last season. He registered surprise at the feat, not realizing what he had done.

"This is nice, you know," Cruz told CBSSports.com. "Here we don't worry about records, we worry about wins. That's the important thing. But you take it one at bat at a time and, hopefully, you get good results."

Cruz's homer came on a 2-0 fastball down the middle. While one might have thought Cruz was sitting dead-red for a fastball, he was paying attention earlier in the game.

"One of the at-bats, I don't remember [who it was], 2-0, [Verlander] threw a change-up. It was a change-up. I was trying to be aggressive," Cruz said after the game. "First at-bat he threw me some pitches out of the strike zone. So I told myself just to be patient and wait for the right pitch to hit.

Cruz had previously been 1-for-16 in the playoffs, as well as ending the season on a forgettable note with a .190/.205/.286 line after missing the first half of September with a strained hamstring. Throughout the ALDS, Cruz and manager Ron Washington maintained that it was only a matter of time before Cruz got his stroke back, as he was yielding positive results in batting practice.

"Defintely the last few games, I feel like I swung the bat well," Cruz said. "I was lucky enough -- but the situation, playoffs, you don't care about what you do. You want the results."

Despite the slump Cruz entiered the game in, he extended his LCS hitting streak to seven games, as well as notching an extra-base hit in each of the last four contests, with home runs in three of the games. After a poor offensive display against the Rays, Texas really needed Cruz to come through against Verlander for the Rangers to have any hope of winning the game. And he did.

"We certainly needed what he gave us tonight," Washington said. "We needed that big home run off of Verlander."

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Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: October 9, 2011 2:17 am
 

Rain affects outcome of ALCS Game 1, Rangers win

Rain

By Evan Brunell


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers won Game 1 of the ALCS, 3-2.

Hero: With C.J. Wilson bounced after 4 2/3 innings, Texas needed someone to step up and bridge the team to the eighth inning. It found its man in Alexi Ogando, the former starter who was sent to the bullpen for the postseason due to running out of gas in his first year as a starter. Ogando dazzled, punching out three batters in two innings and allowing just one baserunner on a walk. Detroit had been threatening to break through up until Ogando's performance, and went meekly after that.

Goat:
The rain. Rain forced a delay not once, but twice in the fifth inning. All told, delays chewed up an hour and 50 minutes, with play in between lasting just 13 innings. It derailed the outings of Justin Verlander and C.J. Wilson, although now it's possible Verlander could move up from a Game 5 start to Game 4, making him available for a potential Game 7, albeit likely in relief. The game didn't end until just after 1 a.m. ET, and more rain is in the forecast for Saturday which could actually threaten the playing of the entire game.

Turning point: The Tigers had a golden opportunity coming off of the second rain delay, returning with the bases loaded. The rain had knocked C.J. Wilson out of the game, who had been dealing before loading said bases. Rangers manager Ron Washington ordered an intentional walk to Magglio Ordonez to set Wilson up to face left-handed hitter Alex Avila, but plans changed with the delay. Texas was forced to burn a reliever in Mike Gonzalez to keep the lefty-on-lefty matchup intact. Avila wasted no time in grounding out to the second baseman on the first pitch, and there went the Tigers' best chance to alter the game.

It was over when ... Well, it was a one-run game, so it wasn't really over until the last pitch, right? That was a fastball thrown by Neftali Feliz to Ryan Raburn with a runner on first, giving Texas a 1-0 series lead in the ALCS. Raburn was in the lineup due to the injury to Delmon Young suffered in the ALDS that has knocked Young out for the entirety of the ALCS.

Next: The Tigers and Rangers will play Game 2 at 7:45 p.m. ET, but it's possible that it doesn't even finish. More imposing rain is in the forecast for Saturday night, and we could very well be looking at a postponement and force the game's completion on Monday, scrubbing a travel day.

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Posted on: October 8, 2011 10:08 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 2:17 am
 

Rain delay, Verlander struggles affect Game 1

Verlander

By Evan Brunell


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rain has become a staple of the postseason lately, with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay's World Series in 2008 affected by it, as well as the Yankees-Tigers ALDS earlier this year. And now, the ALCS has been affected as Game 1 just experienced a rain delay, and it may not be the last. Rain had been drizzling off and on for much of the game but all of a sudden the jets came on for a downpour and play was quickly stopped. The tarp came off just 20 minutes later, and play is expected to resume at 10:20 ET, but there is significant rain on the way expected to last until 12 a.m. ET, so this could be a long game. With more serious rain on the way Saturday, MLB's Joe Torre said that "this game will be played."

In the early going, the story has been Justin Verlander coughing up three runs, including two in the second. David Murphy tripled Mike Napoli in, with Ian Kinsler later singling Murphy in. But the biggest blast came in the bottom fourth, when Nelson Cruz reversed his playoff fortunes by launching a ball into left-center field. Prior to the homer, Cruz had been just 1-for-16 in the postseason, and also finished September with a .190/.205/.286 skid after beginning the month on the DL with a left hamstring strain.

Skipper Ron Washington did say during the ALDS that he felt Cruz was on the verge of breaking out, liking the swings he was taking in batting practice. Well, he proved right, but more astounding is the tough time Verlander has had. Through four innings, Verlander has tossed 82 pitches, 49 for strikes. It looks like as he's been getting squeezed pretty hard by home-plate ump Tim Welke, as the below pitch F/X plot bears out. By this zone, nine pitches were called balls that should have been strikes, and another four are close enough that being called a strike wouldn't cause anyone to blink.

Strike zone

Meanwhile, C.J. Wilson danced around trouble the first two innings and has been dazzling since, striking out the side in the fourth.

Follow the game live on CBSSports.com's Game Tracker.

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Posted on: October 8, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 2:17 am
 

Lineups announced for ALCS Game 1

Cabrera

By Evan Brunell


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Tigers and Rangers have revealed their lineups for Game 1, slated to occur at 8:05 p.m. ET. The game promises to have a fantastic matchup, pitting Justin Verlander against C.J. Wilson. Only time will tell if the duel will match up to the gem we saw Friday night in Game 5 of the Cardinals and Phillies NLCS.

Ryan Raburn, despite a lackluster season that saw him lose his job, bats second in left field, replacing Delmon Young. Young was not placed on the ALCS roster after suffering a left oblique injury in Game 5. It's rather disappointing of Leyland to stick Raburn at No. 2; I would have much rather seen Brandon Inge, who can hit lefties rather well, at the spot. Late in the game, Wilson Betemit pinch-hitting at No. 2 would also be a significant boost.

Tigers Rangers
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Austin Jackson CF 1 Ian Kinsler 2B
2 Ryan Raburn LF 2 Elvis Andrus SS
3 Miguel Cabrera 1B 3 Josh Hamilton CF
4 Victor Martinez DH 4 Michael Young DH
5 Magglio Ordonez RF 5 Adrian Beltre 3B
6 Alex Avila C 6 Mike Napoli C
7 Jhonny Peralta SS 7 Nelson Cruz RF
8 Ramon Santiago 2B 8 David Murphy LF
9 Brandon Inge 3B 9 Mitch Moreland 1B

Justin Verlander RHP
C.J. Wilson LHP

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Pictured: Miguel Cabrera

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com