Tag:ALDS
Posted on: October 1, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 9:36 pm
 

ALDS Game 1, Tigers vs. Yankees: Take two



By Matt Snyder


Tigers at Yankees, 8:37 p.m. ET, New Yankee Stadium, TBS

LINEUPS

Tigers Yankees
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Austin Jackson CF 1 Derek Jeter SS
2 Magglio Ordonez RF 2 Curtis Granderson CF
3 Delmon Young LF 3 Robinson Cano 2B
4 Miguel Cabrera 1B 4 Alex Rodriguez 3B
5 Victor Martinez DH 5 Mark Teixeira 1B
6 Alex Avila C 6 Nick Swisher RF
7 Ryan Raburn 2B 7 Jorge Posada* DH
8 Jhonny Peralta* SS 8 Russell Martin C
9 Brandon Inge 3B 9 Brett Gardner LF
  Doug Fister RHP   Ivan Nova LHP

* - Where the lineup will pick up. Remember, this game is resuming from the point it left off Friday night. The score is 1-1 as we head to the bottom of the second inning.

PITCHING MATCHUPS


Fister vs. Yankees: He's only faced the Yankees once this season, and it was coincidentally his last start with the Mariners. He took the loss and it dropped him to 3-12 at the time, but that doesn't matter. He worked seven innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs. Hardly an awful outing. He just got no run support, as was the norm before the trade. In his career, Fister has faced the Yankees three times and it's been ugly. He's 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and four home runs allowed in 18 innings. Current Yankees are hitting .302 with an .857 OPS against Fister, but it's a small sample size, as none of them have seen him for more than 10 plate appearances. Also of note: Fister has never pitched in the postseason.

Nova vs. Tigers: Not much to go on here, as Nova's never started against the Tigers. We have a one-inning sample from 2010, but do we really want to look at that? I wouldn't. It doesn't mean anything. As you'd expect, no Tigers have had more than three plate appearances against Nova, so that data would be worthless, too. Just as is the case with Fister, this will mark Nova's postseason debut.

NOTES
Full Playoff Coverage
  • Fister has been lights out since joining the Tigers. He's 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and his strikeout rate jumped from 5.5 per nine innings to 7.3. Better yet: His 57:5 K:BB ratio is absurd.
  • The Tigers won the regular season series 4-3, having outscored the Yankees 36-33.
  • Young's first inning home run Friday night was his ninth in 169 at-bats since joining the Tigers. He had four homers in 305 at-bats this season for the Twins.
  • The continuation of the game is due to the rule implemented by Major League Baseball following the 2008 World Series. Game 5 of the Phillies-Rays series was suspended for about two days and picked up where it left off. Under major-league rules at the time, it could have been ruled a complete game, as they had completed five innings. But commissioner Bud Selig noted the World Series is ruled by commissioner's discretion and he wanted a complete game. Just to firm things up, a rule was made that all postseason games will continue where they were stopped due to weather, with no exceptions.
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Posted on: September 30, 2011 9:23 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 9:37 pm
 

Bad weather alters Yankees-Tigers series



By Matt Snyder


Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers has been postponed due to heavy rains throughout the night. At 9:07 p.m. ET, the tarp was placed on the field and play was suspended in the middle of the 2nd inning with a 1-1 tie.

Full Playoff Coverage
On the TBS broadcast, MLB's vice president Joe Torre said the game will pick up where it left off Saturday night at 8:37 p.m. ET. Game 2 of the series will now be played Sunday at 3:07 p.m. ET and there won't be a scheduled day off for travel to Detroit. By Game 3 (Monday night), it will be back on schedule -- assuming the next two days don't bring the same weather woes.

The implications of this have the potential to shake the entire series. Aces CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander started the game. Sabathia threw 27 pitches and Verlander's thrown 25. Neither is going to come back Saturday night and Sunday night might be a stretch as well. But Game 3 on Monday? That's easily doable. And that's when they'll both pitch again.

Leyland has now announced that Doug Fister will take the ball when play resumes Saturday and Max Scherzer will go Sunday. Verlander then comes back on Monday with Rick Porcello slated for Game 4 and Doug Fister ready for Game 5, should the final two games be necessary. So this is a huge blow to the Tigers, who only get to use their ace once.

The Yankees will go with Ivan Nova when play resumes Saturday and follow with Freddy Garcia Sunday. That means CC vs. Verlander will take place in Comerica Park in Game 3. There hasn't been an announcement past that, but the Yankees' hand is likely forced to go with A.J. Burnett in Game 4 due to the circumstances, and then Nova would be ready for Game 5.

This is all assuming there are no further delays or postponements, and the radar shows that is entirely possible.

Suddenly the most important player in the series is Mother Nature.

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Posted on: September 30, 2011 8:52 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 10:46 pm
 

C.J. Wilson blasted for eight runs in Game 1

Wilson

By Evan Brunell

C.J. Wilson has authored one of the more impressive two-year runs in baseball, racking up 31 wins in 67 starts after beginning his career as a reliever, and later, closer. Wilson's anchoring the rotation allowed the Rangers to survive the departure of Cliff Lee, and he made the All-Star team for the first time.

Unfortunately, Wilson couldn't come through on Friday as he was blasted for eight runs, six earned, as the Rangers dropped the opening game of the ALDS, 9-0. He authored his only clean inning to start the game, setting the Rays down 1-2-3 before Johnny Damon rattled his cage with a two-run homer in the second after plunking Ben Zobrist. Wilson couldn't stop the bleeding as Kelly Shoppach went on to score on a Matt Joyce RBI single. And just like that, the Rays had a 3-0 lead.

Shoppach reared his head again the next inning, taking Wilson deep for a three-run blast to double the lead. He also added a two-run blast in the fifth to add to Wilson's misery. And unlike Wilson in Home Improvement, there was no hiding his face on the mound. It's easily the lefty's worst postseason appearance, as he made four starts last season and delivered on three of him. The stinker on Friday now supplants his six-run outing in five innings against the Yankees to lose Game 5.

Full Playoff Coverage
Wilson played with fire, veering too close to the middle of the strike zone and got burned for it. A good indication as to whether a pitcher is effective is to look at swinging strikes. How many times did a batter go after a pitch and miss? It happened just six times on Friday among Wilson's 103 pitches for a 5.8 percentage. He was at 8.3 percent the entire year. That's a difference of about three pitches, but it was enough.

What's interesting is that Wilson got first-pitch strikes on 18 of 25 batters, but five of those were in play for either a hit or an out, and 11 others were all with the batter looking. First-pitch strikes, or even strikes in general, are common for Wilson, who registered 58.5 percent of first-pitch strikes in the season. But Friday, it was all the way up to 72 percent. That should be working in Wilson's favor, not against. And yet, it clearly worked out for Tampa, who succeeded deeper in the at-bat. If that was part of the Rays' game plan, it worked splendidly.

The Rays have been playing splendidly as of late, as they've been forced to simply to eek into the playoffs. Wilson just found out just how well.

Video: Rangers manager Ron Washington reacts to the loss.



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Posted on: September 30, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 10:46 pm
 

Instant Reaction: Rays 9, Rangers 0

By Evan Brunell

Rays 9, Rangers 0

WP: Matt Moore
LP
: C.J. Wilson
HR
: Johnny Damon, Kelly Shoppach (2)

Series
: Rays lead 1-0

Hero
: Kelly Shoppach came out of nowhere to hammer two home runs. The five RBI were more than enough to send the Rays to victory.

Goat
: C.J. Wilson may have lost millions on his free-agent contract when he coughed up six runs (plus one unearned) in five innings to put Texas in a hole.

Next
: Saturday, October 1, , 7:07 p.m. at Rangers Ballpark, Arlington, Texas. RHP James Shields vs. LHP Derek Holland.

More postseason coverage
: Postseason schedule | Rays-Rangers series | 2011 playoffs

Video: Rays manager Joe Maddon discusses Moore's start.



Moore discusses his big win



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Posted on: September 30, 2011 7:07 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 8:30 pm
 

Shoppach blasts two HR to pace Rays in Game 1

Shoppach

By Evan Brunell

The great thing about October is that players that you may otherwise never pay attention to can completely flip the script and become household names.

In Tampa Bay, fans are crowing Shoppach's names from the rooftops after he crushed two home runs off of C.J. Wilson to send the Rays to an intimidating 8-0 lead entering the seventh inning. This after Shoppach hit .176/.268/.339 during the regular season in 253 plate appearances. Among catchers with at least 200 PAs, Shoppach had the eighth-worst OPS at .607 out of a possible 40 backstops.

And yet, here Shoppach was, behind the plate for Game 1 of the ALDS. He quickly showed Tampa just why the team acquired him prior to the 2009 season: he has power.

Shoppach blasted a three-run home run in the third to double Tampa's lead to 6-0 as C.J. Wilson struggled out of the gate. Following the homer, it looked as if Wilson was settling down, but then Adrian Beltre threw a ball high enough that Michael Young couldn't stay on the bag, allowing Johnny Damon, whose two-run homer opened the scoring in the second, to reach. That set the stage for Shoppach, who bombed a 415-footer to extend the lead to 8-0 and leave Rangers fans shell-shocked.

Read more: Rays-Rangers series | 2011 playoffs

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Posted on: September 30, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 9:37 pm
 

ALDS Game 1 Preview: Aces meet in Bronx



By Matt Snyder


Tigers at Yankees, 8:37 p.m. ET, New Yankee Stadium, TBS

LINEUPS

Tigers Yankees
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Austin Jackson CF 1 Derek Jeter SS
2 Magglio Ordonez RF 2 Curtis Granderson CF
3 Delmon Young LF 3 Robinson Cano 2B
4 Miguel Cabrera 1B 4 Alex Rodriguez 3B
5 Victor Martinez DH 5 Mark Teixeira 1B
6 Alex Avila C 6 Nick Swisher RF
7 Ryan Raburn 2B 7 Jorge Posada DH
8 Jhonny Peralta SS 8 Russell Martin C
9 Brandon Inge 3B 9 Brett Gardner LF
  Justin Verlander RHP   CC Sabathia LHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Verlander vs. Yankees: He only faced them twice this season, but it wasn't his best line. He had a 4.50 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 12 innings. The Tigers lost both of those games. The good news for Tigers fans is the last time Verlander saw the Yankees was all the way back on May 2. Since then, he is 22-2 with a 2.08 ERA. In three career starts in the New Yankee Stadium, Verlander is 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. But again, he's been the best pitcher in baseball since he's been there.

Sabathia vs. Tigers: Same as Verlander, Sabathia's seen Friday's opponent twice this season, but the last time was early May (the 3rd). He was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in those two starts. In his career, Sabathia has faced the Tigers 32 times -- remember, he played in the AL Central for a long time -- going 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Of course, we have to remember, this includes numbers from the early 2000s, when the Tigers' lineup didn't even resemble what it is now. I'd pretty much discount those numbers, personally, but feel free to draw conclusions if you wish. Home and road splits are similar enough to be negligible for CC.

NOTES
Full Playoff Coverage
  • Surprised Posada is in the lineup? Don't be. He's hitting .333 with a .938 OPS in 26 career plate appearances against Verlander. Jeter (.357) also has a good career history against Verlander. On the flip-side, Rodriguez (.190), Cano (.174), Swisher (.167), Granderson (.167) and Teixeira (.136) have all been held in check by Verlander. He's only gotten in trouble against the Yankees with walks and homers. He just needs to throw strikes and keep it down. 
  • Again, if you believe the Tigers are so familiar with Sabathia because he used to pitch in the division, you need to look at the actual players. Only two have more than 27 career plate appearances against him: Ordonez and Inge. Two players jump out at me, one of each side of the spectrum. Cabrera is hitting .563 with two homers and 11 RBI in just 16 at-bats against Sabathia. Meanwhile, Peralta is 1-for-17 (059).
  • The Tigers won the regular season series 4-3, having outscored the Yankees 36-33.
  • Remember, these two teams were involoved in a three-team trade that sent Granderson to the Yankees and Jackson to the Tigers -- among several other players -- a few years ago. Guess it helped both teams, huh?
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Posted on: September 30, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 4:43 pm
 

ALDS Game 1 preview: Matt Moore vs. C.J. Wilson

Wilson

By Evan Brunell


Rays at Rangers: 5:07 p.m. ET, Rangers Ballpark, TBS

LINEUPS

Rays Rangers
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Sean Rodriguez SS 1 Ian Kinsler 2B
2 B.J. Upton CF 2 Elvis Andrus SS
3 Evan Longoria 3B 3 Josh Hamilton CF
4 Ben Zobrist 2B 4 Michael Young 1B
5 Johnny Damon DH 5 Adrian Beltre 3B
6 Kelly Shoppach C 6 Mike Napoli C
7 Casey Kotchman 1B 7 Nelson Cruz RF
8 Desmond Jennings LF 8 Yorvit Torrealba DH
9 Matt Joyce RF 9 Craig Gentry LF
  Matt Moore LHP   C.J. Wilson LHP

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Wilson vs. Rays: The left-hander made three starts against the Rays in 2011, throwing up a pristine 2.08 ERA in 21 2/3 innings. Wilson struck out 24 and walked eight -- and two of those starts were back-to-back at the beginning of September, so Wilson and the Rays are quite familiar with each other. Could that added familiarity hurt Wilson?

Perhaps not -- only Kelly Shoppach and Sean Rodriguez have any type of success against Wilson. Matt Joyce does as well, but has just two at-bats against Wilson so it's difficult to derive much from that. (Not as if Shoppach's seven at-bats and Rodriguez's 11 are much more.) No other Rays hitter has an OPS higher than .498 against Wilson in their career.

Moore vs. Rangers: Moore has never faced the Rangers, as the rookie only has 9 1/3 career innings in the majors. He'll have a tall task on his hand, as Texas crushes lefties. Most of the Rangers' right-handed batters raked left-handers over the coals all season, throwing up a .297/.358/.502 line, paced by Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli, who all have OPS' greater than 1.000 against left-handed pitchers.

Add in Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton, and the Rangers have six players in the lineup who can hammer left-handed pitching. It will be a tall task for Moore going up against that kind of firepower... but then again, he punched out 11 Yankees in his only 2011 start.

NOTES
Full Playoff Coverage
  • Cooper Stone, son of Shannon, will throw out the first pitch prior to Game 1 of the ALDS Friday night. Shannon Stone fell to his death during a game earlier this season trying to catch a ball that Hamilton had tossed him in the stands. "We thought it was very appropriate to have him come out," team president Nolan Ryan told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.
  • Interesting to see Torrealba DHing and Napoli catching, as the defensive reputations of each person is counter to what positions they are assuming for Game 1. Wilson has pitched to Torrealba 21 times and Napoli nine. Wilson actually has an ERA 0.30 lower than when he throws to Torrealba, but batters don't hit as well in the Wilson-Torrealba pairing as they do Wilson-Napoli.
  • Texas defeated the Rays in last season's division series in five games. The visiting team won every single game, the only time in major-league baseball postseason history that's happened.
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Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:40 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 9:11 am
 

Phillies have the best rotation in playoffs

By C. Trent Rosecrans

This time of year, pitching can carry an otherwise flawed team all the way to a title, we saw that last year when the Giants rode their starters and a shut-down closer to a World Series championship. So which teams have the best rotations heading into this postseason? Glad you asked…

Here's our ranking of the eight playoff rotations:

 

1. Philadelphia Phillies: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt

Like there was a doubt? Halladay started last postseason with a no-hitter. It'll be tough to top that, but we'll see what happens when the National League's best pitching staff takes on the National League's best offense. 

 

2. Tampa Bay Rays: Matt Moore, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, David Price

Joe Maddon is taking one heck of a chance giving a rookie with fewer than 10 big-league innings under his belt on the hill to start Game 1, but Moore is amazingly talented -- and he's never lost a start for the Rays (small sample size alert!). 

 

3. Milwaukee Brewers: Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf

Gallardo is perhaps the least-heralded of the Brewers' starters, but that could just be that unlike the other members of the team's rotation, he's spent his entire season in Milwaukee. The 25-year-old right-hander has gone 44-29 with a 3.69 ERA over the last three years. There's also former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke who wanted to be traded from Kansas City so he could pitch in the playoffs. Now he's here and it's time to deliver.

 

4. Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello

Call them top-heavy, and even heavier at the top since Fister joined the rotation. Fister, acquired at the deadline from Seattle, has gone 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA in 10 starts for the Tigers. Add him to Justin Verlander and you have a heck of a 1-2 punch. It's the 3-4 that lacks punch.

 

5. Arizona Diamondbacks: Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders

It looks like Arizona will go with a three-man rotation in the playoffs, which will certainly help the bullpen with the addition to Josh Collmenter. Kennedy was the breakout star of the Diamondbacks' rotation, winning 21 games, while Hudson and Saudners have also pitched well.



6. Texas Rangers:
C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison

Sure, they don't have Lee this year, but they do have Wilson, who has established himself as an ace, going 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA this season, striking out 206 batters in 223 1/3 innings. Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40 ERA) is the only right-hander in the rotation.

 

7. St. Louis Cardinals: Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia

The Cardinals' two best pitchers are pitching Games 3 and 4, but everyone has contributed down the stretch. St. Louis would be higher on the list with Adam Wainwright, but he's not coming back this season. Jackson has pitched well since joining the team and Lohse, a former Phillie, has had a bounce-back season.

 

8. New York Yankees: CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia

Sabathia's as good of a big-game pitcher as there is in the game, but Nova is a rookie and Garcia is anything but. The fact the team is going with a three-man rotation tells you what you need to know about the guys not in the rotation. Garcia's the team's third-best starter -- I guess $196 million doesn't buy what it once did.

For more postseason coverage.

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