(if any real artists out there would like to make a real graphic, please let me know. but the ALDS choice of color didn’t give me much to work with)
They’re here! The Playoffs are here! What a welcome guest. Honestly, I’m not so sure that I’ve recovered yet from the excitement of Wednesday night, perhaps the greatest regular season night in MLB history. And as incredible as the Wild Card finishes were, Wed night was especially dramatic for us in Detroit and Arlington, as home field advantage hung in the balance. Detroit has played the best ball in the Majors for over a month now, and while everyone says they were beating up on a weak AL Central, let’s not forget that a big reason why Cle and Chi ended up <.500 was because they lost so many games to the Tigers in the last month.
This marks the 13th playoff appearance for the Tigers, their first division title since Alan Trammell was robbed of the MVP in ’87 and the 6th trip to the playoffs for Ol’ Smokey in 20 years of smoking from the top step. 12 of the 25 players on the roster had their first sip of champagne, and speaking of roster, it includes Penny, Perry, PSantos, Kelly, Dirks and Inge. Guillen, Pauley and Below, not so much. I don’t want to inject too much criticism in this joyous post, but am I the only one who has watched Perry struggle with everything other than his tattoo artist this year?
Verlander is a career 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA against the Yankees in 10 starts. The Yankees are great at working the count, fouling off pitches and drawing walks, and this has led to an average start of 5 2/3 IPs against the Yankees. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but that has to be one of the lowest versus any team for JV. First pitch strikes tonight will be crucial.
JV is going to have his hands full with a Yankees lineup that features up to six lefties, with three of them recent MVP candidates (not to mention one from the right side). In my mind, the key will be keeping Jeter off base in front of Granderson/Cano/Teixiera/Rodriguez. Those guys are going to get a few hits, let’s just make sure that they are not scooting Jeter (9-25, .360 career) around the bases in front of them. The Yankees 2-5 hitters are a career 12-67 off of JV.
Cabrera simply dominates CC as Miggy has a 1.591 OPS in 16 plate appearances. Betemit has had success with 3 hits in 5 ABs, and Santiago is 7-24, but everyone else has been pedestrian…at best.
Other notes that I couldn’t shoehorn in above
– Would you hire Terry Francona right now? I might.
– Fister is the September AL pitcher of the month. 5-0 with a .53 ERA will do that for you.