Game 2011.Playoffs.10: Rangers at Tigers

The Rangers have out bullpenned, out run, and out fielded the Tigers through 4 games of this series.  But that’s through 4, and this is a 7 game series.  There’s a reason for that.

None of the Tigers losses have been lopsided (tack on runs excluded), and they have had distinct opportunities to win each of those games in the late/extra innings.  They just haven’t had that hero.  But that doesn’t prohibit a hero from stepping up tonight.

Candidate #1: Justin Verlander.  At best, Verlander has been below average this post-season, at worst, he’s been…bad.  Heavy words for the 2011 AL  CY Young Winner (and perhaps MVP).  But I think we can all agree that his postseason 1.38 WHIP and 5.54 ERA is unusual, and unsustainable.  Verlander has twice been victimized by rain shortened starts, but JV would be the last guy to use that as an excuse.  JV was a strong 16-3 following a Tigers loss this season and I’ve got a feeling that he gets to a fast 17-3 tonight.

Candidate #2: Justin Verlander.  This has been the best season by a pitcher in decades, he’s just not going to go out like that, especially not fresh from the shorter fight last time out.

Candidate #3: Alex Avila.  Alex knows this may be his last chance in front of the home crowd.

Here’s my honest prediction.  The Tigers sure win this one walking away.  They have been just a hit or two away from taking each game that they lost, and I think that all of those IOUs get cashed in soon.  Verlander gives the pen the rest they need (in case you missed it, Leyland said that Benoit and Valverde were not avail tonight, and we all know that Leyland doesn’t alter from what’s written on the back of his Marlboro carton) and we get setup for 6 & 7 in Arlington.  We’ll worry about those starting Saturday morning.  The one potential wrench is the rain.  From what I can tell, it’s not currently raining at CoPa, but it could during the game.  If we were to get into another lengthy delay, the Bad Brad may get the call.  On the other side of the field, larger than life Ron Washington said that his bullpen is at “full strength.”

Quick Notes:
– Last night was Valverde’s 2nd 3+ out appearance of the season.  The first was on Monday.
– If the series goes to 7 games and Cabrera gets a hit in each game, he’ll set the all time streak to begin a career in the LCS.

1. Jackson CF
2. Raburn RF
3. Cabrera 1B
4. Martinez DH
5. Young LF
6. Peralta SS
7. Inge 3B
8. Avila C
9. Santiago 2B

L e t’s G o T i g e r s.

91 thoughts on “Game 2011.Playoffs.10: Rangers at Tigers”

  1. Another reason to hope for Verlander to turn it around… I’m sure many of you heard the comment on last night’s telecast that pitching coach Jeff Jones noticed a flaw in Verlander’s mechanics. They corrected it and threw some practice pitches and they say they fixed it.

    Hopefully we get the ace Verlander back, who we haven’t seen since mid September.

  2. I love Verlander, he had a fantastic season that is clearly Cy Young worthy, and I have great confidence that he’ll throw a gem tonight.

    That being said, this statement…
    “This has been the best season by a pitcher in decades”
    …is absurd.

    Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson have both had seasons within the last 12 years or so that are clearly better. And if you’re able to look beyond win totals, I would suggest that Zach Greinke had a better season as recently as 2009.

    1. I legitimately meant to write “one of the best” but I’d be happy to play this out further. If you were to consider the Triple Crown as a barometer, I think an argument could be made.

      1. I just read a post on the Baseball Reference blog that has a stronger argument for the greatness of Verlander’s season. (link – see comments)

        A commenter there says that Verlander is only one of ten pitchers in the live-ball era to achieve this combination:

        ERA+ greater than 150
        SO greater than 250
        IP greater than 250
        WHIP less than 1

        He’s asking it as a trivia question, so unfortunately, I don’t know the whole list. Here is his partial answer. It is rather impressive.

        Seaver x 2
        Koufax x 3
        and I’ll leave off the last guy because he is the reason the question is so hard, almost impossible. (a hint) he all but admitted he cheated that year.”

  3. Here’s a problem that I’m really concerned about – if JV doesn’t have it today, all of next season the tag is gonna be “save him so that he doesn’t wear down in the post season.” Though I guess it could be true.

  4. Kevin in Dallas – anything is possible, but somehow I think that is unlikely as long as Leyland is managing.

  5. Don’t be ridiculous. Leyland is certainly an asset, not a curse, to this team and has been so since 2006.

  6. ensigntaiga – if you’re addressing my comment, you must have misread it, because in that comment i made no reference to Jim Leyland being a curse. In fact there was not even a hint negativity towards Jim Leyland. I was responding to Kevin’s comment about the projected usage of Verlander, nothing more. Jimmy lets Justin rack up some pretty high pitch counts and I don’t see that changing, nor do I suggest now that he should. However…
    since you brought it up. I was hardcore Jim Leyland apologist on this blog for about two solid years from 2006-2007, but finally had to accept growing evidence presented to me that Jim Leyland has many, many flaws. I think whether or not he is an asset is highly debatable, and I’d love to see a different manager sport the English D. But that’s a topic for a different day. Dombrowski loves him and he’s not going anywhere, unfortunately.

    1. What would those flaws be? Most managers do, well, silly manager things. I’m not trying to be confrontational, I’m just curious.

  7. Terry Foster in the Detroit News had a column today on why Delmon Young shouldn’t play, LOL. Young’s been a beast!

  8. Way to go Delmon! They showed DD. Im sure he was writing in his list of things to do-re-sign Delmon Young!

    1. As much as Young has done in the playoffs, I’d be careful about signing him to anything long-term. His career numbers just don’t justify it. One or two years maybe. Hopefully DD and Illich don’t get overly excited like they did after ’06.

    1. Terry Foster is right about one thing – It’s all about production. The question that needs to be asked is what has he produced in his career at The News besides a lot of useless drivel. Now he will probably come back with a column stating how he was just trying to get under Young’s skin and motivate him. How this guy keeps his job is beyond my comprehension.

      1. Check out Foster’s follow-up column. Now he is saying that he predicted that Young was going to hit a home run just moments before he actually did. What a self-centered, egotistical fool! This is why I hadn’t read anything written by him in years until his critique of Young was mentioned here.

    1. At 96 pitches after 5 innings, the probably can’t go more than 7. Who pitches the last two since Benoit and Valverde are not avaialble in our potentially LAST GAME. Perry anyone? Penny anyone?

  9. Wow, how did that go foul?! Whew! Then he crushes it 400 ft. to center. We lucked out there. Pitch count now 96 thru 5 IP.

  10. Jackson, now playing bad defense to back up the crappy offense. Delightful. Just when Justin needs an easy inning. PLEASE double play ball…

  11. Through the 5th inning of Game 5, Santiago has one less hit than Avila + Vmart + Young + Jackson combined in this series.

  12. I keep hoping, all series long, that the Tigers could get just one big inning where they score runs in bunches. It just not going to happen.

  13. 113 pitches for JV through 6… not the ideal setting with Benoit and Valverde being out of commish… i’m not liking where this one seems to be heading.

  14. So do you bring JV back out? I give him 1 baserunner.

    Remember, 4 runs is one swing for Nellie Cruz.

  15. Congratulations Mr Jackson. Since it is the playoffs, we present you with a golden spinning electric sombrero, festooned with blinking Christmas lights. Enjoy.

  16. Uh, I guess Verlander’s not going to be available for game 7. Or the World Series.

    I love Verlander, but man, if I read one more story about how he carried this team on his back I may pass out. Could have easily have given up five runs in this game. He is a horse but he’s not god and/or Bob Gibson.

  17. Check that, how close Verlander was to giving up 7 runs. Don’t get me wrong, he battled heroically and he must be gut-tired. But he’s not Bob Gibson.

  18. Well, the good news is we live to fight another day. The bad news is if you’d give Rangers fans the choice of going home 3-2 they would have grabbed it right off the bat.

    In other news, wish I could be in locker room when Delmon Young reads aloud from Terry Foster’s column!

  19. Hi Friends: I left my BB at work so I couldn’t link in during the game. However, here are a few observations:

    A. Justin Verlander and Phil Coke you are blessings and gems!

    B. I would like Tim McCarver to mention that he played in a series when the Tigers were down three games and they came back and won it.

    C. Perhaps the Inge-Carbrera double play will be the turning point like ’68 when Flood tried to score on Willie and Jim. After that, the Tigers never were behind.

    Go TIGERS…See you in Arlington!

  20. Great win for us, and I love our chances with Scherzer. Realistically, it’s tough (obviously), but it can be done.

    Re: Verlander

    He gets credit. He needed to get a W and got the W. Yes, it is true that he hasn’t had electric stuff since he outdueled Sabathia and even that wasn’t his A game material.

    Verlander is grinding on his B material and is still 2-1. Today was a gutsy performance, and I do give him credit for that. I don’t mind the fans and sportswriters giving him his due, even if it is overblown when compared to mere “stats.” I still believe, tired arm or not, that it is possible for him to have one of those incredible shutout type gems, if we last long enough to give him the ball again in a start.

  21. Gotta say I’m glad it’s Fister and not Verlander in Game 7. Verlander is usually better, but not right now(nor ever in the post season for that matter, so you really have to wonder). Fister is their best horse at the moment, and 2nd best just might be Scherzer.

  22. AJax postseason OBP: .311. Not good. Not awful.
    Santiago postseason OBP: .286. Close to awful.

    Jackson looks horrible at the plate, but he’s the only realistic option at the front of the order right now (though I’d actually consider Inge vs. a lefty).

  23. Cooling off after last night’s victory I have been watching some of the video. Tiger Fans need kudos as they could have reached over and touched Cabrera’s hit after it hit the 3rd base bag and the kareemed off little fence along the third-base line. But in the video, you clearly seeing Tiger Fans refraining themselves from doing such that prevented a ground-rule double and allowed Raburn to score. As others have mentioned, Tiger Fans are some of the smartest in the game! Hats off! Go TIGERS!

  24. Not to take away from the task at hand, but it would be nice to see Cabrera out hit Hamilton in this series.

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