So it all comes down to this. Tonight is either the last game–and the last game post–of the season, or it’s the catapult into a deciding game 7 with our best postseason pitcher on the mound I like our chances to take this thing if we can make it to game 7, where the Rangers really don’t want to be facing the preternaturally calm Doug Fister. They really don’t.
Whatever happens, the Tigers have managed to overcome a lot this postseason, and have pitched quite well against arguably the two best offensive teams in baseball. The Tigers have given up a total of 16 regular inning runs in 5 games (we’ll set aside the 11th inning runs for the moment), or 3.2 per game, to a team that averaged 5.3 in the regular season.
That being said, the odds are stacked against us tonight. We are in Arlington, where Texas loves to hit. AccuScore gives Texas a huge advantage (64%)…the ESPN fan poll likes us even less (Texas at 72% chance to win). And yet…
Alex Avila has this figured out. You see, there is Max Scherzer, who is a very analytical, calm pitcher. And then there is Mad Max. Avila says, it’s time for Mad Max.
And–as we have known all along–it’s all about the eyes. The analytical Max pitches with his blue eye, the intense Max with his brown eye. Says Avila: “He gets all jacked up and ready to go. He gets this look in his blue eye, then his brown eye starts twitching, and it doesn’t even matter what pitch I call. It seems like he comes out throwing great.” Let’s hope tonight the eyes have it.
Again tonight, the way the game begins will be crucial. In his first run through against the Rangers, Max Bondermanned the first inning, then made it until the 6th without giving up a base runner. Holland only lasted 3 innings, before being Raburned right out of the game. On the other hand, he should certainly be rested for tonight.
In case Max goes all blue-eye tonight, warming up in the bullpen will be Rick Porcello. Kid Rick has never come out of the bullpen yet in his fledgling career. I’m guessing Ol’ Smokey ain’t expecting him to tonight either.
Random note of interest: according to a DKnobler tweet, Craig Monroe is in the stands tonight wearing a Tiger shirt. So we’ve got the C-Mo going for us.
Player of the Pre-Game: Brandon Inge
Inge? Seriously? Yes. When Inge does hit, it is against lefties. And I just have a feeling. And besides I need something dramatic here for prediction parity with Kevin.
Today’s Naturally Cycling Lineup:
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Ryan Raburn, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- Delmon Young, LF
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Alex Avila, C
- Brandon Inge, 3B
- Ramon Santiago, 2B