Game 2011 Playoffs.4: Yankees at Tigers

Today’s Playoff trivia answer:  Jhonny Peralta, Brandon Inge, Ryan Raburn, Don Kelly, Wilson Betemit, and Brad Penny.  Question below.

Justin Verlander once again got off to a shaky start, but this time there was no rain, and he found a groove in which he may as well have been throwing a no-hitter, at one point striking out 4 consecutive Yankee hitters, 3 of them on called strikes.

Then in the 7th inning, he lost the strike zone.  You could see it on his face;  he was fidgety, the calm Verlander gaze was gone (an Avila trip to the mound probably would have been in order here).  He still had the power though:  he walked Posada on pitches of 100, 100, 100, 101, and 100.  I doubt if a starting pitcher has ever thrown 5 consecutive 100+ pitches in the postseason before (I haven’t been able to track this down for certain).

But he pulled it together once again, struck out Derek Jeter, breezed through the 8th, and with the help of Delmon Young put the Yankees once again on the verge of first-round Defeat in the D.

And A-Rod is still 0-for-the-series, and a career postseason 1-for-27 against Detroit. Must be the strike zone. Yeah, that’s it.

And speaking of 2006 deja vu,  the Cardinals squeaked into the postseason, and now look like they have a shot at upsetting the Phillies…I’m just saying…

If there is any Yankee on the NY hot seat right now more than A-Rod, it is tonight’s starting pitcher A.J. Burnett.  Burnett, who has been called “inconsistent” so much this season it might as well be his middle name, muddled through the season at 11-11, 5.15.  The Yankees were hoping to get through the series without having to use him, but the rainout changed that.

He has been consistently wild, leading MLB with 25 wild pitches.

His record against Detroit doesn’t inspire confidence either:  2-2, 7.17.  His career postseason mark is 1-2, 5.67.

One oddity about Burnett:  the RH Burnett fares better against LHB (.256 BA against) than he does RHB (.264 BA against).  Jim Leyland is not to be fooled, however:  he has loaded the lineup with lefties.

Taking the mound for Detroit is Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.75), who’s one postseason appearance was his game 163 against the Twins, where he struck out 8 in 5 2/3 innings.  He has hardly been the picture of consistency himself:  His ERAs by month:  4.25, 3.52, 6.97, 3.06, 6.82, 3.55.  So the question is, is October a new month, or does it count as part of September?

As good as Kid Rick’s September was, there is one cause for concern for tonight:  he has been considerably better against RHB (.249 BA against) than against LHB (.321 BA against, yikes…Granderson, Cano, and Texeira must be giddy…).

Porcello is the Tiger starter least likely to make it through the 7th inning, so the bullpen will be key today:  Alburquerque will need to shake off the grand slam from Game 1, Benoit will need to keep doing what he has been doing, and Phil Coke will likely need to get a key out or two against his former teammates.  Leyland says that Valverde, who has closed the last 2 games, should be available again tonight.

Whoever wins this series will be facing the Texas Rangers.  (If it’s the Tigers, our own Kevin In Dallas should have some interesting perspective).  The prospect of a Milwaukee-St. Louis / Detroit-Texas final 4 should have the TV execs hitting the Captain Morgan (you would think, by the way, that they would’ve come up with a few new commercials if they were going to sponsor the playoffs).

Just for fun: Jim Leyland is now 29-23 (.558) career in the postseason, 10-6 (.625) with Detroit.

And who looks these things up?  Justin Verlander and Jose Valverde are the only starter-closer combo with the same initials to combine for a postseason win-save other than Ron Guidry and Rich Gossage, who did it in 1978.  Hmm, so suddenly he isn’t “Goose” anymore, OK.

Today’s Playoff trivia question:  Which Tigers have a career postseason batting average of .300 or above?

Player of the Pre-Game: Don Kelly and his .500 career postseason BA (1.000 OPS) is unleashed in the 6 spot to protect Cabby and V-Mart with Donkey power.

Today’s Leyland-is-a-Much-Maligned-Genius Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ramon Santiago, 2B
  3. Delmon Young, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Don Kelly, RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Wilson Betemit, 3B


45 thoughts on “Game 2011 Playoffs.4: Yankees at Tigers”

  1. Here are the numbers from today’s Playoff trivia question:

    Peralta .321 (17-53)
    Inge .300 (15-50)
    Betemit .333 (5-15)
    Kelly .500 (2-4)
    Raburn .500 (2-4)
    Penny .500 (2-4)

  2. Good inning. A misplay would have been sweet, but in all reality that was hit right at Granderson.

    We’re gonna have plenty of chances.

  3. Tigers kicking up their heals! How dare Peralta hit a double while Jope G. talks to TBS!

  4. What the heck is Betemit swinging at?!?!?! Inge has had better plate discipline in this series thus far, I’d rather see him out there at this point.

  5. Porcello was above average. Tiger fielding and hitting has been below average. Let’s start hitting!

  6. The Tigers will lose the series unless Miguel Cabrera, V-Mart, and Maggs carry them and Doug Fister can give them 7 innings. Mo Riviera is good for two innings,so, coming from behind is out of the question…Nova, threw a lot of balls in his first start and the Tigers were swinging at them….we shall see, the team that leads early should win the ballgame. I predict a Yankees win and not very close. I hope that I am wrong,but, Fister is not who I would want on the mound in a decisive game. He pitches to contact and is not a swing and miss guy…so, the Yankees should be able to hurt him.

    1. Fister had 34 Ks in 34 IP in September. Fister also had 6 Ks in 4 2/3 IP in game 1. He has been missing bats lately.

  7. I would expect that Rayburn, Inge, and Mags will be in tomorrow. We will need Cabs and VMart to have a solid game. Fister will have to look solid as well. I am sure that the Yankees have us left for dead. Better us than the sweep of the Twins and we should get back there again next year. A win would have the Yankee fans calling for everyone’s head. Would be a nice site.

    I do not see Leyland pulling out the stops. He is too much by the book (except for last night’s lineup). Would love to see Mags have a big game. He did it in Game 3.

    1. Leyland has announced: Kelly at 3B, Magglio in RF.

      I’m assuming Santiago again at 2B vs. the righty?

  8. Good thing we traded Granderson for Jackson, eh? I thought AJ was the beneficiary of a comically large strike zone. Large enough to make an enormous difference in run production. And even so the Tigs hit a number of balls right on the screws, but they were hit either right at someone, or into Granderson’s mitt as he made another phenomenal catch.
    Nova is a decent pitcher, not a great one. Detroit made him look like Cy Young.
    Why do we keep walking Jorge Posada? Trying to fill up bases for the Top of the Yankee order? Mysteries about

    1. I’m sick of people acting like Granderson made an amazing catch on that Kelly line drive. Granderson grossly misplayed that and had to make a leap to atone for his judgement of the trajectory of the ball. It should have been a routine catch. Jackson would have made that play easily.

    2. Granderson was not traded for Jackson.

      Granderson & Jackson were traded for Scherzer, Coke & Jackson, and Victor Martinez. It was a phenomenal deal. Granderson was not a super-star in Detroit, and I don’t know that he ever would have been short of a new hitting coach or new field configuration. I agree that Granderson is a super-star now, but undo that trade and we are not in the playoffs right now.

        1. He definitely was. But the money came from the savings off of Granderson & Jackson’s salaries.

          1. Don’t forget Schlereth. The players we received in that trade makes up 16% of our playoff roster.

  9. Nobody said it was going to be easy against the Yankees. So here we are, Game 5 of the ALDS (which probably surprises a lot of Yankee fans). This isn’t the 2006 Tigers, but it is the 2011 Tigers that we have all followed closely since 30MAR. We all know this team and there is little now to tweak for improvement, rather instead to go out and play the Yankees proud and relaxed. There is no silver bullet rather simply our team with 166 games of experience trying to do what they do best. Fister had a great August and September so what who more could you want in game 5 instead of Verlander? Regardless of our pitchhing, my thoughts are if the middle of the lineup hits and can score five runs before the end fifth inning, the game is ours. If we do, we usually score even more in the later innings. (A jump out ahead like in game 2 would also do wonders for my nerves.) However, let’s enjoy the game and then let’s get ready for the Rangers! These are our 2011 Tigers that we will talk long about for many years!

  10. Jackson does that same type of thing all the time, every outfielder does. It’s silly that people think that OF’s are supposed to have some sort of ESP that tells them where the ball is going ahead of time and never even lean in the wrong direction initially even for a nanosecond. Every OF does that from time to time. And the Grandyman has plenty of times when he takes the perfect route and makes the diving catch, like he did to kill the rally late in the game. He does that crap all the time. Curtis was underrated and under appreciated here, and he might have been a superstar here if Leyland would just let him try to work out his problems against lefties instead of platooning him. Look what happened when the Yankees played him full time against LHP.

  11. Tigers have nothing to hang their heads about. They were a really tough opponent and all the games were close except for this one. I did not expext a blow out win by the Rangers, but indeed they were the worthy winners of this series.

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