Game 2011 Playoffs.7: Tigers at Rangers
Note: The Sunday game has been postponed, and will now be played (presumably) Monday at 4:19 EST, because 4:15 is just too early and 4:30 is just too darn late.
**Breaking News** Magglio is out for the rest of the postseason. He refractured the ankle he broke last season, when or how is unclear (he walked and was replaced by a pinch-runner his last appearance). It turns out the ankle had been bothering him all season, and in fact he almost retired because of it midseason.
Update: It turns out that Ordonez injured the ankle in batting practice before the game, but tried to tough it out and play anyway. Which makes me view the 1st inning of Saturday’s game differently…bases loaded, Wilson on the ropes, and up to the plate comes Maggs–with a broken ankle…GIDP. Credit Maggs for his toughness, but there is something of the Inge-with-2-bad-knees bit in this scenario.
What is clear is that the Tigers have a major problem now. They already went into the postseason without Boesch, and now have lost the only 2 guys in the middle of the order who have been hitting. It is unclear who the Tigers will call up to replace him: it certainly won’t be Timo Perez.The only other OF on the 40-man roster is Clete Thomas.
Update: The player added to the roster to replace Magglio Ordonez is, as ouchudied has reported…Delmon Young, who less than 2 days ago was determined to be out for the series. Call me skeptical. (Also, a “first” to Andrew in Toronto on the Magglio news). Young is penciled in the 3 spot in today’s lineup, but according to a Jason Beck tweet Leyland has also prepared a 2nd lineup card with Andy Dirks, just in case Young is more injured than thought or as injured as originally thought, or whatever.
One thing Tiger fans could count on in the regular season, was no prolonged losing streaks. Anytime Justin Verlander pitched after a Tiger loss, the losing usually stopped right there (Verlander was 14-3 following a Tiger loss), which is one reason the Tigers haven’t lost 2 games in a row since Aug 27-28.
Verlander once again was rain-bedeviled, and once again began the game without his best stuff, having problems with the strike zone, throwing 49 pitches in 2 innings (although to be fair, if Foxtrax and my own eyes are to be believed, he threw several “balls” in the “strike zone”).
The pitching actually came through Saturday on the whole (even our 2nd-tier bullpen guys): anytime you hold the Rangers to 3 runs in their home park you’ve done your job.
(Check out The Newberg Report for a good, detailed review of the game from a Rangers perspective).
The big question now becomes, was Verlander’s outing short enough that he will come back now for game 4 instead of 5? Leyland’s play-it-by-the-book track record says no, but stay tuned.
At any rate this afternoon, for the 2nd consecutive postseason series, Max Scherzer will be asked to be the guy to take the mound after a Verlander start ended with a loss. Scherzer was brilliant against the Yankees, allowing no runs and only 6 baserunners in 6 innings. A similar performance will be needed today to quiet the murmurings of “short series.”
The Rangers send Derek Holland to the mound, a follicle-challenged lefty (he has failed quite noticeably to produce anything in the playoff beard way). Holland sometimes has control problems and can end up pitching behind in the count…so look for the Tigers to confuse him with first-pitch swinging.
If the Tigers are to win, chances are they will do it by scoring early and often–the Rangers bullpen is not to be messed with.
And Austin Jackson still has not put a ball in play to start off a postseason game. His strikeout last night leaves him with 4 strikeouts and 2 walks to start the 6 playoff games. Here’s hoping for a walk tonight. And he did have a big double yesterday, but continues to strike out, his strikeout rate now up to 44%. And he has begun to channel Raburn in CF.
And where have the big bats gone?
The top 5 Tigers in postseason OPS:
1.170 Young* (*out**) **(back)
.928 Ordonez* (*out)
The big bats:
It makes for a great story when a Kelly or a Santiago comes up big, but that can’t be maintained over an entire series.
Player of the Pre-Game: Delmon Young*.
*OK, this was originally Ordonez, but was changed for obvious reasons. And then, briefly, Don Kelly. Can Young really play with an oblique strain (think Gary Sheffield)? Or will he go the way of Ordonez playing on a sore ankle?
Today’s Who’ll-Stop-The-Rain? Lineup:
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Ramon Santiago 2B
- Delmon Young, LF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- Ryan Raburn, RF
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Alex Avila, C
- Brandon Inge, 3B