Game 2011 Playoffs.9: Rangers at Tigers

Today’s playoff trivia question: Who has the MLB record for the highest single-season playoff BA and OBP (same player)?  Answer below.

What a difference a day makes.

The Tigers got where they are on their hitting as much as anything:  they had the 4th highest team OPS in the AL, behind Boston, Texas, and the Yankees.  But the guys who were doing it all year long had just not being doing it before last night.

Tiger OPS leaders regular season:

1.033 Cabrera

.895 Avila

.850 Martinez

.824 Peralta

Postseason OPS before Tuesday:

.791 Cabrera

.228 Avila

.556 Martinez

.632 Peralta

That’s 1.395 OPS points lower than the regular season, which is like replacing Cabrera and Martinez with 2 Adam Everetts.  In fact the Tiger team OPS was only .678, which is close to fielding a team of Adam Everetts (.640 career).  And it isn’t like the team was making productive outs:  they had rung up a whopping 69 strikeouts already (Texas has 38, by comparison).  And when they have put the ball in play, they have been prone to the GIDP:  they have a 1.05 ground ball to fly ratio (Texas is at .067), which has resulted in 8 GIDPs, 2 more than the other 3 playoff teams combined.

Leyland was doing what he could to adjust–the Tigers have 6 of the 7 AL posteason sacrifice bunts.  He even had Peralta sacrificing for the first time since 2009.

Last night that all changed.  Welcome back to Comerica Miguel!  Welcome back Victor, welcome Jhonny!   The Tigers had their first 3-HR postseason game since guys named Parrish and Gibson did it in 1984.

And what can you say about Doug Fister?  Even away from Arlington, this Texas lineup is nothing to sneeze at, but Fister sneezed away.

Martinez and Young, on the other hand, may want to refrain from sneezing.  V-Mart injured his oblique,  but refuses to consider the bench:  “The only way I don’t play tomorrow is if I wake up and I’m dead.”  He is alive and batting cleanup, in front of his Oblique Buddy Delmon Young, who returns to the lineup in the 5th spot.

Now it is Texas who is wondering what happened to the middle of their lineup.  The Texas 4-7 hitters were 0-15 last night, and Michael Young in particular is struggling, descending into Avila range (.111, .284 OPS).

Today it is Kid Rick’s turn to shine.  Porcello looks to even up the series against Matt Harrison, another Texas lefty.  This game is a big one for both teams, perhaps more so for Texas, with Justin Verlander waiting in the wings.  Harrison had a good season (14-9, 3.39) but gives Texas fans some reasons to be nervous.  Harrison’s career stats at Comerica:  1-3, 5.56, with opponents hitting .358 against him.  The current Tiger roster is batting .400 career against him (1.172 OPS), with Cabrera, Raburn, Inge, Avila, and Jackson all .400 or better.  Look for Raburn to have a big day.  The Fall Guy is 8-for-12 career against Harrison, with a 2.026 OPS.

So were any of our readers at the game yesterday?  Ranger fans seem to think the Tiger crowd was awfully dead for a playoff game.

Update:  it appears once again the weather is trying to rain on the Tiger parade. The tarp is on the field at Comerica.  Estimate start time moved to 5:45. 6:30.

Today’s playoff trivia answer:  Lloyd McClendon, 1992, Pirates (.727 /.750, 1.932 OPS).  So don’t try to pin any playoff slumping business on Ol’ Lloyd

Player of the Pre-Game:  Miguel Cabrera

Not only did Cabrera hit the majestic home run yesterday, but for the second consecutive game had the play of the game with his glove.  Let’s go for three.

Today’s Let’s-Get-Even Lineup:

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


106 thoughts on “Game 2011 Playoffs.9: Rangers at Tigers”

  1. yesterday i said ‘the winner of game 4 will win the series’, McCarver just said the same thing, thus confirming i must be wrong

    Porcello is the key

  2. Ricky is pitching with something to prove as he thought he should have started game 2! May he have his stuff today! Go TIGERS!

  3. Porcello throwing strikes. That’s right – make ’em swing and don’t let them stay in the box too long.

  4. Porcello has established his 2-seam fastball.
    Porcello has established his 4-seam fastball.
    Porcello has established his slider.

  5. A former exchange student just called me from Germany to say he was fired up watching the Tigers and enjoying German beer!

  6. worked out for the rangers, but that was stupid for kinsler to try and steal third, he gets thrown out, that would have been a HUGE break for DET.

    Harrison has 91 pitches going into the 6th, they had better get to HIM NOW before TX goes to their bullpen

  7. Tigers have 3 hits – not going to win many games with just 3 hits…

    projected hero: DYoung

  8. Joe Buck – Inge won’t pull it but Beltrie is guarding the line for a double!

  9. Actually, I would have snt him. You gotta try it. Their rf has a gun! And Miggy not the fastest. Lets hold them + get 1 next inning.

  10. The only way to rid ourselves of the evil that is Gene Lamont is to fire Leyland, and the only way to get rid of Leyland is to fire Dombrowski, so we might as well take a deep breath and accept this.

  11. I hate that we have to use Valverde here. This has to be a 1 inning appearance for him. Schlereth should be next.

  12. If we’re gonna go down, better to go down with our best arm out there.

    Series isn’t over yet.

  13. What could Leyland do? He was outta quality arms. Rangers bullpen depth is the difference in this series, other than our weak bats.

    1. Not sure if I have a better solution. But I’m not surprised. I think it was a lose/lose for Leyland. If it’s not Valverde, Coke or Perry are likely gonna get beat.

      This one is on the bats.

      1. agree 100%. Truth is, our lineup was hugely meh for 2/3 of the season, got crazy hot at the end, and has regressed to the mean now. We don’t get extra base power from second, third, and center field. Stuff to address in the offseason.

  14. Let’s make a pact and focus on one game at a time. I’ll start with a full pro JV post tomorrow. Let’s just win tomorrow, and then worry about what’s next.

  15. A few years back another team in this town thought it had a championship wraped up after winning game 3 in a 7 game series. That team and its fans were giddy with the thought that they were up 3 zip and with a game 7 to be played, if even necessary, at our building. 4 games later a guy named “Cindy” Crosby was hoisting the cup in our building. Our team and the rest of us just could not believe it actually happened. But it happened because it can happen.

    We’ve got JV, Sherzer and the “Fist” coming up. We just need some offense and we’re on our way. It ain’t over til it’s over. Keep the faith.

    1. You speak the truth. I was at the game today; it was a crushing blow. But…. momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s starter and I like the next three guys we’re sending up there. We could just as easily be up 3-1 right now and there’s no reason we can’t rattle off 3 wins. Is it likely? No, it’s not. We’re hurt and we have no margin for error, but ya never know…. 🙂

  16. Nice pep talk, but the Wings were only up 2-0, and in fact after 4 games the series was tied.

    Hopefully JV is not a hockey fan…

  17. Hmmm……I had this same feeling back in ’68 and ’06. However as a hopeful positive scenario, Verlander needs to go deep while the Tiger bats also get into the Ranger bullpen. That would set up Sherzer very well and also give our bullpen a rest. Fister is then a great start for game 7. Again, the middle lineup I needs to bat as getting only 3 hits for Porcello didn’t work. Keep the faith. Go Tigers.

  18. even with the injuries i still believe DET is the best team left in the playoffs, unfortunately the offense has just not delivered… the Tigers were a clutch hit away from winning the first 4 games

    winning 3 in a row against the Rangers is not impossible; but DET offense has to dramatically improve for that to happen

    1. I don’t know about that “best team” moniker, SN$. Offensively, the Rangers are better at every position save 1B & SS (LF could be a toss-up). Defensively, the Rangers are better at every position save 1B, C & CF. Pitching-wise – the Tigers’ 1-4 starters are better, but the Rangers’ bullpen is so superior that they are winning every close game. Rangers are also better on the basepaths – better speed and better coaching.

      I think the Tigers have had their chances, and will over the next several nights. But we’re losing to a better team.

    2. Hey, I think the Tigers are very much in this. We just need JV to go out there today and be JV, and if Max can keep match his solid performances from his other postseason starts then we could easily be looking at a game 7. From there anything can happen. However…

      There is no way that the Tigers with(!) their injuries are the better team. I’m not sure the Tigers at full-strength are the better team. Their starting pitching is solid but unspectacular while their bullpen is spectacular. Their lineup is stacked with a mix of power, speed, and average. The Rangers don’t really have a weakness on their team.

  19. When comparing teams, any thoughts on who has the better manager and GM? Dave is more prettier than Nolan but has a lousy sinker!

  20. Game 5 line-up:

    Jackson 8, Raburn 9, Cabrera 3, Martinez dh, Young 7, Peralta 6, Inge 5, Avila 2, Santiago 4

    Leyland says no Benoit or Valverde. He wants Verlander to pitch a complete game, otherwise it’s Coke. No pressure, though, Justin!

  21. Texas is the better team. For the Tigers to have a better series, and thus win the series, you almost had to have 2 Wins from Justin Verlander. In short, we needed Justin Verlander to be just ‘average’ for Justin Verlander. He hasn’t really been close to that, and never has been in the postseason. He has a cumulative 5.71 ERA in the postseason over his career, which includes a 5.54 ERA postseason this year. That’s not going to get it done unless Texas pitchers implode. But that hasn’t happened. What has happened is that for most of the series, the Tigers hitters have made some decent pitchers look phenomenal. Too many guys trying to be the hero swinging for the fences and ending up with a ton of strikeouts, swinging bunts, and long flyouts. I think this is likely because the Rangers have much better coaching. They know how to gameplan. Maddux came up with a gameplan based on good scouting and the Rangers pitching staff have executed it brilliantly. And other than a couple of exceptions, the Tigers hitters haven’t adjusted. It’s difficult to watch Austin Jackson at the plate….unless you enjoy watching a Judy trying to imitate Babe Ruth, swinging from his heals and racking up K’s left and right. Frustrating. The Tigers could learn a lot from watching Miguel Cabrera, who shortened his stroke with two strikes once during the series and lightly poked a line drive double to right field in a key situation. That’s how you win ball games.

  22. Buddy of mine has a single avail, section 118, row 2, seat 9. Paid $266, asking $250. If you’ve got an offer, post here and I’ll have him email you. He’s at the ballpark now.

  23. Time for Verlander to step up and drop his 5.71 ERA in seven playoff starts. Don’t want to start calling him the A-Rod of the mound.

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