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ALDS Game 1: Tigers at Yankees

Oct 1, 2011, 12:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Justin Verlander starts tonight's series opener at Yankee Stadium.

No pitcher in baseball had the kind of season Justin Verlander did. The Tigers ace posted a stunning 24-5 record to go with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts. And now he attempts to lead Detroit to its first World Series title in 27 years. The challenge — going head-to-head with Yankees ace CC Sabathia — is a stiff one, but who would you rather have matched up against Sabathia and New York's potent lineup than Verlander?

The Tigers have quite a potent lineup of their own, headlined by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. They've got a closer in Jose Valverde who was a perfect 49-for-49 in save opportunities this season. And they've got the kind of rotation depth the Yankees wish they had right now.

Will that be enough to pull off a series victory? Scroll down for my prediction…

AL DIVISION SERIES – GAME 1
DETROIT TIGERS at NEW YORK YANKEES
Where: Yankee Stadium
Gametime: 8:37 p.m.
TV: TBS
Radio: WTEM (980 AM), WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), XM 89
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 68 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
TIGERS
CF Austin Jackson
RF Magglio Ordonez
LF Delmon Young
1B Miguel Cabrera

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  1. dryw - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    I know the Nats' season is over, but I just have to point out that our 24-year-old closer is right there in the ballpark (ok, yeah, pun intended) with the closer of the team Mark is picking to win the ALDS. Hopefully it won't be too long until other teams' bloggers are posting about our Drew in the post season!

  2. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    Wow, the Yankees even have a sponsor for their rain delays. Have to admit that the windshield graphic on the scoreboard is pretty cool. But NYY pinstriped rain ponchos? Really?? Go, Tigers! (if it ever stops raining)

  3. Anonymous - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    The Nats have one: Strasburg on an innings limit next season. Zimmermann still specs out as a strong #3 when you match them against elite teams and really just the teams in their own division. Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Florida now has a new retractable roof stadium, they will not stand pat in the off season.The Nats need that guy, a Grienke-like guy, who can lead them next season with Stras basically in the #2 spot until he gets shut down. They have plenty and then some to fill out the #4/#5 slots. But they must nail down that young veteran ace in the offseason if they expect to close in 90 wins. And so it is almost folly for Rizzo to state that the lead-off/ high OBP guy is the highest priority. Is that because he knows how difficult it is to to get that starter? Because he was excoriated for failing to fill his #1 need during the last offseason?For the Nats, they really do have most all of what they need already in house for the 8 positions around the mound. Its the mound that's the key. And they need that guy. They need an Anibel Sanchez or Javier Vasquez … someone or two.

  4. Gonat - Oct 1, 2011 at 4:17 AM

    Anon @11:21, I don't agree with your thoughts on the pitching staff.Have you really looked at Greinke's numbers this year? His ERA is Lannan-like. I guess you look more at Wins & Losses records than WHIP, ERA, BA, BA w/ RISP, Road Record, etc.

  5. Anonymous8 - Oct 1, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    Gonat, you are correct on Greinke, he receives top run support of 5.3 runs while he is in the game. His 3.83 ERA is that of a #3 or #4 pitcher. Greinke does have a stealth K9 of 10.50. The 16-6 W/L is what most casual fans look at. His WAR of 1.60 according to Baseball Reference and Fangraphs has his WAR at 3.90 gives a wide range of his value.

  6. baseballswami - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Jordan Zimmermann, even in his first year back after TJ, ranked really high in most categories, nl and mlb-wide this year. Don't let his lack of run support, win-loss record fool you. There is no way he is a number three. Even though Strassie is a ridiculous talent, there is a case to be made for JZim to be the number 1 in 2012 to give Strassie some mental breathing space and because he will be shut down at some point. His game on Wednesday was incredible but he will still be up and down in the regular season. And if we don't scare up some run support, the frustration will affect him. He wears all his emotions on his sleeve and the veteran players on other teams will exploit that. I think it's kind of funny that JZim is the most under- appreciated by some of his own fans. Other teams know full-well how good he is.

  7. Gonat - Oct 1, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Baseballswami – JZim under-appreciated? Most of the Nats fans have no clue how good he truly is. They look at end-results which is Wins & Losses.Tim Lincecum finished the season with a 13-14 record and a 2.73 ERA and 2.7 in run support while he was in the game. Tim Lincecum is a legend already. Jordan Zimmermann had a 3.18 ERA with a WHIP better than Lincecum. JZim's run support while in the game (adjusted to 9 innings) was 2.60 runs per game.If Jordan Zimmermann received Zach Greinke's run support he would have been 19-2 with 5 no decisions instead of the 8-11 he actually had with 7 no decisions.Tim Lincecum would have been 28-1 with 4 no decisions if he had Greinke's run support.Ian Kennedy ended up 21-4 and received 4.3 run support for his innings pitched. He had a 2.88 ERAJohn Lannan had a 3.70 ERA with 3.60 of run support for the innings he pitched.Can you see the pattern here? Oh, and Zach Greinke would have been 11-12 with 5 no decisions with Jordan Zimmermann's run support.

  8. sjm308 - Oct 1, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Here is another vote for JZimm to pitch opening day next season. Besides his won-loss record he was among top ten in the NL in most other catagories, and I think his season should be rewarded with that honor. I would also give thought to moving SS to the #5 spot in the rotation for several reasons.1. the weather in Chicago can be nasty2. the #5 guy usually gets skipped more and this would allow him to pitch deeper into the season than JZimm did this past year.3. I realize he can handle pressure but he is still coming off a big injury and this might help ease him in.4. Pretty nice scenerio when they are both firing on all cylinders to have SS followed by JZim.for what its worth, I agree with Anon whichever that thinks we need another veteran pitcher and I give the Lerners permission to spend their money on CC or Yu Darvish, CJ Wilson or Mark Buerle (in that order)

  9. Gonat - Oct 1, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    sjm (Steve J. M.), I agree with you about JZim and Strasburg. The difference between last season with JZim and 2012 will be strategically saving some Stras innings which they didn't do with JZim other than trying to keep him between 5 to 6 innings to start the season.Rizzo needs to save enough starts to get him into early October if needed. How do you do it? The Nats will have to be creative and need to skip 1 start in April, May, June, and August where they are only pitching him 5 starts per month April, May, June and August. In July with the All Star break they can pitch him 4 times. If they average 5 to 6 innings per start then in September they can tandem start him (2 innings per start) to save innings if the Nats are in the hunt. That will get Strasburg into October baseball if needed with 15 innings left to stay at 162 innings. The 15 innings is basically 2 post-season starts.On your other points, the Nats aren't getting CC. Yu Darvish is the big name. He also hasn't pitched MLB baseball and you hope it isn't a Daisuke situation. CJ Wilson, we all saw him pitch yesterday and the replay is on the MLB Network right now if you missed it—NOT GREAT. CJ Wilson is now officially 1-3 record in the post-season. Mark Buehrle would be my 1st pick if he didn't stink so bad his last 5 starts. His 1st 20 starts were great. I still like Wandy if the Nats can trade for him with little in return. Wandy's .218 Batting Average against the Marlins is something I like although Wandy stinks against the Phillies.There really is no perfect solution with getting a top line pitcher.

  10. baseballswami - Oct 1, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Gonat – great statistical back up on my un-scientific post. SS has star- quality and amazing talent. JZim quietly goes about being awesome. You have to look under the surface when it comes to pitching because it is affected so much by the other things that happen in a game. Even though I knew these things in my gut — I had to read your post 3 times just to grasp the full import of how extreme it is. It frustrates me when our own people don't realize what a great asset JZim is.

  11. Anonymous - Oct 1, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but wouldn't the easiest way to stretch out Strasburg's innings be put him on a 6-day rotation? We could use someone from the bullpen to fill in the missing assignments. The major alternative as I see it, is to put him on a tight pitch count — maybe 70-80 pitches per start. That would keep him in teh 5-day rotation, but would also unfortunately pretty much guarantee that he would never get very deep into games, and might mean more work for Clip/Storen/Burnett. I'd rather have him on a 6 day cycle.

  12. Gonat - Oct 1, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    CJ Wilson pitched inter-league in Philly this year. He gave up 3 runs over 7 innings. Problem was he gave up 2 HRs and 1 was to lefty Raul Ibanez. Here's where CJ Wilson needs to improve, Leftys hit him better at .251 vs. .227 but he is so good against RH batters.Wandy is .233 against lefties and .256 against righties.Buehrle is .251 against lefties and .288 against righties.Buehrle and CJ Wilson get some credit for pitching against a DH vs. a pitcher.All these pitchers have their pluses and minuses. Buehrle has a great BB/9 at 2.0, Wilson is 3.0 and Wandy is 3.3You will notice that CJ Wilson and Buehrle have the same BA vs. lefties, the big difference is CJ Wilson is much better vs. RH batters.

  13. Gonat - Oct 1, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    baseballswami – thanks. I really like what I see in JZim and you want to know where he stinks? Frustration earned runs. There is no stat for it. Its when something doesn't go a pitchers way and they lose concentration based on frustration. The ump misses a call or a fielder boots a ball and then next batter steps in and they give up a HR.I saw it against Sean Burroughs, Aramis Ramirez and a few other times. He needs to compose himself and make another great pitch.

  14. Gonat - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Anon @ 10:44, Ray Knight suggested a 6 starter rotation. Problem is you lose either a bench player or a bullpen guy.If you do a 6 starter rotation, Detwiler seems to shine on extra rest and possibly Wang also. There was a time when teams did 4 man rotations. Not sure if Rizzo would allow it. Its certainly an interesting idea.If you pitch Stras an average of 6 days rest for 6 innings per start he gets to pitch the entire regular season.

  15. NatsLady - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Re: Strasburg's "innings llmit." Don't think the 160 innings is 160 ANY innings. It's a five month season (162 innings so Stras qualifies for awards). A six man rotation or other "stretching out" ideas defeat the purpose. You want him to pitch a five-month (minor-league length season). If by some chance we are in it in October, and he has rested for the month of September, then you bring him back in.

  16. NatsLady - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    I like what I see in JZimm also. Speed, stamina, etc., all there. Now he needs to go to the Clippard school of what you do when you get a missed call or a dropped ball: throw an EXTRA strike, a better strike.

  17. Anonymous8 - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    NatsLady, not saying you are wrong, why would the April to August matter vs. April to September? I didn't think the months were requisite as it was the amount of pitches thrown in a calendar year.

  18. baseballswami - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Gonat – I know what you mean. I think basically he is a tough- minded kid – the whole pitching with your jaw wired shut thing and all. But – he is also very young, never had a full season, and was really dealt the amount of frustration that would make a veteran weep. I think with maturity his composure and concentration will grow also. And if he does get some run support then there will be some margin for error – he has been pitching where every pitch is do or die. I have seen much older pitchers have a lapse right after something goes wrong. It seems like he is aware of it and will fight it. Did you see the guy who pitched for the Rays lasg night? Seemed like he didn't even have a pulse! I am much more worried about Strassie – seems like his emotions are on a short leash.

  19. Gonat - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    NatsLady said… I like what I see in JZimm also. Speed, stamina, etc., all there. Now he needs to go to the Clippard school of what you do when you get a missed call or a dropped ball: throw an EXTRA strike, a better strike. October 1, 2011 11:35 AM ____________________________________Bingo, I noticed the same with Lannan and his frustration factor. He gets very unfocused when things don't go his way.Jordan Z. has to regroup and like you say throw an EXTRA strike, a better strike.

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    OK… Watched the Nats/Braves FIL game at Disney yesterday. First off, these games TRULY are meaningless in that each team uses 2 DH's, freely substitute pinch runners and even throw in the towel if an inning gets out of hand like yesterdays first inning.The Braves started a fairly highly touted low "A" guy name David Filak (4th round pick last year). He gave up a lead off single to Mike Taylor (more about him later), followed by a single to left by Jeff Kobernus followed by a blast over the left field fence by Tyler Moore.The two scouts sitting behind me (one from the Mariners and the other from the Cubs) said about Moore, "another day, another home run" which leads me to believe he's continued in mid season form. Filak walked David Freitas and and Justin Bloxom immediately deposited one deep over the right field fence for a 5 – 0 lead. Sandy Leon walks and Jason Martinson finally grounds a ball sharply to third who then throws what must have been a pretty good slider to first as the first baseman completely missed the throw. Leon scores and Martinson gets all the way to third.It was at that point that the Braves cried "Uncle" because they saw the potential of never getting out of the inning. The manager waved a towel, all the Braves came in and the Nats took the field with a 6 – 0 lead after never recording an out in the top of the first.I'll post more info later as Matt Purke threw 1 and 2/3 innings and looked pretty polished for a first time professional and a couple of other arms not previously known looked pretty impressive as well.

  21. Mark'd - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    Gonat, never heard the term Frustration Earned Runs before and have to believe with experience will be a non-factor. Does Frustration ER also include seeing Doug Slaten warming up behind you in the bullpen and know any inherited runners you give him will score on your ERA?

  22. NatsLady - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    April vs. September1) Stras rested and trained through the winter2) You don't want to concede games in the beginning the season. That is when you can get a good head start on WINS.3) You have extra pitchers in September (call-up).4) If you are still in it at the end of Auguat, you can re-evaluate Stras' innings limit, you can never re-evaluate April, you can't get those "lost" games back. So have him win 4 or 5 games in April (please!).5) As I said before, if by some chance (not so weird after this year!) you are in it in October and Stras has rested a month, bring him back in.It's true the number of pitches in a game matters, but also the warming up, the stress etc. I'm not a doctor, but I would guess that a month of rest is better than 1 extra day of rest per start, plus you disturb the routine of other pitchers and mess with the bench/bullpen.

  23. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Good points re. frustration earned runs, Gonat. They ought to make a stat for that. :-)In other news, your 2012 edition of (former) Nats with playoff teams. Hope I didn't miss anyone, and I can't wait until it's *active* Nats on a postseason roster! (In alpha order because what else would you expect from an indexer?)Brewers, Nyjer MorganDiamondbacks, N/APhillies, Brian SchneiderRangers, Endy ChavezRays, Joel PeraltaYankees (yuck), Luis AyalaA one degree of Nats separation tip of the cap to the Tigers for Da Meat Hook's brother, Delmon Young. (Also, how awesome is it to have a pitcher named Al Alburquerque?)

  24. John - Oct 1, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Thanks NatsJack. I always appreciate your reports. I guess Purke is not going to the AFL. Did you see, or hear anything about how Harper and Rendon did, and how Meyer, Goodwin, and Turnbull are doing?Any and all info is greatly appreciated. You are the only source I am aware of that is down there. I wish Mark would set up a place for you to post for us. Thanks again.

  25. Gonat - Oct 1, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Thanks NatsJack, sounds like the baby-Braves are playing like the baby-Braves if you know what I mean.Need to hear more on Purke. If Tyler Moore took some walks, he could be a Major League prospect. One reason to have Marrero with the Nats next season is to get Tyler Moore some AAA time to further progress.

  26. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Crud, I forgot Jerry Hairston, Jr. with the Brewers, as noted in Mark's new post. Heh.

  27. Gonat - Oct 1, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Baseballswami said…And if he does get some run support then there will be some margin for error – he has been pitching where every pitch is do or die._________________________Glad you mentioned that. Great point. That average of 2.60 in run support where every game you get 5 means you get 0 on the other side and that is how JZim's year went.In having -balance- as we talked about, I think Rizzo knows that adding just LaRoche isn't enough. he can get some good outfielders to bring up the numbers. More players on base in front of Zim, Morse, and LaRoche should get these "run support" numbers up.

  28. Mark'd - Oct 1, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    JZim had games where he gave up 1 run three times and 0 runs 6 times. Of those 9 games his record was 4-2 with 3 no decisions. JZim averaged 6 2/3 innings in those starts. Hard to believe in over 6 innings in 5 of those starts the Nats couldn't put together even 2 runs of support. That's FRUSTRATION!!!Check out the June 29th boxscore

  29. Anonymous - Oct 1, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    here is what I see happening with our starting pitching rotation. 2 spots for Zim and Stras. 1 spot for Wang. 1 spot for if we go free agent/Darvish. I spot for Detwiler or Lannan. I like Detwiler to win this spot. The one of either Detwiler or Lannan who is not a part of the rotation is probably traded for a bat. Peacock, even if he does well in spring training will probably be sent back down to AAA (AKA Detwiler last year) and is a play/injury away from being recalled anytime during the season. He also takes Stras spot after he reaches is inning limit.I can see Milone taking over the long relief duty from Gorzolany.

  30. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Oh, and forgot to say Cardinals also N/A.natsfan1a said… Good points re. frustration earned runs, Gonat. They ought to make a stat for that. :-) In other news, your 2012 edition of (former) Nats with playoff teams. Hope I didn't miss anyone, and I can't wait until it's *active* Nats on a postseason roster! (In alpha order because what else would you expect from an indexer?) Brewers, Nyjer Morgan Diamondbacks, N/A Phillies, Brian Schneider Rangers, Endy Chavez Rays, Joel Peralta Yankees (yuck), Luis Ayala A one degree of Nats separation tip of the cap to the Tigers for Da Meat Hook's brother, Delmon Young. (Also, how awesome is it to have a pitcher named Al Alburquerque?) October 1, 2011 11:52 AM

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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ON THE RADIO

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TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
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