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ALCS Game 1: Tigers at Rangers

Oct 8, 2011, 9:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Justin Verlander leads the Tigers into Texas for the ALCS.

If the rest of this month produces even half the drama we've seen in the last 10 days, this will go down as the greatest postseason in baseball history. Between the frantic final day of the regular season and then the three decisive Game 5's the last two days — each of them decided by one run — it's been a glorious time to be a baseball fan.

And now we move on to the final four. Tomorrow, the Cardinals and Brewers will commence what has the potential to be an epic NLCS given all the personalities and bad blood between those two franchises. But first up tonight, the Tigers and Rangers get the ALCS underway with the best pitcher in the sport taking the mound.

Detroit managed to topple the Yankees in the Division Series despite getting only one start out of Justin Verlander. He'll need to play a bigger role in this series for the Tigers to emerge victorious, and it's quite possible he will if Jim Leyland lets him start Games 4 and 7 on short rest. Verlander's task is no picnic. He's got to face a deep and prodigious Texas lineup, not to mention a top-notch lefty in C.J. Wilson, who will look to get the Rangers one step closer to a return trip to the World Series.

How will this series ultimately play out? Scroll down for my prediction…

AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – GAME 1
DETROIT TIGERS at TEXAS RANGERS
Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Gametime: 8:05 p.m.
TV: Fox
Radio: WTEM (980 AM), WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), XM 89
Weather: Chance of storms, 82 degrees, Wind 11 mph in from CF

STARTING LINEUPS
TIGERS
CF Austin Jackon
LF Ryan Raburn
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez

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  1. natsfan1a - Oct 8, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Has been lots of fun watching the games so far, when I could stay awake for them. Another great Jim Leyland Techno moment the other day, when he mentioned having received an advisory telegram from a college professor (someone else corrected and said that it was a fax). Leyland and his team will continue to get the Luddite Solidarity nod from me. Go, Tigers!

  2. Drew8 - Oct 8, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    I hope you're right, Mark. I stopped rooting for Texas when the last Senator (Toby Harrah?) left the club.In this series I'm pulling for Detroit. Beyond the team's tradition, I'm wishing Verlander well. His family lives in Goochland County outside of Richmond and by all accounts they're decent, pleasant folks. What a talent their son is.Of course, the state of Michigan sure needs a lift.

  3. Dawn - Oct 8, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    Like the prediction Mr. Z. No surprise that I am rooting for the Tigers (my home team). Got a phone call from my husband 30 minutes ago (bless his heart), we have tickets for next Wednesdays game in Detroit.You'd think with Verlander on the mound I'd feel confident. But, if I've learned anything in this postseason it's to expect the unexpected (really, Nyjer?).

  4. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 8, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    As much as I'd prefer seeing the Tigers win, I think the Rangers have a slight advantage overall, not least given that four games will (potentially) be played in a park that favors their HR hitters. And while Verlander is certainly the ace of the series, I don't see Leyland using him to start three games and I don't see the Tigers having that significant an advantage in the remainder of the two staffs (starting or relief). I also think the Tigers will suffer with the decision that Delmon Young can't/won't play. I'm thinking/expecting Rangers in six or seven, but I'd loved to be proved wrong.

  5. baseballswami - Oct 9, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    Since I generally don't care all that much about American League baseball – I find the whole dh thing boring – I don't really have a dog in this fight. So I guess for the first time in about a month or so I can watch a game with absolutely no emotions. Well – right up until it gets exciting – then I will probably choose a side and stay up too late. It's a disease.

  6. Joe Seamhead - Oct 9, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    I hope youRe right, Mark, though I also have no affinity for either team. Detroit hasn't had much to cheer about for a long time, and for that reason alone I'm pulling for them.Also, I was a Senators fan, and Texas, along with Bob Short, stole our team. I haven't forgotten. Freakin' carpetbaggers.

  7. DCGuy7 - Oct 9, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    may be worth watching Detroit/Texas just to hear Terry Francona do color commentary

  8. Gonat - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    RYAN HOWARD – RUPTURED ACHILLES TENDON. MOST LIKELY WON'T BE READY TO START THE 2012 SEASON

  9. FS - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    Can't watch the game because it is not on TBS. Anyways, watching Danny's defensive highlights. So many videos to see! Awesome!Sorry to hear about Howard. Would have preferred to beat Phillies at full strength. :D

  10. natsfan1a - Oct 9, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    Bummer for Howard. Went out to dinner with a friend and later turned on tv during the first rain delay. Watched Detroit staging a comeback and some entertaining interviews until the second rain delay. Set the DVR because I won't be up to watch the rest of it.

  11. SCNatsFan - Oct 9, 2011 at 4:51 AM

    I'm sure the networks are happy with tex, det, milw and st l. Good to see that spending the most $ doesn't mean you get a ticket to the finals… just the prelims.For Howard, hate it for him. I hope we kick Philly butt next year but I want them at full strength.Guess I root for Tex as they have their farm team here in MB and played here last year. Good a reason as any,

  12. Gonat - Oct 9, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    SCNatsFan said… For Howard, hate it for him. I hope we kick Philly butt next year but I want them at full strength. October 9, 2011 12:51 AM ____________________________Injuries are part of the game. The difference is the Philly fans will always make excuses.The Nats were never really at full-strength last year. The Nats played no games where Strasburg, LaRoche, and Zim were all available and never used that as an excuse.The Nats only had LaRoche for 43 games and the sad part was he was never really healthy. I'm still not convinced that Zim ever started the season healthy and out of the 101 games he appeared in, he may have been at full strength for 1/2 of those.

  13. Gonat - Oct 9, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=RF&sid=l119&t=p_pbp&pid=547180Bryce Harper starts off the AFL in a funk. 0-13 with 4 K's. Norris is 2-11 wtih no walks. I have to wonder if this is the start of Norris trying to be more aggressive at the plate or the fact the pitchers are being aggressive on him.Always good to see all the top players competing against each other.

  14. NatsLady - Oct 9, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Stayed up for the whole game. Tired today but it was really exciting. That closer, pretty hot stuff. Maybe Henry will get there one day. I hope they renegotiate the tv contracts to match how people live their livt there one day. Enjoyed the game being on Fox so I could watch it in full, not just the "companion" coverage on MLBtv.

  15. Anonymous - Oct 9, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    short blurb on Solis from Keith Law.Washington lefty Sammy Solis faced off against Detroit southpaw Andy Oliver on Thursday afternoon, with Solis pitching better and showing himself to be the better prospect. Solis was 91-94 with an average changeup at 82-83, showing good arm speed on the pitch, but the low slot and lack of an average breaking ball limits his ceiling to the back of a big-league rotation.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
OCT. 7: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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