September 30th, 2014 at 2:44 PM
By Max DeMara
The Detroit Tigers have finally unveiled the long-awaited plans for their starting rotation against the Baltimore Orioles, and a familiar face will be taking the ball in game two.
Detroit goes with Max Scherzer in game one. Game two goes to Verlander, while David Price takes game three. Rick Porcello will finish the established position of things off by taking game four.
Headline-wise, the fact that Verlander received game two will make the biggest noise. Despite his playoff track record and better stats recently, Verlander hasn't been himself lately. He struggled to a 15-12 finish in 2014.
The argument can certainly be made that Verlander is rounding back into form late in the season, and has always been a premiere playoff performer. Detroit's star pitcher even has excellent splits at Camden Yards, going 7-0 career there with a 2.84 ERA and 43 strikeouts.
But, when Dave Dombrowski traded for Price at the deadline, it was with designs on the biggest games. If Scherzer should falter in game one, wouldn't it be nice for the Tigers to turn to Price, a man who's pitched into the ninth and eighth innings during his last two starts? Wouldn't it be nice to save the bullpen, which tends to get taxed heaviest in Scherzer starts, and could be prone to need work if Verlander struggles?Read more... Join the Conversation...
September 30th, 2014 at 10:23 AM
By Max DeMara
This season, the Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles battled in some very intense competition in their brief but meaningful encounters. Detroit won the overall season series 5-1, but that wasn't without an intensive struggle.
Five of the six games contested were decided by three runs or less. Two Detroit victories featured intense Baltimore comebacks at the hands of a shaky bullpen. One win was only thanks to Miguel Cabrera's late inning heroics.
All of this should figure to create a series that could go either way, regardless of what past results might say. What are some important storylines to consider for both sides? Here's five to remember during the ALDS.
1. Brad Ausmus's Bullpen Management. Closer Joe Nathan has gotten his act together for now, and Joba Chamberlain has put a few rocky performances behind him. That will certainly help, but what will Ausmus do without a capable left-handed pitcher (Blaine Hardy has been nose-diving and Phil Coke remains inconsistent). Moreover, will Ausmus continue to stubbornly limit a quality Joakim Soria's impact to mop up duty? If the situation arises, will Ausmus play with fire by leaving starters in for extra innings? How and when the rookie manager decides to use his bullpen will say plenty about how far the Tigers go, and if they're able to overcome a tough Baltimore team.Read more... Join the Conversation...
September 29th, 2014 at 10:25 AM
By Max DeMara
Sunday, Ian Kinsler sprayed champagne and celebrated much the same way he swung and played defense most of the year; with reckless abandon.
Some would think it a slight, but in reality, that's the biggest complement that can be provided to the Detroit Tigers' second baseman. In the most important week of the year, Kinsler continued to show his worth in the field and at the plate, going all out in both phases of the game at the right moment.
Sunday, it was Kinsler doing the dirty work again. Nearly by himself, with excellent defense, a home run and a key single in the late stages, the second baseman helped his Tigers to their long-awaited divisional crown.
Now, with the playoffs coming this week, Kinsler can once again be the engine driving a team through. Career, his .311 postseason batting average, four home runs and 20 RBIs are an impressive slash line. This is a guy who knows how to hit in the postseason, and has plenty of experience doing so. It seems he's getting hot at the right time.Read more... Join the Conversation...
September 28th, 2014 at 4:51 PM
By Max DeMara
DETROIT—-There hasn't been a party like this in the Motor City since 1987, but when Alex Avila squeezed the last out just to the left of home plate, the Detroit Tigers had assured themselves a celebration 27 years in the making.
Ian Kinsler's clutch day at the plate and a massive afternoon from David Price and the bullpen helped push the Tigers over the Minnesota Twins 3-0. Finally, the division had been clinched.
In his second biggest start of the week, Price was dialed in early. Through the first two innings, he only allowed two Twins hits while collecting four strikeouts. The offense backed him up in the third when Kinsler cranked his 17th home run of the season to get Detroit on the board.
Price, with his pitch count elevating, wiggled into the fourth with two runners on, but worked around the jam. Similarly in the fifth, Price allowed a double to Aaron Hicks, but induced a fly out to end the threat. The starter was allowed to continue into the seventh, an inning he dominated getting Minnesota in order.Read more... Join the Conversation...
September 28th, 2014 at 11:57 AM
By Max DeMara
DETROIT—Sunday morning, Rajai Davis was upbeat about his chances of competing in game one of the American League Division Series.
That was a change from Saturday night, when cloudy uncertainty complicated things after Davis suffered a grade one pubic symphesis strain and left the game. He was replaced by Ezequiel Carerra, who will draw Sunday afternoon's start.
Davis said that he hoped to be ready for the ALDS next week, and that he was feeling better this morning than he did last night. Tigers' trainer Kevin Rand spoke to the media Sunday, and didn't have much new to say regarding Davis's status, despite admitting Detroit got fortunate with the injury. Basically, it remains a game of wait and see.
After Saturday's game, Tigers' manager Brad Ausmus was among the first to highlight the optimism."It's not his groin, he's actually moving pretty well," Ausmus said when pressed on the status of his center fielder.
"I just talked to him, he said he actually feels pretty good, but that's obviously not running, he's walking around the clubhouse," Ausmus added.Read more... Join the Conversation...