2012 MLB ALDS: “Cy” Verlander powers the Tigers to the ALCS

12 10 2012

In game 5 of the 2012 Divisional series between AL Central Champs Detroit Tigers and AL West Champs Oakland A’s, Justin Verlander showed the world that he is Detroit‘s best closer by shutting down the A’s in a series clinching 6-0 victory.  The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner prevented Jim Leyland from using his shaky bullpen in the win.  Verlander needed just 122 pitches in his 4-hit gem. He fanned 11 batters en route to become the first Tigers pitcher to throw a postseason shutout in 40 years. The last Tiger do so was Joe Coleman in the 1972 ALDS.

With the win, the Tigers will be waiting for the winner between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.  If the Orioles win, Detroit will be hosting game 1 a day after tomorrow.  If New York wins, Detroit will travel to Yankees Stadium for Game 1 of the ALCS. Last year, the Tigers were eliminated in the ALCS by the Texas Rangers.

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


MLB Opening Day: Tiger’s Valverde finally blew a save but got the win

6 04 2012
2010-02-20 #68a Jose Valverde

2010-02-20 #68a Jose Valverde (Photo credit: lakelandlocal)

579 days. That is how long has it been since closer Jose Valverde last blew a save. In Detroit Tiger’s season opener against the Boston Red Sox, Valverde blew a 2-0 lead handed by reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in the 9th inning. His save streak ends at 51, the third highest total ever in Major League Baseball history. As a consolation, he was credited the win as the Tigers scored at the bottom of the nine behind a bases loaded single by leadoff man Austin Jackson.

Longest Save streaks in MLB History:

  1. Eric Gagne, 84
  2. Tom Gordon, 54
  3. Jose Valverde, 51

MLB 2011 ALCS:Verlander, Tigers survive memorable Game 5

14 10 2011
Justin Verlander

Image via Wikipedia

The American League Championship Series (ALCS) is going back to Texas as the Detroit Tigers managed to delay the Texas Ranger‘s return to the World Series as they won 7-4 at Comerica Park. Here are some interesting stats for Game 5 of the 2011 ALCS:

Game 5 by the numbers:

133 – is the number of pitches thrown by leading Cy Young award candidate Justin Verlander. It is 2 shy from Jack Morris‘ Tiger’s postseason record he set in Game 1 of the 1984 World Series. The last time a player made 133 pitches in the playoffs was in 2003 NLCS with Mark Prior throwing 133 pitches for the Cubs.

3 – is the number of consecutive postseason appearance that Texas reliever Koji Uehara conceded a home run. He is the first player ever  to do so.

5- is the number of home runs that Nelson Cruz have in the series. It is a league championship series record.

100 – is the speed of Verlander’s last pitch in the game in miles per hour. It was hit by Cruz to a home run.

Other memorable stuff in game 5:

The lucky bounce- With score tied 2-2 with a runner at first and no outs, Miguel Cabrera hit a ball to third that could be an easy double play but the ball bounced into the bag over the head of 3B Adrian Beltre for a double.

The team cycle – in the sixth inning, Rayburn had a single followed by Cabrera’s double, Martinez had a triple before Delmon Young made his 5th home run of the postseason. It is first time in the postseason history that 4 consecutive batters hit a team cycle.

Phil Coke made his first save in the postseason. It was a rest day for the Tiger’s 8th-9th inning combo Valverde and Benoit.

MLB 2011 ALDS: Tigers, Rangers on the verge

4 10 2011
photo of Josh Hamilton playing.

Image via Wikipedia

The Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers won the Game 3 of their respective ALDS match-ups to be 1 win away from a spot in the ALCS. The Rangers won an way game in Tampa while Tigers defended Comerica Park.

With the Game 3 win against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Rangers recovered the home field advantage should there be a do or die Game 5. Tampa Bay started the scoring in the 4th, as Desmond Jennings hit homer off Colby Lewis. The Texans answered with 4 runs in the 7th inning from a 2 run home run of Mike Napoli and 2 RBIs by Josh Hamilton.  The Rays tried to rally with runs in the 7th and 8th inning but the Texas bullpen was able to preserve the win.

The Tigers won the duel of the aces as  Justin Verlander lasted 8 innings to outpitch C.C. Sabathia and the Yankees. The Yankees struck first as they scored at the top of the first as ex-Tigers CF Curtis Granderson tripled Cabrera home and later scored a run off a fielder’s choice on an Alex Rodriguez at bat.

Detroit equalized in the 3rd innind via an RBI single by Ramon Santiago then by a fielder’s choice of a ground induced double play by Miguel Cabrera. They took the lead in 5th with Santiago doubled off the wall to score Brandon Inge. They doubled the lead when Jhonny Peralta scored Santiago with a double off the wall.

In the seventh inning, the Yanks struck back as Brett Gardner doubled scoring Jorge Posada and Russell Martin with 2 outs. The game winner came at the bottom of the inning as Delmon Young hit a solo shot off reliever Rafael Soriano for the final margin, 5-4.

The big hero also was Verlander who pitched till the 8th inning and finishing with 11 K’s. He was so dominant in the middle inning that he struck out 4 Yankee batters in succession. In the 5th inning, he needed just 10 pitches to strike out all 3 batters he faced.

There were tense moments in the final inning as there were 2 runners left on base when Jose Valverde struck out Derek Jeter for the final out of the game.

The Rangers and the Tigers will try to clinch their respective division series tomorrow.

2011 MLB Playoffs: Rays grab 1-0 lead over Rangers; NY-Det Series rained out

1 10 2011

It is the start of the Major League Baseball post-season. The playoffs starts with the American League Division Series (ALDS) pitting the streaking Tampa Bay Rays and the AL West Champs Texas Rangers. The hot Rays started with rookie pitcher Matt Moore who was starting a major league game for only the second time in his career.

The rookie only allowed 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6 Rangers in 7 innings to lead the 9-0 shut out. Kelly Shoppach hit 2 homers against C.J. Wilson while Johnny Damon added another one to provide all the offense that Moore need; although, with the way the rookie was pitching, a single run would have just won the game. The Rays now hold a 1-0 advantage and practically bring the home field advantage to Florida.

The ALDS game between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees was rained out at the bottom of the 2nd inning with 1-all score. The suspension of the game wasted the starts of leading Cy YOung candidate Justin Verlander and NY ace C.C. Sabathia.

MLB 2011: Detroit Tigers is first to clinch division pennant

17 09 2011
Miguel Cabrera

Image via Wikipedia

The Detroit Tigers (88-63) is the first team in 2011 to clinch a division pennant after beating the Oakland Athletics (68-83) earlier today. Owing to a weak competition in the AL Central, the Tigers overtook the Philadelphia Phillies in bagging a division pennant although the magic number for Philadelphia to clinch is now down to 1.

The pennant is the first for the Tigers in the AL Central. They collapsed in September in 2 occasion in recent years. In 2006, they settled for a wild-card berth after losing the division to the Minnesota Twins. They managed to get to the World Series that year only to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2009, the team lost game 163 to the Twins after leading the AL Central deep into September. This year, there was no Twins to speak of as Minnesota were hobbled by injuries and fell into last place in the division.

Detroit won its last division pennant in 1987 as a member of the AL East then. The last time that Detroit won the World Series was way back in 1984 with a team bannered by the likes of Jack Morris, Willie Hernandez, Kirk Gibson, Lou Whitaker, and Allan Trammell. The 1984 and 1987 were managed by Hall of Famer George Lee “Sparky” Anderson.

This year’s Tigers won the division by getting hot in August and September. The Tigers were leading Cleveland Indians by just 1.5 games when they started a run where they won 23 of the next 28 games including sweeps against the Indians, the Chicago White Sox, and Twins. It was indeed a stunning turn around for a team that started 3-7 and were 8 games out of first place at one point in the season.

Many observers attribute the sudden emergence of the Tigers to the in-season acquisition of Doug Fister, Wilson Betemit, and Delmon Young. All 3 have contributed well after a change in scenery. Off-season signing Victor Martinez also solidified the batting order by locking up the No.5 slot behind slugger Miguel Cabrera. Closer Jose Valverde closed  44 games in 44 attempts. Ace Justin Verlander leads the MLB in wins and the pitcher has been getting MVP buzz apart from being a Cy Young favorite. In 1984, Relief Pitcher Willie Hernandez won both awards for the Tigers.

The Tigers still have 11 games left and manager Jim Leyland’s main task is to secure home field advantage and set the pitching order for October. If the season ended today, the Tigers would have home field advantage against the Boston Red Sox. There are still many races left in the 2011 season but for the Tigers it is time celebrate at least for a day.

Sizzling Hot Player of the Week: Justin Verlander

15 06 2011
Justin Verlander

Image via Wikipedia

Justin Verlander just led the Detroit Tigers to a shutout win against the Cleveland Indians.  The win made the Tigers lead the American League Central Divion for the first time this season.  For Verlander it was his 5th straight win.  He has won 7 out of 8 starts since his second career no-hitter in Toronto last May 7.  Here are some amazing stats from his starts this month:

Record: 3-0 (8-3 Overall)

Innings pitched: 27 (he now leads the AL pitchers in IP)

Runs Allowed: 3

Strikeouts: 29 (He leads the AL with 105 k’s this season)

He has been torching players with near 100 mph fastballs late in the game and combined with a curveball 20 miles slower form the same arm slot, even the best hitters have a little chance when he is on.  His control is superb and the recent games.  He has shown baseball fans and fantasy team owners that he is one true ace.

He is on way another All-Star selection and Cy Young consideration.  Hopefully the Tigers will help him in the months to come to achieve his first Cy Young award.  I am sure that he will be a major factor in Detroit’s pennant and playoff bid.  The outlook is good so far and I would be rooting to see him pitch again in October.