Here are some random bits for your pre-game enjoyment and consideration:
- Ken Rosenthal likes the Tigers’ chances against the Yankees. Watch his video series preview.
- In case you missed it yesterday, Christina Kahrl put together a solid article featuring American League playoff managers. Here’s a Jim Leyland-related nugget:
Leyland makes his impact through who plays, and when. He’s built productive platoons in the past, and his third-base combo of Wilson Betemit and Brandon Inge or his mixing and matching in right field are just the latest examples. Leyland has long been an active practitioner when it comes to employing defensive replacements, particularly in the outfield corners and at second base, usually as a matter of getting Magglio Ordonez’s glove off the field late in-game, and bringing in Santiago’s leather at the keystone, with superutility players Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly moving around as needed. Multi-positional bit parts like this are another Leyland staple — remember John Wehner? — long before seven-man bullpens made them appear necessary for everyone’s roster. It’s the sort of space-saving that affords carrying third catcher Omir Santos.
- The Tigers face Ivan Nova tonight and Jim Leyland says he wishes his club had faced the rookie righthander before the ALDS:
Nova is … a complete unknown to the Tigers, who have never faced the righty before.
“We’re a little concerned about that,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of not having faced Nova before.
“We don’t know a whole lot, other than what we see on tape, what the scouts say… But really the hitters will have to get a little better feel for that when they get in the box. You can give guys reports. You never know how it’s going to play out.”
After starting the season 4-4, Nova has reeled off 12 straight wins and has not lost since June 3.
“We know he’s very good,” Leyland said. “I think he won 16 games, very impressive… I wish we were a little more familiar with him, but we’re not. That’s all part of it. We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get there.”
- Here’s one take we can’t argue with:
Like no other sport, baseball demands that we wait to see what happens: through excessive stall tactics by pitchers and hitters, games that drag from the postdinner hour into the wee hours, interminable rain delays, seasons that equal the life span of leaves, pennant races that make false prophets of us all and playoff series that turn the smart data in the briefcases of the new-age managers and coaches into dust.