For reasons I can’t explain, I’ve been listening to baseball talk on SiriusXM for most of the day. The prevailing wisdom is that the Tigers will win tonight, with the experts saying that the pressure facing CC Sabathia is more fierce than what Justin Verlander has to deal with. It has little to do with Sabathia and significantly more to do with the Yankees’ Game 4 starter, A.J. Burnett.
I think the pressure is equal for both pitchers and both teams. After all, it’s game 3.
[callout title=The ALDS Game 3 Rundown]
The Tigers and Yankees are tied one game apiece in the American League Division Series.
This is Verlander’s sixth postseason start (including his abbreviated start in Game 1). Verlander has started 98 games at Comerica Park during his career. He is 57-23 with a 3.24 ERA in his previous 98 starts. His last shutout was June 19, 2011 at Colorado
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Curtis Granderson, CF
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Jorge Posada, DH
8. Russell Martin, C
9. Brett Gardner, LF
Of course, no one could resist talking about Jose Valverde’s tongue-in-cheek/foot-in-mouth “it’s over” declaration after Game 2. It seems, though, that none of the shows’ hosts or callers bothered to read below the headline. You know, the part where Valverde shouted: “I’m joking, guys.”
I know these shows have to talk about something and running with the juicier (though incomplete) story certainly helps them fill airtimem, it doesn’t make the hosts look very sharp.
As Jim Leyland said this afternoon: “It was in jest, but the Yankees don’t need anythinig to fire them up. This isn’t a high school rivalry.”
- Did you know the Yankees are facing a Central Division opponent in the ALDS for the fifth straight year? They went 22-14 (.611) against the AL Central this season.
- According to the Free Press, Comerica Park is only one of two AL stadiums in which the Yankees have a losing record.
- Elias Sports Bureau reports that tonigh’ts gamemarks the first time a pitcher will start both Game 1 and Game 3 during a post-season series since San Diego’s Kevin Brown did so on Sept. 29 and Oct. 3, 1998 versus Houston. The last American League pitcher to do so was Oakland’s Dave Stewart during the World Series versus San Francisco in 1989.
- ESPN’s Jim Bowden posted his keys to the game for each series. Here’s his advice for Cabrera:
For as well as Cabrera is swinging the bat, he continues to play too far off first base. What ends up happening is that he goes for balls that are routine for the second baseman, and the pitcher is forced to cover first on what should be a routine 4-3 play. Cabrera must start playing closer to the first base bag and let his second baseman, whether it’s Ryan Raburn or Ramon Santiago, make the play.
- Speaking of Miguel Cabrera, Jerry Crasnick wrote a nice profile of the Tigers first baseman:
“Not to take anything away from guys in the past for the Tigers, because I have more respect for them than anyone,” Inge said. “But you can make a case, if he finishes out his contract and keeps hitting like this, that he’s the best Tiger ever. Heck, he might be now.”
That seems like hyperbole, when you consider that the Tigers’ illustrious history includes such icons as Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Greenberg and Gehringer. Then you watch Miguel Cabrera hit, and consider that he’s only 28 years old. And suddenly the notion doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.
- Happy Birthday to Eric Munson (34), Junior Felix (44), Steve Foucault (62) and Chuck Scrivener (64).
- On this date in 1968, in Game Two of the World Series, Mickey Lolich ties the Series at one game apiece. He pitches a six-hitter and hits his first career home run to defeat the Cardinals, 8-1.
Finally, Happy 62 Birthday to Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac.