Random Thoughts Before Game 5

In no particular order:

  • From the what-if file: Imagine the added dimension a healthy and capable Daniel Schlereth would add to the Tigers bullpen.
  • Kevin Kennedy was asked what he’d do if the Tigers have a four-run lead going into the ninth and Justin Verlander at a 120 pitches. His answer? “I know what Jim will do … ” Kennedy said Leyland will likely go to his bullpen; it’s what he’s done all year. And that’s what makes us all so queasy.

The Tigers and Athletics will battle in the fifth and deciding game of the American League Division Series this evening at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. It marks the eighth time in the club’s post-season history the Tigers have had a series go to the maximum number of games. Detroit has compiled a 3-4 record in the previous seven series. The Tigers won Game Seven of both the 1945 and 1968 World Series and Game Five of the 2011 American League Division Series, while the team suffered the loss in Game Seven of the 1909, 1934 and 1940 World Series and Game Five of the 1972 American League Championship Series. 

  • Everyone I talk to today tells me that I should feel great about Game 5 with Verlander on the mound. But why don’t I? It’s because my gut tells me he gets too amped up for these big starts and gets dinged for early runs – like Coco Crisp‘s leadoff homer in Game 1. So, here’s what the Game Notes say:

Verlander is making the 10th start of his post-season career this evening. In his previous nine starts, he is 4-3 with a 4.96 ERA (49.0IP/27ER) and 59 strikeouts. Verlander is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA (12.1IP/5ER) and 17 strikeouts in two starts against the Athletics during his post-season career. 

Yeah, but … looking at his career numbers he’s given up 48 hits in those 49 innings. Plus 30 runs and 24 walks. And, before his Game 1 start last Saturday, his career ALDS ERA was over five. I’m not trying to be negative, only trying to express why I’m hesitant to crown him a true big-game pitcher yet. We’ll know better after tonight.

Finally, Happy Birthday, Dmitri YoungJeff Larish and Gregg Olson. Enjoy the game tonight, folks.

Dmitri Young in the Hall of Fame Classic. Come again … ?

This morning I received my Baseball Hall of Fame newsletter, Inside Pitch, and the lead story recapped yesterday’s Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown.

Before the game they held a parade that featured Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Ozzie Smith, Goose Gossage, Phil Niekro, Andre Dawson and Dick Williams.

Scanning through the article I could’ve sworn I saw Dmitri Young‘s name.

Dmitri Young? At the Hall of Fame Classic?

Lo and behold …

Soon enough the crowds headed to historic Doubleday Field for the day’s main event, which began with a Legends Hitting Contest won by two-time All-Star Dmitri Young in a finals showdown with Reggie Sanders.

“It felt great,” Young said minutes later. “It took a couple of swings but once you get in the swing of things and the mentality comes back with all the baseball players. I just started feeling comfortable up there.

“I was here in for the Hall of Fame Game in 2005 and came in second against Big Papi (David Ortiz). But now I’m the champ and have a watch to prove it.”

At this point I had to find out which players were a part of this game. The answer included several obscure former Tigers players including pitchers John Doherty, Jon Warden and Jack Lazorko, and infielder Frank Catalanotto.

You can see the box score here (be warned it’s not a web page — it fires up an Excel document) and you’ll see several well-known names — from Bill Lee to Dale Murphy to Dave Henderson.

And with names like that you can understand my curiosity about DY.

Classic, I suppose, but not in traditionally classic fashion.