As I was watching the Tigers put up some runs on CJ Wilson today, it hit me, I genuinely hate the Rangers. I hope anyone BUT them wins the World Series. I guess I had so much respect for my favorite A’s coach over the past two decades, Ron Washington, that I was blinded that they were in the same division as my favorite team and was inexplicably rooting for them to succeed. I can comfortably say the A’s are now under the Curse of the Wash, and I’m no longer rooting for the Rangers to do anything good ever again. Under Nolan Ryan, they’ve been a well run organization that makes solid decisions with trades, signings, and draft picks (sucks, sucks, and sucks). I’m guessing there’s a little jealousy mixed in there. My disdain for CJ mostly came from his comments in August about how A’s fans suck, and that was the tipping point. Since then I’ve been rooting for injuries to the guy, and I can’t say that about many. Especially since he’s one of the main guys helping keep Hamilton off the junk.
All hatred aside, I honestly don’t see the Tigers being able to win the next two in Texas to take this series. They have a ton of injuries, and even home run swings are painful at times. They seem to be hanging on by a thread every inning as the Rangers constantly have men in scoring position, but one can only hope that Texas collapses and they slowly get labeled playoff chokers. If the Tigers can get to Fister for a game 7, you never know what can happen. He shut them down the Rangers offense in game 3, but I’m not entirely sure he can duplicate that in Arlington’s launching pad of a park even though he’s a ground ball pitcher.
The bottom of the 6th was the most enjoyable inning of game 5, which started with a single by Raburn. Then Miguel Cabrera bounced one off third base which went over Beltre’s head (who used Oakland’s offer as a bargaining chip this off-season) gave me a little feeling of vindication for shunning us. V-Mart’s triple was pretty solid, but the one that really got me going was Delmon Young’s second homer of the game. Maybe it’s also a little because I said the Tigers wouldn’t be where they are without Delmon about a month ago, but watching the Rangers miserable inning made me happiest I’d been all playoffs. I wasn’t sure what my point was when I started this post, but if it gave you any reasons to root against the Rangers, I think I did my job!
Over the past couple weeks there’s been a lot of buzz on how good the Detroit Tigers are, and I agree with the sentiment that they are a very good team. Usually the conversation goes something like Verlander is amazing, Cabrera is a great hitter, and Valverde hasn’t blown a save all season, but that doesn’t explain this recent 11 win hot streak at all because those three have been on the team all year. Could you point to Doug Fister’s addition to the rotation? Probably a little, but since they were still playing just .500 ball since he was acquired to when they got the real piece that has had them on an offensive tear, I’d say no. That piece offensive piece was Delmon Young.
Delmon had a terrible year in Minnesota. I was one of those fantasy owners that held onto him way too long hoping he’d show some glimpse of what he did last year. On August 15th the best thing that could’ve happened to him did happen when he was traded to Detroit. He was instantly inserted into the 3 hole in the lineup, just in front of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. His bat has reeked of burnt wood since the move. After making that lineup adjustment, they are an impressive 22-6. While Young was playing in Minnesota he had no protection with Mauer and Morneau always being hurt and out of the lineup, now he has a ton of protection, and is not only getting good pitches to hit, but isn’t missing many of them. Since the trade on August 15th Delmon has hit .313 with 5 homers, 20 RBI’s, and 19 runs scored over 28 games. Is it a coincidence that Detroit has scored the most runs in the league since he joined their team? Not in my opinion since this offense was average at best before he arrived, and now it seems like everyone is hitting in thier lineup, even Miguel Cabrera has picked it up after his arrival as hard as that may be to believe. With Delmon on this team they’ve also increased their division lead from 2.5 games all the way up to their now 12.5 game lead in just a month of his presence. I just wanted to give Delmon some love since it seems like he got lost in the media when they talk about Detroit and the Verlander for CY and MVP…
The Tigers could be struggling at the wrong time!
Somehow the Tigers have found themselves in a tie atop the AL Central after a mild implosion coupled with a red hot Twins team. This marks the third straight year that we will have a pre-playoff playoff game. This will be the Twins second consecutive year that they are playing in a tiebreaker game as they lost last season to the White Sox. The game will be held Tuesday in the Metrodome in it’s second farewell to the regular season. As today was supposed to be the last game played there, and 51,000 showed up to show their support of a great longtime stadium. Now they have one more game with the winner advancing to the ALDS ti face the Yankees. The Twins own the regular season head to head tie breaker between the two clubs, and have the right to home field advantage. The starters for the game will be rookie Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.04) for the Tigers, and Scott Baker (15-9 4.36) will be tossing for the Twins. I think this is the first time I’ve been even mildly excited about the MLB playoffs so far, mainly because whoever comes out of this game as the winner, I’ll likely be forced into rooting for them take the AL Championship.
It’s been quite an amazing run for the Twins since former MVP, Justin Morneau, went down for the season. They’ve picked up their game and have gone 16-4 in their last twenty games to give themselves one final chance to get in.
Home hankies will be in full effect Tuesday!
They’ve been getting contributions from everyone including decent pitching (not the middle relief) but overall effective, and some very timely hitting. Delmon Young hasn’t been a stranger to receiving standing ovations at the Metrodome lately. He has been coming up with clutch RBI’s in a lot of games, which is very reminiscent of the way BJ Upton heated up for Tampa Bay in their playoff run last season. Joe Mauer has been quiet for his standards, but it’s mainly due to getting pitched around and walked more often. With this type of playoff push I hope this convinces MVP voters that Mauer is the obvious choice over Derek (I get way too much media hype) Jeter. When you look at the playoff matchups on paper, I think the Tigers would have a better chance of taking down the Yankees lineup wise, but the Twins are white label hot right now so it seems like you can never count a team on a roll out. As Billy Beane once said “It’s a crapshoot once you get in the playoffs, you just have to get there first!”
I’m predicting the Twins to win 5-4, and advance to play the Yankees.