The great thing about post season baseball is any player on the expanded roster has the chance to play the role of hero. Fans of theDetroit Tigers expect Justin Verlander to be dominant and that Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder will be the big bats that score the runs and smash the home runs. However, this post season the supporting cast has been playing the role of hero.
Enter Phil Coke and Delmon Young who are two of the bigger reasons the Tigers are enjoying a 3-0 lead over the New York Yankees in the 2012 ALCS. Not to mention youngster Drew Smyly who was used as a long reliever in Saturday’s 12 inning affair.Smyly would throw two innings of post season ball on the road in his playoff debut allowing just one hit while striking out two.
Coke has basically become the Tigers closer after the Jose Valverde disaster in Oakland and flame out last Saturday night in New York. Sunday he earned a two inning save that helped him and Anibal Sanchez shut out the Bronx Bombers. Last night he was a little shakier, allowing two runners aboard before striking out Yankee post season (and late inning) hero Raul Ibanez for the final out of game three.
Young had a pretty forgettable regular season, and was so bad in the ALDS many were questioning his daily inclusion in the lineup. So far in the ALCS he is hitting .308, with two home runs and five RBI. Since the Tigers have only managed to score 11 runs total he is responsible for nearly half the offensive output of this team.
His two home runs in the 2012 ALCS give him seven total home runs in the post season (four total series) for the Tigers and that is a franchise record. More importantly, for a guy with a large 2012 salary who is not yet signed for 2013 yet doing well on the national stage insures his next payday.
While Verlander has certainly done his part, we can argue that Cabrera and Fielder have not. They are a combined 6-23 in the ALCS and have combined for just one home run and have just three RBI between them. Unlikely heroes on top of dominating starting pitching have been the keys to success so far this post season.
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