Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 10/10/11

The Detroit Tigers have lost one game in the American League Championship Series thus far to the Texas Rangers. The weather has helped the Rangers and definitely has damaged the chances of the Tigers. This is due to the superior starters of Detroit. The greatness of Justin Verlander was neutralized in game one because he was only able to go four innings and toss eighty two pitches. This man has a chance to win the most valuable player award, but he was limited to about two thirds of his production.

It is ridiculous that Commissioner Bud Selig had the final decision on the multiple delays in game one that totaled nearly two hours. It substantially favors the Rangers because the hitters can still perform easily upon return with limited warm-up. When the pitchers come back from being cold, they use some of the arsenal meant for the game because there are only a certain amount of pitches possible for them-in game play or warming up.

Two key injuries will be an issue for Detroit. Outfielder Magglio Ordonez will be on the shelf for the remainder of the playoffs with a serious ankle injury. Home run hitting sensation Delmon Young will also be on the sidelines with an oblique strain. This is especially troubling for the team because both players are outfielders. It limits substituting options for manager Jim Leyland.

There were numerous pundits who ridiculed Leyland for not making Verlander available for the pivotal deciding game against the Yankees. It proved to be the correct decision because C.C. Sabathia came in the game for Joe Girardi and he was extremely ineffective. It’s a narrow minded maneuver to use pitchers on short rest because of the money that organizations pay their top hurlers.

Milwaukee abused Sabathia during its playoff run and then New York did the same thing. I understand that Sabathia said that he was fine to perform, but it’s up to the coaching staff to put its proverbial foot down and stop him. It’s similar to when an injured player wants to take the field, but the medical professionals forbid it. He could get hurt worse or be more ineffective than a replacement because of his limited capability.

Detroit should implement small ball throughout the series. If the games are high scoring, then Texas has the edge. If the opposite is true, then Detroit will come out on top. There are certain spots in the order where moving runners along and sacrificing outs makes sense. Miguel Cabrera is the top hitter in the league and he deserves to come to the plate frequently with runners in scoring position. It’s a coach’s job to put players in positions where they can succeed. Leyland must make this happen for Detroit to advance to the World Series.

The dream match-up for Michiganders would have been the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series. Kirk Gibson is the ultimate hometown hero, but the fans should want to see the Cardinals. They don’t have the tandem of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. The team is even scarier considering that higher offensive production will likely come because they are probably going to play their home games indoors.

 

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