Blog Entry

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 4:50 pm
Porcello, Harrison

By Evan Brunell

UPDATE: The start of Game 4 has been pushed back due to rain. Click here for more information.

DETROIT --  Rangers at Tigers, 4:19 p.m. ET, October 12, Comerica Park

The Tigers finally broke out at home, riding three solo home runs and (finally) an extra-base hit with runners ins coring position to victory, narrowing the ALCS series to 2-1. Given the victory, Detroit won't need to field questions on whether Justin Verlander should start in Game 4, leaving the eventual AL Cy Young Award winner to start Game 5. Texas still has the edge in the series, but suddenly this is a series worth watching.


While the Rangers obviously have the edge in the series so far, things could change on a dime Wednesday given the Tigers' success against Matt Harrison the last few years. Most notably, Ryan Raburn is an insane 8-for-12 off of Harrison with two homers. Brandon Inge, Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson also have succeeded against Harrison extensively, so if there was a game for Detroit to win, it's this one.

Texas isn't as familiar with Detroit's Rick Porcello, but Michael Young and David Murphy have all experienced success against the sinkerballer, while Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli all have just one hit against Porcello -- but all three have walked to the plate just seven times against Porcello, which isn't much to draw from as far as evaluating which players could give Porcello a hurting.

With the absence of Magglio Ordonez and possibly Delmon Young (who sat out Games 1 and 3 with injury), the Tigers' offense is pretty weak -- and don't forget about Victor Martinez coming up lame during his home run, possibly straining his oblique. Combine that with defense that is far from excellent (unlike Texas), and you have a convincing case for Texas to take a 3-1 series lead.

Rangers' Matt Harrison: It seems like such a long time ago, but Harrison is fresh off striking out nine Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS. While the amount of whiffs he sustained forced him out of the game after five innings, it was still an incredible performance for Harrison, and he'll look to send Texas to within one game of the Fall Classic in Game 4.

Harrison will be going on a full seven days' rest, which is a lot. He's thrown two side sessions and also tossed in the bullpen during Game 1 just in case he was needed thanks to the rain outs, so his arm should be fine. His performance against the Tigers might be a different story, as he gave up eight runs (one unearned) in two starts against Detroit this season, lasting just 12 innings. Add in three stints against the Tigers last season, coughing up eight runs in 10 1/3 innings, and one has to wonder just how effective the lefty can be.

"You just have to be aggressive against these guys," Harrison said, noting how Scott Feldman kept the ball down the zone and went after hitters, holding Detroit scoreless for 4 1/3 innings in relief of Derek Holland during Game 3. "Try to limit the mistakes, keep the ball in the corners."

Tigers' Rick Porcello: Leyland was adamant that Porcello would start Game 4, win or lose. Well, here we are, and Leyland's getting his wish.

Hey, Porcello has the ability to one day be fronting Detroit's rotation, but that time simply isn't now and it's hard to get optimistic about a righty who made 31 starts, tossed 181 innings and struck out 104 while walking 46. There's a reason Porcello was the No. 4 starter all season long and if Brad Penny had bothered to produce, he wouldn't even be starting in the postseason. The one benefit to Porcello is he induces grounders at a pretty good clip, but the defense has to be there behind him to make the plays. Given the Tigers' defense isn't exactly elite caliber, that doesn't work in his favor.

The 22-year-old will be making his second appearance of the ALCS after throwing 22 pitches in relief in Game 1, but he says he is fully prepared to go.

"I feel good. My arm feels fresh," Porcello said. I feel like the ball is coming out of my hand better now than it was earlier in the year. I'll be ready to go, and physically everything will be there."

Advanced pitching metrics do like Porcello, giving him a fielding-independent 4.02 ERA, so he could bust out with a start that clinches a return to Texas.


Rangers Tigers
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Ian Kinsler 2B 1 Austin Jackson CF
2 Elvis Andrus SS 2 Ryan Raburn RF
3 Josh Hamilton CF 3  Miguel Cabrera 1B
4 Michael Young 1B 4 Victor Martinez DH
5 Adrian Beltre 3B 5 Delmon Young LF
6 Mike Napoli C 6 Alex Avila C
7 Nelson Cruz RF 7 Jhonny Peralta SS
8 David Murphy LF 8 Ramon Santiago 2B
9 Yorvit Torrealba DH 9 Brandon Inge 3B

Matt Harrison LHP
Rick Porcello RHP


  • Since Comerica Park opened in 2000, Texas has the worst winning percentage at the park of any team, going just 23-35, including Tuesday's Game 2 loss. It's even worse since Washington took over as Texas' manager, as the club has combined to go 7-18.
  • Miguel Cabrera extended his ALCS hitting streak to 10, which is third-longest to start a career. The all-time record is 13 straight, set by Greg Luzinski from the 1976-1980 ALCS, playing for Philadelphia. Orlando Cabrera is the last player to collect at least one hit in 10 straight games, accomplishing the feat from 2004 with the Red Sox through 2005 with the Angels.
  • Flamethrower Joel Zumaya, the oft-injured Tigers reliever whose 2011 season ended before it began, was in town to take in the ALCS. Zumaya has been working out at Detroit's spring-training home all season and this is his first time back in Detroit since last season. He will be a free agent and hopes to stay with Detroit. "I started here and I wish I could end here," he said.

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Since: Aug 12, 2009
Posted on: October 12, 2011 5:12 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

You can move your DH to a position on the field but then you lose your DH.  The pitcher has to hit in that spot from that point on.  Of course, with the way Young is hitting, this may not be a bad thing. Smile

Pulling for the Rangers...the first two innings will tell the tale.  If Matt is dealing, the Rangers will take it.  Another poor outing by the Texas pitchers and I think the series goes 2-2.

Since: Sep 29, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 5:01 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

As for the lineup....why does Wash put the only backup catcher as the DH????? 
I was wondering that last night and I'm not a walking rule book....but couldn't Michael Young have moved to 3rd and Mike Napoli take 1st, then say maybe David Murphy bat as DH in an emergency?  Young and Napoli stay in the same hitting spot, and Murphy now bats in the DH spot...or maybe Napoli has to stay in the DH hitting spot and Murphy bats in Adrian Beltre's spot????  Anyone know the real rule???  LOL

Since: Sep 29, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 4:51 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

Maybe the rain will keep going long enough till I get off work in about an hour and a's hoping Matt Harrison has a much better game against the Tigers then he's had in the season....Go Rangers!

Since: Mar 5, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2011 4:23 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

Not yet...I live 45 mins from Detroit and it's still raining...supposed to pass soon though

Since: Jan 29, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2011 4:14 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

Anybody local know if the rain has let up?  Should be another good game, Porcello's relief appearance hopefully gave him some confidence going into this one against that deep and dangerous lineup.

Since: Feb 17, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2011 3:18 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

Be nice if Porcello could eek out a QS.  But if can go 5 and only give up 2 like Sherzer did, Tigers should muster enough offense to win.  Leyland tried to stretch Max 1 inning to many.  Benoit or Coke need to be ready to go the first sign of trouble, and I don't mean after Rick loads the bases.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 12, 2011 3:01 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

I'll take winning 7-6.
PS  Go Green, Go White

Although I would gladly take a 7-6 win,  I doubt very much we win a high scoring game against Texas today.  Even if Harrison gets in trouble for Texas, I think they have some good arms available today.  Ogando usually looks like Cy Young against the Tigers, Feldman pitched 2 days ago and made us look really bad and Feliz is damn tough when he's on.  We need a good game from Porcello today.... a REALLY GOOD game I think....  we need the bats to hit Harrison hard early and score some runs to force them to use their pen a little bit... it'll help later in the series.

Since: Jul 7, 2007
Posted on: October 12, 2011 2:48 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

Fine except Harrison's game against the Rays was game 4....there was no game 5. 

As for the lineup....why does Wash put the only backup catcher as the DH?????  If Torrealba has to be in the lineup, put him at C, Nap at 1st, and Young at DH.  I wonder if they are concerned about Beltre and that means they need Young in the field to move to 3rd if Beltre can't finish?

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:37 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

I agree with everything you said except,  PS Go Green, Go White

PS  Go Maze, Go Blue  Go Tigers!

Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:25 pm

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

Need a big outing from Porcello.  I know, that's obvious.  But I'm glad the bats woke up yesterday.  I'll take winning 7-6.
PS  Go Green, Go White

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