Blog Entry

ALCS Game 6: Can Holland bounce back to win ALCS?

Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:32 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 4:05 pm
Scherzer, Holland

By Evan Brunell

Tigers at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET, October 15, Rangers Ballpark. Rangers lead series 3-2.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Well, maybe this series isn't over just yet.

Staring at elimination, Detroit bounced back with nothing short of a huge game on Thursday, taking the final game in Detroit by a score of 7-5.

Detroit rode a four-run sixth inning to victory behind the phenomenal arm of Justin Verlander and two home runs by Delmon Young, who has gotten press all ALCS for his injuries and nothing he's done on the field. Well, he's done plenty now, and with pitching matchups appearing to favor the Tigers in the final two games, this is anyone's series.


Unfortunately for Texas, their best pitcher is done for the series (although C.J. Wilson didn't exactly perform up to snuff in Game 5.)

Offensively, the Rangers still clearly hold the edge, but Detroit showed they don't have an offense as bad as the Mariners in Game 5, and Ryan Raburn has been rather impressive filling in for both Young and Magglio Ordonez when they were affected with injuries. Defensively and on the basepaths, the Rangers have the obvious edge. But what it really comes down to is pitching and at this point, no one can deny Detroit has the edge here.

Tigers' Max Scherzer: Scherzer has had an impressive postseason thus far, giving up just five runs in 13 1/2 innings across two starts and one relief appearance. Scherzer's only ALCS outing to this date came in Game 2, the game where Nelson Cruz made history with a walkoff grand slam.

In that outing, Scherzer was chugging along until the seventh after an inconsistent start to the game, an inning he probably shouldn't have come out for. He gave up a Cruz homer to lead off the inning and then was immediately yanked. With Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde both receiving two full days off, Leyland shouldn't have to ride Scherzer hard.

"Scherzer, what an arm," Rangers manager Ron Washington raved prior to the righty's first start. "It's unorthodox, doesn't throw anything straight, and for some reason when he faces us, he finds the strike zone with more consistency with all his pitches."

Scherzer has been particularly hot since the All-Star break and at this point should be considered a No. 2 starter. He made three starts against the Rangers in 2011, posting a 4.76 ERA in 17 innings, striking out 12 and walking four, with the team winning two games. Cruz has two homers off Scherzer in his career and is hitting .333 while Michael Young has three extra-base hits against Scherzer, but only four hits in 21 plate appearances. Aside from Cruz, no one has really keyed into Scherzer yet.

Rangers' Derek Holland: Holland, like Scherzer, enjoyed a nice run in the latter half of the 2011 regular season, but inconsistency still plagues him significantly as his Game 2 start opposite Scherzer showed. Holland actually had a shaky start to the postseason in Game 2 of the ALDS but recovered to win the game. He also impressed in relief in Game 4, but the wheels completely fell off against Detroit in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Holland gave up four hits and three runs in just 2 2/3 innings, with Scott Feldman manning up and blanking the Tigers for 4 1/3 innings, setting up the stage for Cruz's heroics. You can bet that Feldman will be ready to go at a moment's notice should Holland fail. In addition, you can also bet that Washington won't mess around and leave Holland in the game and try to extend his outing if it's clearly not working. At this point, in a Game 6, you don't take chances.

Holland's start in the ALCS against Texas is the only time he's faced the club in 2011. That's obviously in Detroit's favor but add in Delmon Young being in the lineup, and one has to seriously consider the fact the Tigers might not just be "slightly" favored in this game... but heavily favored. Reading too much into small sample sizes is not recommended, but Young has six hits in 12 at-bats against Holland over his career, so he obviously has something working against the lefty.


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

Max Scherzer RHP
Derek Holland LHP


  • Weather complicated each game in Texas earlier this series. Game 1 had two rain delays, while Game 2 was postponed a day due to inclement weather. Well, good news. We're back to a normal Texas drought for Game 6, with 80-degree weather during the day and nighttime climbing into the 70s with no precipitation expected.
  • Miguel Cabrera extended his LCS hitting streak to 12 games to start his career, one shy of Greg Luzinski for the record.
  • Nelson Cruz's five home runs so far in the LCS is tied for the LCS record, while his 11 RBI is tied with David Ortiz and B.J. Upton for the top spot. He already has 11 postseason home runs in his career over two seasons. I mean... come on.
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Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: October 15, 2011 5:03 pm

ALCS Game 6: Can Holland bounce back to win ALCS?

Just like with each game in this series -- It is anyone's ballgame tonight.  Talk about an unbelievable series.  1 run games, extra inning games, etc.

Detroit has to hope and pray the two starters they have left pitch lights out.  Leyland already announced Verlander will not be pitching again in the ALCS, so it is all on the shoulders of those two.  If Detroit can get quality starts from Scherzer and Fister -- they can win this series.  As I have said on these boards -- Scherzer scares me, as he gets the ball up in the zone when his mechanics are off and against the great lineup Texas has, that can be disaster.

Key to tonight's game -- Detroit needs to score a run or two early to give Scherzer a cushion.  We also need Scherzer to get thru the 1st two innings unscatched.  The first two innings seem to be trouble for a few of Detroit's starters.

The day off yesterday was huge for Detroit -- with all the injuries they are dealing with, it was nice to give them a day off to rehab a bit and rest.  I wish Detroit would have been able to field a full team in this series, as they could have really used the bats they are missing.

My last wish -- IF detroit wins, Texas keeps Colby Lewis on the mound.  I REALLY don't want to face Ogando, keep that dude in the bullpen. 

Since: Jun 8, 2009
Posted on: October 15, 2011 1:33 pm

ALCS Game 6: Can Holland bounce back to win ALCS?

As a Tiger fan, I'd like to think Brunell is right here, and we have an edge. Unfortunately for us, the postseason does NOT always come down to pitching matchups. Little things make a big difference, and the Rangers are better at baserunning, defense, on base percentage, and have a better bullpen. Those things add up. If Mad Max can negotiate the treacherous heart of the Rangers order, more power to him. But I'm not holding my breath on this one... gotta hand it to the Rangers, these guys can play.

Since: Sep 4, 2009
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:38 am

ALCS Game 6: Can Holland bounce back to win ALCS?

"your team might be facing a 3-3 tie going home"...what?...

Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:16 am

ALCS Game 6: Can Holland bounce back to win ALCS?

You may be right but Wash has already shown he makes some bone-headed pitching moves (read twice how your lefty Gonzalez has been brought in to fail. And by the way- Ogando is not infallible either.) Frankly, Washington yanked Holland way early in game two. Talk about showing little faith in his starter early in the series!
If not for Feldman, your team might be facing a 3-3 tie going home. As they say, talk is cheap. This is like war: way too early to make predictions; despite how good your bullpen is...Strap em on, sit down, and enjoy the show. This is one of the best post-season playoffs in a looong time. Last year you thought the poor hitting Giants would be a push-over! It ain't over til the fat lady sings!

Since: Oct 13, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 6:58 am

ALCS Game 6: Can Holland bounce back to win ALCS?

like to see detroit fight thru their injuries and pull this out. for a banged up team they sure fight, pitching matchup leans their way a little, and a couple timely hits may get them home.

Since: Apr 5, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:23 am
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