Blog Entry

ALCS Series Grades: Cruz, bullpen hot for Rangers

Posted on: October 16, 2011 12:09 am
Edited on: October 16, 2011 1:22 am
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By Evan Brunell


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers are headed to the World Series while the Tigers are headed back home now that the ALCS has concluded. Let's grade the series...

ANelson Cruz. A no-brainer.Cruz was a one-man wrecking machine the entire ALCS, and was voted the series MVP. Cruz became the first player in postseason history to hit two extra-inning home runs the same series. Both won games for the Rangers, with the first one making history as the only walkoff grand slam ever hit in October. His six home runs and 13 RBI both set LCS records. He already has 12 postseason home runs in his career over two seasons, which a franchise record and already in the top 15 all-time. Seriously, what more can you say about Cruz?

BThe Rangers bullpen. Seriously, how insane was the Rangers bullpen? Let's count the ways. The Rangers bullpen was responsible for all of the Rangers wins, allowing just four runs in 27 1/3 innings (1.32 ERA). The relievers -- headlined by Alexi Ogando (pictured) and Scott Feldman -- allowed just 21 baserunners while punching out 25 en route to becoming the fifth team with at least three wins in a LCS, the last being the 2003 Marlins. Only the 1997 Indians matched the Texas bullpen with four victories. And Ogando? He won his second game of the series in Game 6, the fifth reliever to win two games in an ALCS. He joins Sparky Lyle (1977), Tom Henke (1985), Gene Nelson (1988) and Francisco Rodriguez (2002).

CJustin Verlander. Look, Verlander had a regular season to remember and deserves to win the AL Cy Young, and it will probably be unanimous. But can anyone really look at Verlander's performance in the ALCS and say it was "good?" It wasn't bad, sure, but it certainly wasn't good. In Game 1, Verlander was far from top-notch before he was yanked thanks to weather problems. He lasted four innings and gave up three runs and two walks, striking out five. Then, in Game 5, Verlander tossed 133 pitches over 7 1/3 innings, giving up four runs including a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz, who would be his last hitter of the night. Verlander's pitches were still registering at 100 when he was done, true, and if he didn't come out for the eighth, he would have given up only two runs in seven innings. But that's not what happened. The fact is that he gave up four runs in 7 1/3 innings and that's not particularly great, especially given that it's often very difficult for a team to win in the postseason with their starter giving up four runs. Verlander did fine, but really no more than just fine. Hence this grade.

D
ALCS Coverage
Jim Leyland's managerial decisions. Leyland is a fantastic manager, but one has to wonder how this series would have looked if not for some curious decisions. In Game 4 alone, Leyland presided over two brutal baserunning decisions that, frankly, shouldn't have been made. In the 10th inning, Austin Jackson was on first base and chose to run on his own and was nabbed stealing. That was a colossal mistake, as it took the bat out of Miguel Cabrera's hands and took away a chance for Miggy to come through with a potential game-winning hit.

Speaking of Miggy, he was standing on third base in the 8th inning with a chance to cross the plate with the go-ahead run. But he was sent home on an outfield fly, with all the speed and agility of a freight train, and easily thrown out by Nelson Cruz. Leyland said if the throw was off-line, Cabrera still scores. Yes and no. If the throw was wildly off the mark, anyone could have scored ... but even a bounce, or a trajectory that took Napoli away from the plate still could have been good enough to nab Cabrera, who has zero speed. Yes, Cruz "sometimes" throws erratically. Yes, Alex Avila was up next. I don't care. Bad move.

Leyland also made some curious decisions with the lineup composition and didn't touch Wilson Betemit once the entire series, despite Betemit's bat being better than many who got playing time. And, frankly, he left Max Scherzer in the game far too long in Game 6. It was an elimination game. When something's not working, you move on fast.

FWeather. Rain was a constant presence during the ALCS, with two separate rain delays in Game 1 fouling up both Justin Verlander and C.J. Wilson's starts. Fortunately, however, the pitching rematch of Game 5 was able to be played without any delays. It was only the second game of the series that wasn't affected by rain, although the skies opened near the end of the game and became a deluge shortly after conclusion. Game 2 in Texas was postponed outright, while Game 4 in Detroit saw a pregame delay of just over two hours.

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Comments

Since: Aug 10, 2008
Posted on: October 16, 2011 7:58 pm
 

ALCS Series Grades: Cruz, bullpen hot for Rangers

Brunell is way off base questioning the non-use of Wilson Betemit. He did nothing but swing and miss during his ABs in the post-season (0-9, 5 strikeouts) and the players who did play 3B (Inge and Kelly) hit .318 and .300, respectfully. If this is typical of your "expertise", you should consider another job.




Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: October 16, 2011 10:32 am
 

ALCS Series Grades: Cruz, bullpen hot for Rangers

Detroit should feel proud, they beat the Yankees! That is better than any WS. Serious bragging rights to say " We beat the Yankees"  Now Cabrera can get his drink on, and Valverde can work on some new moves for next year-  Maybe DTWS?  Verlander can work on getting out of being the "Boy in the plastic Bubble" good thing Leyland saved his arm for the WS. And lets not forget the outfield, last night . I actually thought Jackson and Rayburn were going to kiss, when they missed catching the ball.  I am from NY- born and raised.  Watching the game last night, listening to those announcers go on and on about poor Alex Alvila, he is so banged up and what a difficult job he has, maybe some blame should be on the pitchers for all of the non quality pitches. Jorge Posada did it for 16 years.  Never heard poor Posada, yes he had a rough year. But will always be one of the greats at catcher. And enough about the Yankee payroll, at least we fill your stadiums!!Congrats to Texas, well done!!!


da55bums
Since: Apr 5, 2011
Posted on: October 16, 2011 2:15 am
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Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: October 16, 2011 2:14 am
 

ALCS Series Grades: Cruz, bullpen hot for Rangers

Although one can surely site the Detroit bullpen as an unmitigated disaster, Leyland's decisions in the alcs are of great concern. Indeed, he clearly cost the team game 4. As great as he has been in the past, it might be time to head to the rest home. 

Detroit's bullpen: F. The era numbers are laughable. Detroit's Outfielders D-. The outfield play was a disgraceful sideshow.  All in all, a dismal performance by Detroit in game six. I don't mind the season ending loss. I mind the unfocused, uncommitted, unprepared effort when the entire season was on the line. No warm fuzzy feeling here. Shame on you Tigers.


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: October 16, 2011 2:05 am
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brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: October 16, 2011 1:59 am
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Since: May 21, 2011
Posted on: October 16, 2011 1:32 am
 

ALCS Series Grades: Cruz, bullpen hot for Rangers

Outside of a few lucky bounces and a few questionable calls all seeming to go the Rangers way, it was a great series.  While injuries are apart of the game, the Tigers got wrecked by them and were not the same team they were the last month or two of the regular season.  Gotta give props to the Rangers, their pen was amazing and really was the main reason they were in this series to begin with.  If it is not for how great they pitched, it would have gotten real ugly real fast.  Cruz...for a guy that seems to be an all or nothing hitter that is streaky...darn guy had the hot stick these series.  Cant argue with a guy that is just seeing the ball extreamly well and driving the ball all over the place.  The Rangers were the better overall team for this series, nothing else you can say.  Sad to see the Tigers end like this and especially going cold with the bats the last three weeks.  But they will be back next year as this team is still young and they are getting a TON of money off the books with Maggs and Guillen not coming back.  Look for them to get a big arm or two and maybe someone to fill the void that is our 3rd baseman.

Sad to see Brain8ball is still trolling with no life.  you talk alot of shyte for a guy that follows both NY and Bos teams.  Seem that you are one massive bandwagon fan who loves to follow the "hot" team of the NE.  now run along, cheer for the best team in the NE and get back to trolling on Rangers/Devils/Pats/ whoever you feel is worse then "your" teams.   Go have fun yelling at message boards how Justin Verlander is STILL not an ace (shout out to Sean, Terp & Uncle Killer) 



Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: October 16, 2011 1:27 am
 

ALCS Series Grades: Cruz, bullpen hot for Rangers

Sorry to be late for the party,  I was a bit busy with MSU thumping UM (how'd that parlee work for you Bri-Bri?).  Nuts, another loser,  Then I had my son's football game to go to.  By the time I came home, it was 9-2 for Texas.  Oh well, a good, not great season ends,  Now it's on the Lions to keep winning.All in all, a pretty sweet day


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: October 16, 2011 1:14 am
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