Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Big League Stew

10 numbers for the ALCS: Tigers vs. Rangers

Alex Remington
Big League Stew

View photo

.

tigersrangers107

As the postseason continues, Big League Stew's Alex Remington will take a look at the statistics that might make a difference in each series.

8.25 The Detroit Tigers' bullpen ERA during their 3-2 series victory over the Yankees in the ALDS. Jose Valverde (aka Papa Grande) converted both of his save chances and improved his year-long save total to 51 in 51 opportunities — but he still had a 6.00 ERA because he came in to close out Game 2, with a four-run lead and thus no save situation, and gave up two runs. Setup man Joaquin Benoit has been reliable for them all season, and allowed just one earned run in 3 2/3 innings during the series, a 2.45 ERA. But the rest of their colleagues —Daniel Schlereth, Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque — did not have the type of series the Tigers wanted.

* * *

4.15 The Rangers' bullpen ERA. The Rangers committed to a serious midseason bullpen makeover, acquiring prime setup men Koji Uehara and Mike Adams from the Orioles and Padres, and paying a pretty penny in prospects. Adams and Uehara were actually pretty bad in the ALDS, allowing four runs in four appearances over 2-plus innings between them. (That's an ERA of 18.00.) But Mike Gonzalez, Darren Oliver, Scott Feldman, Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz combined for a 1.64 ERA, with Ogando, Gonzalez and Feldman working a collective 6 1/3 scoreless innings in four games.
{YSP:MORE}

* * *

1.170 Delmon Young's ALDS OPS, highest on the Tigers and just nine points behind Adrian Beltre's OPS against the Rays. I think it's safe to say no one saw this coming. Young has been a big-league disappointment, a 26-year-old former top prospect who's now on his third team, traded the first time for Matt Garza and the second time for a fringe prospect and a player to be named later. He had a .695 OPS this year and nearly four times as many strikeouts as walks. So, naturally, he was the best Tiger hitter in the Yankees series, homering in Games 1, 3 and 5. With Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila hitting a collective 4 for 31, the Tigers needed every ounce of juice in Young's bat. In order to outhit the potent Ranger offense, they will need him to stay hot — and stay healthy.

* * *

.867 Beltre's team-high slugging percentage in the Tampa Bay series. You could almost say that Beltre won the series singlehandedly: His three solo shots in the Rangers' decisive 4-3 Game 4 victory are what sent the Rangers to the next round, after all. He was just 1 for 11 during the other three games, but that didn't really matter; the Rays outslugged and outpitched the Rangers, and still lost in four games. It was a series that matched perhaps the two best third basemen in baseball, and while Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria hit just .188, the Rangers got three homers from Beltre. That wound up being the difference.

* * *

2.31 Justin Verlander's career ERA against the Rangers, his lowest against any AL opponent. This year, he's pitched one game against the Rangers, a complete game in which he allowed just two runs — and still lost, because Alexi Ogando and the Ranger pen held the Tigers scoreless. (Ironically, Ogando is now back in the Texas bullpen.) Current Rangers are batting just .205/.277/.292 against Verlander, who is surely one of the best pitchers ever to lack a nickname. The matchup between Verlander and C.J. Wilson is likely to be low-scoring, but after a remarkably light workload in the ALDS, pitching just nine innings in two games against the Yankees, Verlander will probably be eager to go further into the game against one of his favorite punching bags.

* * *

5.56 C.J. Wilson's career ERA against the Tigers, his highest against any AL opponent. The straight-edge racer has emerged as an unlikely and colorful ace over the last two years, but the Tigers are one team he has had trouble taming. He's been particularly hapless in Comerica Park, where he's posted a 6.75 ERA in 9 1/3 career innings. (That's still better than the 10.80 ERA he posted in the ALDS, after giving up six earned in five innings of Game 1.) In fairness, current Tigers are batting just .203/.282/.338 against him. More to the point, and perhaps fortunately for the Racer and his Rangers, ALCS Game 1 will be in Arlington.

* * *

1.6 The number of miles per hour that Doug Fister's fastball gained this year. Last year, it averaged a measly 88.4 miles per hour; this year it's a far stiffer 90.0. That's not all that Chip Caray's favorite pitcher has done: After a surprisingly successful season last year, he cut his walks and boosted his strikeout rate from awful to below-average. Then he was involved in a trade for Charlie Furbush that doubled as probably the baseball name double entendre ever. In Game 1, the Yankees pounded him — sorry — for six runs, but he had the last laugh, coming away with the decisive victory in Game 5. His ALDS ERA was an unsightly 6.52, but he proved himself, and he'll likely pitch in either Game 3 or 4. And that's awesome for all of us who just love saying Fister.

* * *

.067 Nelson Cruz's average during the ALDS. Cruz didn't look right all series; he really hasn't looked right ever since he returned from a DL stint for a hamstring injury on Sept. 14. Counting his 8-for-42 September, he's batting .158 over his last 3 1/2 weeks. Unable to go to a minor-league rehab because the minor-league season had ended, Cruz tried to play his way back into shape, but he admits that his timing isn't all the way back. The Rangers would like his potent bat back to full strength. But if they can't have that, they'd probably rather replace him with someone who isn't hitting like a pitcher. This will be a tough decision for Ron Washington.

* * *

79.13 The difference between Al Alburquerque's 81.00 ERA in the ALDS, which he acquired after giving up Robinson Cano's grand slam and then getting a groundout in Game 1, and his 1.87 ERA in the regular season. Al was one of the best rookie Tigers this season, after being a fairly unheralded prospect: As John Sickels writes, "He could be a closer at some point if the command is there. He owns an impressive 95 MPH fastball/hard slider combination." But his command occasionally takes the wrong turn at Albuquerque. He walked six men per nine innings during the regular season, and the Tigers didn't give him a chance to redeem himself after his disastrous Game 1 stint. Manager Jim Leyland blames the results on a lack of innings in the final month. At this point, though, it's not clear what the Tigers will get: unhittable, or unwatchable.

* * *

5 The number of homers that Mike Napoli has hit in his last six games, including two each in the last two games of the regular season and one to give the Rays the lead in Game 3. I'm actually thinking of calling him Mike "Snap"oli, because it's clear that his bat is made from the best stuff on earth. The Rangers will continue to carry Yorvit Torrealba to caddy for him, but when he's been in the lineup, Napoli has been the Rangers' best hitter all year, and after tying for the team lead with four RBIs in the series — including go-ahead RBIs in Games 2 and 3  he's arguably been their most reliable hitter in the playoffs, too. So here's a Snapoli Real Fact: Don't throw this guy a pitch to hit.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (0)