The Narrative: After the first two games of the ALCS, it was all over for the Detroit Tigers. The vastly superior and brilliantly put together Texas Rangers had only to show up for two more games to collect their tickets to the World Series. The team’s foolish old manager was even refusing to ensure that his ace pitcher appeared in as many games as he could in the series. What a joke of an organization.
One excellent start from trade deadline acquisition Doug Fister later, and hope springs eternal again in Detroit. Fister threw seven and a third innings, constantly pounding the inside of the zone on the Rangers right handed hitters, striking out only three and giving up seven hits, but walking no batters and most importantly, only allowing two runs.
Detroit relied on the parts of their lineup that they’re supposed to rely on, as leadoff hitter Austin Jackson got on base three times, Jhonny Peralta had two hits including a solo home run, Victor Martinez hit a home run too and Miguel Cabrera, the mightiest Tiger of all (Purrlo!), had a two run double and a solo home run to lead the AL Central Division winners to a 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers, who still lead the overall series 2-1.
Anatomy Of A Good Fistering
Before tonight’s game, we all knew that Detroit starter Doug Fister liked to throw strikes and that in order to find success against the Rangers lineup, he’d have to rely on great location with those strikes, likely pounding the bottom part or inside of the strike zone.
What no one expected was how effective his consistent approach would be against a righty heavy batting order.
Fister consistently pounded the inside of the zone with 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs, making it exceedingly difficult for Texas hitters to make solid contact, and in the case of Adrian Beltre, causing him to constantly foul balls into himself.
Not even some bad BABIP luck (seven hits) could derail Fister’s approach, as he threw more than 80% of his 2-seam fastballs for strikes.
The Most Important Play Of The Game
With the score tied and two out in the fifth inning and runners on second and third base, Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate to face Colby Lewis. The Rangers starter got ahead in the count 0-2, with back to back 4-seam fastballs in the strike zone. His third pitch was belt high to Cabrera, but about six inches outside the zone. Nonetheless, Big Mig smacked the pitch down the right field line, scoring Austin Jackson to give the Tigers the lead and increase Detroit’s probability of winning by 14.4%.
The Biggest Disappointment Of The Game
The Rangers hit three straight singles to start the game tonight, but after scoring only a single run on what were mainly softly hit bloops, Michael Young hit into a double play to decrease the Rangers win probability added by 9.1%. Over the course of the game, Young cost his team 16.8% in WPA.
The Shamsky Award
Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.
Ian Kinsler went two for four in a losing effort, driving in a run and scoring one as well. He increased the probability of the Rangers winning by 11.5%
The Aggravating Thing That The Managers Did
Jim Leyland put five right handed batters in his lineup tonight, including the leadoff spot, the three hole and clean up. Against Colby Lewis, right handed hitters had a slash line of .204/.237/.378 this year. That’s why it wasn’t such a bad call to pitch to Miguel Cabrera in the fifth inning.
The Statistics You Won’t Believe
Lucky Doug Fister had a .272 BABIP during the regular season, but Colby Lewis’ .265 BABIP was the ninth lowest in the American League.
Lewis is just the second Rangers starter to record an out in the sixth inning this postseason. The first? Colby Lewis against Tampa Bay.
From tonight’s Rangers lineup, only Yorvit Torrealba and Elvis Andrus had worse isolated power numbers than clean up hitter Michael Young.
The Best New Nickname To Come Out Of The Game
I like Drew Fairservice’s Miguel “Up With Two Down” Cabrera. I just wish it had been more apt tonight.
Carefully Selected Quote Cliche Of The Game
From Baseball Prospectus, today, we’ll go with Michael Young, who went zero for four tonight with a strikeout:
When it comes to my at-bats, I should have done a better job. He kept us off balance. You’ve just got to tip your cap.
Stray Observations Of The Game
Within minutes of tonight’s broadcast starting I already missed Terry Francona. At one point, Tim McCarver informed the viewers of his surprise over Ian Kinsler being on his way to becoming a budding star. A budding star. Ian Kinsler, who was the Rangers best player this season.
Things didn’t get much better for the FOX broadcast as McCarver and Joe Buck talked about Rick Porcello’s start tomorrow while David Pauley was onscreen.
Remember when Austin Jackson actually got on base (twice) (three times)?
Watching Adrian Beltre run is almost as painful for the viewer as it is for Beltre.
What a goddamn showboat that Victor Martinez is. Take your time rounding the bases on that home run, why don’t you?
I completely understand why Colby Lewis would pitch to Miguel Cabrera in the fifth inning. Right handed batters hit .208 against him this season, striking out in almost a quarter of their at bats.
When Adrian Beltre ended the fifth with an eventual force out at third, I knew I’d seen it before.
I really wish Koji Uehara was pitching better for the Rangers than he has. I liked it much better when he was underrated and not just a middling reliever having difficulty keeping the ball in the park.
Something I never really appreciated before: the movement on Joaquin Benoit’s changeup. It spins and spins and spins itself to the plate.
Benoit is a better pitcher than Jose Valverde, right?