October 13th, 2012

ALCS Game 1: Tigers at Yankees

Same lineup as the two games against left-handed starters in the AL Division Series. The Yankees, meanwhile, return Alex Rodriguez to the starting lineup. That might be good news for the Tigers, who saw the best hitting of Eric Chavez for four games in Detroit in August.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Omar Infante, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (4-for-20, 2 HRs, 5 K’s off Pettitte)
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, DH (13-for-24 off Pettitte)
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS (7-for-18, 3 HRs off Pettitte)
  7. Andy Dirks, LF
  8. Avisail Garcia, RF
  9. Gerald Laird, C

P: Doug Fister

YANKEES

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B (5-for-14, 3 2B, HR off Fister including postseason)
  4. Mark Teixeira, 1B (5-for-16, HR off Fister including postseason)
  5. Raul Ibanez, DH
  6. Alex Rodriguez, 3B (1-for-9, 3 strikeouts off Fister)
  7. Nick Swisher, RF
  8. Curtis Granderson, CF
  9. Russell Martin, C

P: Andy Pettitte

Tigers roster stays the same for ALCS

Just got word the Tigers will keep their same roster for the ALCS as they had for the Division Series. They’ll stick with their seven-man bullpen and five-man bench.

For those who lost track, the roster is this:

Here’s the roster:

Rotation: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer

Bullpen: Jose Valverde, Al Alburquerque, Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel, Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly

Catchers: Alex Avila, Gerald Laird

Infielders: Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Omar Infante, Jhonny Peralta, Ramon Santiago, Danny Worth

Outfielders: Quintin Berry, Andy Dirks, Avisail Garcia, Austin Jackson, Don Kelly

DH: Delmon Young

The bullpen stays the same, but with the extra left-handed hitters the Yankees have available on their bench, one can expect Drew Smyly to get into this series at some point. Expect, too, a heavy workload for Al Alburquerque, whose slider/fastball mix allows him to be effective against left- and right-handed hitters.

Will Tigers tweak their roster for ALCS?

One misnomer about the baseball postseason is that there is no set roster for the entire postseason. There are rules to be eligible for the roster in the postseason, such as needing to be called up by Sept. 1 unless there’s an injury involved, but the postseason roster changes series by series.

With that in mind, the Tigers will turn in their roster for the ALCS Saturday morning. And one has to believe that with a matchup against the Yankees, rather than the A’s, they have some potential changes if they want.

Is this matchup, with as many as four games in front of the short right-field fence of Yankee Stadium, the one that brings Brennan Boesch back from roster purgatory and into a potential late-inning pinch-hit role?

On the flip side, is the formidable presence of Raul Ibanez, whose two home runs in a game he entered as a pinch-hitter, a strong enough reason for the Tigers to add Darin Downs or Brayan Villarreal to their bullpen?

Yes, Villarreal is right-handed. However, he held left-handed hitters to 12-for-63 (.190) with 18 strikeouts on the season. His toughest opponent against lefties was himself, with 19 walks. He’s the kind of power pitcher who could also help continue Alex Rodriguez’s struggles.

Of course, he’s also the pitcher who was notably wild in a tie game at Yankee Stadium at the end of April.

Then there’s Downs, who held lefties to 6-for-35 with 10 strikeouts but who pitched in just four games after Sept. 1. He’s a lefty, but so is Drew Smyly, and he didn’t pitch at all against Oakland.

The Tigers carried just six relievers for the Division Series, allowing them to carry five position players on their bench. If they add an extra reliever, it would probably change that balance rather than erase another reliever from the roster.

Of course, the Tigers could find a spot for an extra position player if they wanted to carry Boesch. He’s 11-for-30 lifetime at Yankee Stadium, but just one of those are home runs. He also has 11 strikeouts there, five of them over 13 plate appearances in the Bronx at the end of April.

If Jim Leyland wanted a power lefty bat on his bench as an option, or even as a decoy, Boesch would be the guy. But it’s far from a given, and the impact is up for debate.

 

Update on ALCS tickets

Now that the Tigers-Yankees matchup is set, the ticket situation is clear. The Tigers are scheduled to host Games 3-5, next Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:07pm ET, then Thursday at 4:07.

Justin Verlander will pitch Game 3 Tuesday night. The Yankees haven’t announced their rotation yet, but CC Sabathia would seemingly be on track to oppose Max Scherzer in Game 4 Wednesday night. Andy Pettitte would fall in line to pitch Game 5 for the Yankees opposite Fister.

Ticket information is available online at tigers.com/postseason. Tickets can also be purchased by phone at 866-66-TIGER, and in person at the Comerica Park box office.

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