News and notes from around the playoffs:
- If we haven't been talking about injuries in the ALCS, we've been talking about the weather, and yesterday was no exception: a steady rain in Detroit delayed the start of Game 4 of the ALCS for over two hours, and the weather reports for today -- game time is set for 3:19 p.m. CDT -- aren't encouraging either.
- As for the action on the field: Nelson Cruz is having himself some kind of postseason, and he added to his growing legend yesterday when he crushed a three-run homer in the 11th inning to give the Rangers a comfortable four-run cushion. And, ohbytheway: Cruz also threw out Miguel Cabrera (by about 20 feet) at the plate in the eighth inning as Cabrera tried to score on a shallow fly ball to right field.
- Jose Valverde was on the mound when Cruz boomsticked his way into ALCS lore, and Valverde had to throw 22 pitches in his 1.1 inning stint. After the game, Tigers skipper Jim Leyland acknowledged that Valverde is "pitching on fumes and heart" at this point in the series.
- With their backs up against the wall, the Tigers turn to Justin Verlander in an effort to send the series back to Texas. Provided the weather cooperates, Verlander's hoping to show the form that made him a 24 game winner in the regular season but has thus far eluded him in the playoffs.
Texas took firm control of the ALCS with a 7-3, 11-inning win over Detroit at Comerica Park. The Tigers claimed an early two-run lead with a pair of first inning runs when Miggy Cabrera doubled to drive home Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn, but Texas grabbed the lead in the sixth inning on run-scoring singles from Elvis Andrus and Michael Young. Inge knotted the score at 3 with a solo homer in the seventh, and the game stayed tied until the 11th, when Mike Napoli drove home a run with a single and Nelson Cruz put the game out of reach with a three-run bomb to left field to account for the final margin.
- An epic Kotsay-ing in the first inning -- no, it wasn't a terrible nightmare; Ron Roenicke actually started a 36-year-old designated hitter in center field last night -- proved to be too much for Milwaukee to overcome, as St. Louis used four first-inning runs to claim a 4-3 victory over the Crew. Our recap is here.
- Texas 3, Detroit 1.
- St. Louis 2, Milwaukee 1.
On tap for today:
ALCS Game 5: Rangers @ Tigers: Wilson (16-7, 2.94) vs. Verlander (24-5, 2.40) at 3:19 p.m. CDT (FOX)
NLCS Game 4: Brewers @ Cardinals: Wolf (13-10, 3.69) vs. Lohse (14-8, 3.39) at 7:05 p.m. CDT (TBS)