News and notes from the playoffs:
- Jorge Posada struggled through a tough season in New York, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi says the team plans to use Posada as the designated hitter in all five games of the ALDS. But hitting probably won't be the story in game one of the series: there's a pitching matchup for the ages in the opener, as Detroit is starting 24-game winner Justin Verlander and the Yanks are throwing CC Sabathia.
- Tampa Bay wasn't in a position to line up its starting rotation, given the sprint to the finish in the AL Wild Card race, so the Rays will hand the ball to 22-year-old uber-prospect Matt Moore in game one of the ALDS. Moore only started one game this year, but Joe Maddon has no concerns about throwing the kid into the fire.
- The Rangers, meanwhile, come into the ALDS riding high, having won six in a row to end the year and having had plenty of time to set up their roster and pitching staff. Texas has decided to carry three catchers in the ALDS and will go with a seven-man bullpen against the Rays.
- Speaking of teams that have their rotations set in stone: the Phillies have long known that Roy Halladay would get the start in game one of the NLDS, and on Saturday the Philadelphia ace gets a chance to duplicate his remarkable success in last year's NLDS. The Cardinals didn't have any time to set their rotation, of course, so St. Louis has tabbed Kyle Lohse to pitch in game one, leaving Edwin Jackson as the probable starter in game two.
- Arizona right-hander Ian Kennedy, who's going to start game one in Milwaukee on Saturday, says that he got a taste of a post-season atmosphere when the D-backs played the Giants in a battle for first place in September.
In case you didn't notice what the AL standings looked like at the end, here you go:
|Rays (Wild Card)||91
ALDS: Yankees vs. Tigers; Rangers vs. Rays
And, in case you didn't seem 'em yesterday, the final standings in the NL:
|(3) D-backs (West)
NLDS: Phillies vs. Cardinals; Brewers vs. Diamondbacks
On tap for today:
- Rays at Rangers, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, 4:07 p.m. CDT (televised on TBS): Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89) vs. C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94)
- Tigers at Yankees, Yankee Stadium, 7:37 p.m. CDT (televised on TBS): Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40) vs. CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00)