Friday, October 07, 2011
The Division Series, last night and tonightPosted by Shlomo Sprung
Many Detroit players were key contributors in the team's ALDS upset of the Yankees, but two players acquired during the season by GM Dave Dombrowski, Doug Fister and Delmon Young, played key roles throughout the series, especially in the decisive game five.
Delmon Young PA Slash Line HR RBI R XBH With Twins 325 .266/.305/.357 4 32 26 20 With Tigers 178 .274/.298/.458 8 32 28 14 Tigers LDS 21 .316/.381/.789 3 3 4 3
Young's power numbers increased dramatically with Detroit, and his three solo homers against New York all came at crucial times. His home run in the first inning Thursday night gave the Tigers an early lead and set the tone for the rest of the contest for manager Jim Leyland.
On the other side of the ledger, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi surprisingly used the same lineup in all five games. Young top prospect Jesus Montero and veteran outfielder Andruw Jones were left on the bench. While right fielder Nick Swisher struggled, going 4-for-19 in the series, Jones notched an RBI in his lone plate appearance. Swisher surely had a solid regular season, but he has historically performed poorly in his career against Detroit. Jones has fared better.
Career PA Slash Line HR RBI R XBH Jones vs DET 75 .258/.387/.468 3 4 10 7 Swisher vs DET 236 .223/.369/.399 8 27 33 17
Granted, Swisher had a .273 average and a .414 OBP against the Tigers this year, but Girardi probably should have realized that Swisher was struggling in the series. While the Yankees manager was very quick to pull pitchers, he seemed strangely reluctant to change up his offense, which ultimately faltered in the disappointing defeat.
Milwaukee and Arizona both dominated their two games at home offensively, but the scene now shifts back to Miller Park for the deciding contest. Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo seems like a different pitcher at home; he had a 10-2 regular-season record at home with an even 3.00 ERA, more than a full point better than his road ERA. Though Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy is better at Chase Field than he is at home, his regular-season road numbers (10-2, 3.19) are quite comparable to Gallardo's.
In the NL's second Game Five, Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter has been a revelation since the All-Star break, going 7-2 with a 2.98 ERA and 3-0, 2.15 since the beginning of September. But only tonight's Game Five in Philadelphia matters now, with Carpenter playing second fiddle in the pregame billing to Phillies ace extraordinaire Roy Halladay. The splits clearly favor the home team:
Game Five SP IP Record ERA WHIP K/9 Halladay Home 112.2 8-3 2.48 0.99 8.6 Carpenter Road 119.1 7-6 3.85 1.27 7.4