Tim Jamieson's feelings won't match the internal tug-of-war Yvonne and Manny Upton were in position for this offseason -- that parental confusion that BJ and Justin Upton's mother and father were in store for if both their children had made the World Series.
But for Jamieson, to see two of his former players compete for a chance to play on baseball's biggest stage, one at the plate and the other on the mound, the emotion can't be too disparate.
Jamieson, the long-time head coach at the University of Missouri, was there when Max Scherzer's fastball first transformed into the upper-90s weapon that allowed him to once-upon-a-time out-pitch a collegiate Joba Chamberlain, the fastball that's helped carry him and the Tigers to the American League Championship Series. He was there, too, when the Rangers' Ian Kinsler launched a mammoth home run over the Left Field Lounge -- a tailgate area that sits beyond the fence at Mississippi State -- proof positive for the critics that Kinsler didn't lack for power, even if his frame lacked in size.
♦ Max Scherzer, Doug Fister might give Tigers edge in dramatic ALCS (detroitsportssite.com)
In case you are a Tigers fan looking for something to make you feel better about your team’s chances in Games 6 and 7 at Texas, this might help: Derek Holland and Colby Lewis, the Rangers’ probable starters in those games, were worse — far worse — at home than they were on the road in 2011.♦ Unsung hero: Kinsler makes ace work (espn.com)
If there was one spot where Detroit looked to have a possible edge in this increasingly-tight ALCS series, it was in the starting rotation. It’s that slight advantage that has to give the Tigers some hope heading into this weekend.
Holland, you might remember, made it just 2 2/3 innings against Detroit in Game 2 of this series — a game that just happened to be at Rangers Ballpark — and was yanked down 3-2, after a Ryan Raburn home run. His opponent in Game 2, Max Scherzer, turned in a quality start that day, going six innings.
A couple of Ian Kinsler at-bats had something to do with the Rangers’ win over the Tigers rolling over into Sunday.♦ Kinsler personifies the way Rangers roll (nationalpost.com)
Kinsler set a tough tone for Tigers ace Justin Verlander, the assumed Cy Young winner, by battling for eight pitches to draw a walk as the leadoff man in the bottom of the first. The 30-30 man took the first five pitches, fouled off a couple of 97-mph fastball and watched Verlander finally miss with another heater.
“Yes, we’re capable of hitting the long ball,” Kinsler said. “But we’re also capable of stealing bases, moving guys around, bunting, doing a lot of things. Basically, any way there is to score runs, we’re capable of it. And as far as pitching goes, we’re completely different than we were in the past.”
All of which means they are better than the team that went to the World Series a year ago, Kinsler believes.