Thursday, October 4, 2012

MU in the Majors: Post-Season Again for Ian, Max

Ian Kinsler and the Texas Rangers are headed to the playoffs
The strange case of Ian Kinsler’s home vs. road batting statistics (Dallas News)
Once again, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler threatens to finish among the bottom 10 in the AL in both road batting average and road on-base percentage.

This is no longer a trend. It’s a career-long issue.
. . .
While the Rangers haven’t figured out why Kinsler struggles on the road during the regular season, they do know how to get him out of it. Simply schedule a road playoff game.

Kinsler has played 17 road games in the postseason. He has hit safely in 16 of them, including the last 13. He is a career. 373 hitter on the road in the postseason with a .447 OBP. He ranks in the top 10 in both categories all-time among players with at least 50 road postseason at-bats.
Now's the time for Rangers to wipe slate clean (
"Baseball is a weird game," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "We've played 162. We'll get ready for one game and try to win it."

The Rangers led the AL West by 13 games on June 30, but couldn't hold on. They enter the Wild Card game having lost nine of 13, including three in a row to the A's this week.

"It is what it is," outfielder Josh Hamilton added. "We can't do anything about it. It's about what we do in the next game."

For long stretches of this season, the Rangers looked like the best team in all of baseball. Way back in April, they had a deep rotation and 100-mph relievers lined up. Back then, Hamilton looked like the guy who might win a Triple Crown.

Stuff started to happen. Relievers began to get hurt, and then starters. They signed Roy Oswalt and traded for Ryan Dempster. Hamilton went into a two-month slump. Young stopped hitting for a time. Kinsler had a terrible time hitting on the road.
Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers have battled
their way into the playoffs
Tigers' Max Scherzer won't start Wednesday after twisting ankle during celebration (Detroit Free Press)
Manager Jim Leyland explained to reporters this afternoon why Max Scherzer won’t start Wednesday night’s season finale:

“During the on-field celebration last night, Max Scherzer suffered a slightly twisted (right) ankle and will not pitch tomorrow night.”

Leyland then took questions.

Is this day-to-day?

“I think so. This is a slightly twisted ankle. It doesn’t appear to be serious-serious. But it is obviously serious enough that he won’t pitch tomorrow.”
Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer back, ready for playoffs (Detroit News)
Despite the shoulder and ankle problems which bothered him recently, Max Scherzer not only felt good enough to start the Tigers' final game of the regular season on Wednesday night, but didn't allow a run.

The Tigers beat the Royals 1-0 to end up 88-74 for the season, winning the American League Central by three games over the White Sox.

"I had the option of throwing a simulated game," Scherzer said, "but you just can't simulate game speed that way. I wanted to come out and pitch, and I thought I threw the ball really well.

"My arm fatigued at 75 pitches, because I hadn't started in a while, but this set me up pretty well for the playoffs."

Aaron Crow and the Royals will be watching
the post-season on TV just like the rest of us
Royals set franchise mark for total strikeouts (
When Royals reliever Jeremy Jeffress fanned Cleveland's Brent Lillibridge in the eighth inning of Sunday's game, he gave the pitching staff quite the distinction.

It was the 1,154th strikeout of the season by the Royals' staff, a new club record. The 2009 Royals held the previous mark with 1,153 K's.

"Cool," said reliever Aaron Crow, who's contributed 65 punchouts to the club's season total.

The Royals' bullpen has been a main contributor to the record. The relief corps has been on a strikeout kick all season, and their collective total of 526 led all American League bullpens entering play on Monday.

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