Yankees, Rangers, Angels pin postseason aspirations on pitching makeovers
— by Mark Ross
Pitchers are scheduled to report to spring training in less than a month, and if Major League Baseball’s offseason is any indication, a lot of teams’ postseason hopes will be riding on those arms that will get tuned up in Florida and Arizona.
Athlon editors cast their vote for the American League's best pitcher this season
With the World Series in the rear-view mirror and the hot stove just beginning to heat up, it's time to hand out some awards to this year's best performers on the diamond. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) started handing out theirs today by announcing the AL and NL Rookies of the Year.
Athlon editors cast their ballots for this year's best rookie in the American League
With the World Series in the rear-view mirror and the hot stove just beginning to heat up, it's time to hand out some awards to this year's best performers on the diamond. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) will make their announcements starting Monday. And while no Athlon editors are members of the BBWAA, here's how four of us — Charlie Miller, Braden Gall, Patrick Snow and Mark Ross — would have voted if we did have a ballot to cast.
The Tigers and Rangers bested AL East clubs on the way to the championship series.
The AL East, with three 90-win teams, looked like the power division in baseball for most of the season. The Boston Red Sox had a ton of expectations after the free agent signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Gonzalez performed as expected, leading the BoSox in batting average, hits and RBIs. Crawford’s first season at Fenway was a disappointment, hitting a career-low .255. Boston fell apart in September, going 7-20 over the final month and missing the postseason.
After the unusual situation created by the Game 1 washout, the Tigers and Yankees left New York tied at one game apiece and without a day off between Games 2 and 3. Aces Justin Verlander of Detroit and CC Sabathia of New York will start Game 3 tonight after taking the mound for the brief false start last Friday.
The Tigers are certainly a confident team with Verlander on the hill, as they should be having gone 25-9 in his 34 starts this season, 11-3 at home. But in his two starts this season against New York way back on March 31 and May 2, Verlander lasted just six innings in each start, giving up three earned runs in each and not factoring in the decision of either game, both Detroit losses.
Tigers supporters will love to tell you that Verlander can stifle the heart of the Yankees’ batting order. Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano have combined to hit .154 (8-52) off Verlander in their careers.
Sabathia opposed Verlander in the Opening Day start at New York, and also gave up three runs (two earned) over six innings. Like Verlander, Sabathia did not factor in the decision. The beefy lefthander did, however, take the loss in a 4-2 Detroit win in May. Over seven innings Sabathia gave up 10 hits and four runs in taking the loss.
Having said all that, both these teams have adjusted, re-adjusted and made multiple roster and lineup changes since those early season encounters.
Earlier in his career, Verlander may have been affected by the pressure of the postseason, but not in 2011. Verlander and the Tigers will win the game tonight and move on to secure a spot in the ALCS. After Max Scherzer’s performance in Game 2 for Detroit, it appears that the Yankees do not have enough starting pitching to hang with the Tigers.