The ALCS between the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers resumes tonight with Game 2, after yesterday’s scheduled game was wiped out due to rain. In a way, the delay actually helped the Tigers, because it gave Max Scherzer another day to recover from his relief appearance in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Yankees.
However, the Tigers were dealt a devastating blow when it was revealed that Magglio Ordonez re-fractured his ankle, leaving them without the outfielder for the remainder of postseason play.
Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, the Brewers took a 1-0 lead over the Cardinals in the NLCS after falling behind twice, once in the first inning and again in the fourth.
So far, 11 of 21 playoff games have gone over their listed total and after Milwaukee beat St. Louis last night, home teams improved to 12-9 overall.
Here is a breakdown of tonight’s games along with picks that you’d be foolish to follow:
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS @ MILWAUKEE BREWERS (BREWERS LEAD 1-0)
The Cardinals took an early lead in Game 1 on Matt Holliday’s first-inning RBI single, but the Brewers responded with Ryan Braun’s two-run shot in the team’s first at-bat. St. Louis regained control thanks to a David Freese three-run home run in the fourth, but again, Milwaukee answered. The Brewers tacked on six runs in the fifth to increase their lead to 8-5, before closing the door on a 9-6 win to remain a perfect 4-0 at home in the postseason.
Edwin Jackson will be on the mound for the Cardinals, as they hope to steal one in Milwaukee before heading home for Game 3 Wednesday night. So far this postseason, Jackson is 1-0 with a win over Philadelphia in a game where he pitched six innings, allowing only two earned runs.
For the Brewers, it will be Shaun Marcum, who had little success in his last outing. Marcum allowed seven earned runs in less than five innings of work and suffered the loss in his first-ever postseason appearance. In his last six starts at home, he is 0-3 with a 5.84 ERA, which is somewhat surprising, considering the Brewers were the best team in baseball with a 57-24 record at home.
After last night’s win, the Brewers hold a 10-9 advantage over the Cardinals in the season series (including postseason).
The pick: Milwaukee Brewers.
DETROIT TIGERS @ TEXAS RANGERS (RANGERS LEAD 1-0)
Note: This game was postponed last night because of rain.
Although Game 2 isn’t quite as important in the ALCS as it was for Detroit in the Division Series, the Tigers still feel like they are in a must-win situation. No team wants to fall behind 2-0 in a series, especially with a trip to the World Series on the line.
Max Scherzer, making his second ever postseason start, is coming off an impressive Game 2 win in the ALDS against New York. Scherzer pitched seven scoreless innings and kept the Yankees without a hit through the first five. During the regular season, he was 15-9 with a 4.43 ERA.
Also worth noting, is that Scherzer made a relief appearance in Game 5, and threw 32 pitches, which raised the question of whether or not he would be available for Game 2 of the ALCS.
Manager Jim Leyland erased all doubt when he told the Detroit News, “I didn’t figure Scherzer would be ready. But he swears he feels great and I trust him with my life. He would never mislead me.”
His counterpart, Derek Holland, was fortunate enough to pick up a win in his only postseason start this year, despite giving up three earned in five innings. Holland has never started against the Tigers, but thinks that his outing against the Rays has prepared him well. And even if it hasn’t, he still has a top-five lineup behind him in case he falls behind early.
The pick: Detroit Tigers.