Twins stay alive by trouncing Tigers

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It wasn’t what they needed, but the Twins still have some life after winning two out of four games in Detroit.  Thursday’s game turned into a rout in the eighth as Minnesota ended up winning 8-3.  That leaves the Twins two games back with three to play.

 

What’s left may favor the Twins a bit.  They have three home games against the Royals this weekend, while the Tigers have a home series against the White Sox.  Let’s look at the probable matchups:

 

Kansas City at Minnesota

Fri: Lenny DiNardo vs. Jeff Manship

Sat: Zack Greinke vs. Nick Blackburn

Sun: Luke Hochevar vs. Brian Duensing

 

Chicago at Detroit

Fri: Jake Peavy vs. Edwin Jackson

Sat: Freddy Garcia vs. Alfredo Figaro

Sun: John Danks vs. Justin Verlander

 

Minnesota‘s starters are all tentative at the moment, but that’s how it’s lining up.  Manship appears likely to get the nod on Friday because Francisco Liriano threw an inning Wednesday.  Blackburn would be starting on short rest after being pushed back from Monday to Tuesday by the rainout.

 

The Tigers aren’t in such an urgent position, so they won’t go with Verlander on short rest Saturday.  Verlander will probably be limited to a couple of innings Sunday if the Tigers have clinched by then.  The Tigers will also probably want Rick Porcello to throw a couple of innings then.

 

The Greinke roadblock is huge, so even if the White Sox step up and claim two out of three games this weekend, the Twins have their work cut out for them to force a one-game playoff.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.