Tigers take early ALCS Game 6 lead courtesy of Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta homers

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Rangers lefty Derek Holland had more first-inning trouble Saturday in Game 6 of the ALCS, allowing a leadoff single to Austin Jackson. Ryan Raburn hit into a double play to erase that initial threat, but Miguel Cabrera launched an opposite-field homer a moment later to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.

Holland entered the night having thrown 28 and 25 pitches, respectively, in the first inning of his previous two postseason starts. He needed only 17 pitches in tonight’s ALCS Game 6, but that Cabrera blast helped quiet an Arlington crowd that was rocking well before first pitch. It also put Texas in an early hole.

Detroit starter Max Scherzer missed location on a one-out single to speedy Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus in the bottom half of the first, but rallied back by retiring Josh Hamilton on a flyout to center field and Michael Young on a foul pop-up near the first base bag. Scherzer allowed three earned runs in a six-inning Game 2 start in Texas. He’s trying for even better.

Holland registered his first strikeout of the ALCS against Delmon Young in the top of the second, but Jhonny Peralta hit the Tigers’ second opposite-field home run of the evening in the very next at-bat. It just squeaked over the right field fence, landing not too far from Cabrera’s first-inning shot.

The Rangers are known for having a power-packed lineup, but it’s the Tigers putting on the home run derby. They have 17 postseason dingers, already tied for the club record set during 2006’s World Series run.

Tigers 2, Rangers 0. It’s the top of the third inning on a cool and breezy night in east Texas.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.