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.
It isn’t difficult to see the fingerprints left by Cubs’ president Tom Ricketts and general manager Theo Epstein on the club’s remarkable 2016 season. In a piece for FOXSports.com, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez highlighted the duo’s effectiveness in liberating the Cubs from a five-year losing streak and six-year postseason drought, citing both the unrelenting work ethic and passion that Ricketts and Epstein brought to the club as major factors in their success.
Rodriguez’s first brush with sabermetric savant and all-around baseball wizard Theo Epstein came in 2003, when the then- 27-year-old All-Star was eyeing a deal with the Red Sox. The Major League Baseball Players Association eventually nixed the trade, and the Rangers’ young shortstop was sent to the Yankees shortly thereafter, but not before Rodriguez glimpsed the inner workings of Epstein’s mind.
What I remember best about that time was watching Theo furiously scribbling out the Red Sox lineup for the upcoming season on a room-service napkin. That’s when I saw Theo’s baseball mind at work. I saw he had a passion for the game, a depth of knowledge, and a thirst to be great. Theo’s passion was contagious. We were three 20-somethings convinced we were about to turn baseball upside down together. Though I never got a chance to work with Theo, I knew then that he was going to be a force.
A-Rod also referenced Ricketts’ thorough approach to rebuilding the organization. Ricketts, who purchased the franchise for $875 million in 2009, first made it his mission to transform Wrigley Field into a comfortable and enticing playing environment, then targeted top-tier management to run the show behind the scenes. With Ricketts fully backing Epstein’s transformative approaches — including an overhaul of the Cubs’ farm system, investments in international player development, and a comprehensive understanding and practical application of sabermetric advances — the Cubs’ path to a 97-win season in 2015 seemed a natural consequence of the pair’s hard work.
This year, the attention has been even more intensely focused on the Cubs’ elusive third World Series title. Rodriguez, however, believes that winning a championship is secondary to the strides Ricketts and Epstein have taken with the club.
Together, Ricketts and Epstein have built one of the greatest franchises in baseball and transformed 1060 W. Addison St. It’s a task that no one could quite get right for a hundred years. While four more wins would put a giant exclamation point on five years of focused work and determination, I won’t worry if this team doesn’t win the World Series in the next nine days.
Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that the Mets are expected to pick up the 2017 option for Reyes, but they haven’t done it yet. The option will be worth the major league minimum salary ($507,500), as the Rockies will continue to pay down the remainder of Reyes’ $41 million remaining on his contract.
The Mets signed Reyes after the Rockies released him in June. He had a .659 OPS in Colorado but improved to a .769 OPS in 279 plate appearances with the Mets, mostly playing third base in place of the injured David Wright. Bringing Reyes back next season will provide them more insurance at the hot corner.
Reyes, 33, served a 51-game suspension due to an offseason domestic violence incident while on vacation in Hawaii with his wife. As a result, he didn’t make his season debut until July 5, having spent some additional time in the minor leagues to get into game shape.