In theory, the Tigers were going to be significantly more dangerous in a five-game series than in a seven-gamer. All because certain AL Cy Young Award winner and probable MVP Justin Verlander would have been able to start 40 percent of the possible games, rather than 29 percent.
Now, he’s essentially starting 20.
Friday’s Game 1 between the Tigers and Yankees was suspended with the score tied 1-1 after 1 1/2 innings. So, now, with Friday’s game getting picked up Saturday and Saturday’s game being pushed back a day, we’re looking at the following matchups for the rest of the series.
Game 1: Doug Fister vs. Ivan Nova
Game 2: Max Scherzer vs. Freddy Garcia
Game 3: Justin Verlander vs. CC Sabathia
Game 4: Rick Porcello vs. A.J. Burnett
Game 5: Doug Fister vs. Ivan Nova
The only off day is scheduled for Wednesday between Games 4 and 5.
It could certainly be worse for the Tigers. Fister has pitched extremely well, and the matchup of him versus Nova seems a bit advantageous. Also, the Yankees will now be starting Burnett when they had no intention of doing so in the first place.
But the Yankees have more depth in their pitching staff than the Tigers do and are better equipped to handle five games in six days. If a Tigers starter gets knocked out early — and it’s bound to happen at least once during the series — then it’s going to be Brad Penny time. And little good can come from that.
Triple plays are rare. Triple plays in which only two players touch the ball are even more rare. But last night the Texas Rangers turned a triple play that was even more rare than that. Indeed, it was the sort of triple play that had not been turned since a couple of months after the Titanic sank.
Here’s how it went down:
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the fourth inning, David Fletcher of the Angels hit a sharp one-hopper, fielded by third baseman Jurickson Profar. He stepped on third, getting the runner on second base in a force out. He then quickly tagged Taylor Ward, who had been on third base but had broken, thinking the ball was going to get through, and who froze before figuring out what to do. Profar then threw to Rougned Odor, who stepped on second to force the runner out who had been on first. Watch:
Like a lot of weird triple plays, not everyone was sure what had happened immediately. Odor, for example, had already made the third out when he touched the bag but he still attempted to tag out the runner from first, likely not yet having processed it all. The announcer wasn’t aware of it either. Understandable given how fast it all happened. It took me a couple of times watching it to figure it all out.
The historic part of it: according to STATS, Inc., it was the first triple play in 106 years in which the batter was not retired. The last time it happened: June 3, 1912, turned by the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Cincinnati Reds.