Detroit Tigers scrimmage against their minor leaguers to stay sharp

The last time the Detroit Tigers made the World Series, they had to wait a week between games after sweeping the A’s in the ALCS. There was speculation that the long layoff contributed to a five-game loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The team had five-or-fewer hits in three of the five games, and committed eight errors in the series, including at least one in each game. The team appears to have learned from their past experience and is trying to make alternate arrangements to stay sharp.

General Manager Dave Dombrowski flew many of the organization’s minor leaguers into Detroit so they could practice and scrimmage with the major league club. The team’s Instructional League ended on Thursday, so the timing worked out perfectly. The only question was whether the team would fly to Lakeland, Fla., to play against the minor leaguers, or remain in Detroit. The team decided to stay in Detroit and luckily the weather cooperated and allowed them to practice on Sunday.

“Any time you can see live pitching, it keeps you fresh. Whether you are hitting the ball or just watching. I like that we’re doing. This is a very smart thing to do. Get work in and not sit around and wait,” outfielder Quintin Berry told the Detroit Free Press.

Dombrowski reportedly began talking about making such arrangements when the team went up 2-0 in the ALCS against the Yankees, but he didn’t want the news to become public because they hadn’t won the series yet. Planning ahead appears to have paid off for them. And with the St. Louis Cardinals up 3-2 in the NLCS against the Giants, Tigers fans can’t help but wonder if there will be a 2006 rematch. The only difference is that Detroit should be better prepared for the series this time.

Ichiro says he is grateful to experience the pain of losing in the postseason

For those of you who may have blinked and missed it, the Yankees made it to the ALCS this year. After battling against the Orioles in a dramatic ALDS series, New York was embarrassed by the Tigers by way of a four-game sweep in which they never led for an inning. Whether it was the injury to Derek Jeter or the slumps of Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, the Yankees looked like they didn’t even want to be there.

At least one player appreciated the experience, no matter how painful it may have been. After New York’s 8-1 loss in Game 4 on Thursday, Ichiro Suzuki gave the following comments through his translator.

“I’m very disappointed the season ended,” Ichiro said according to the NY Post. “But this time the Yankees gave me, I’m so grateful for. The feelings you have, the satisfaction and hurt, is something I hadn’t experienced in a while. So to even experience this pain right now, I’m so grateful for.”

Ichiro hadn’t appeared in the postseason since 2001 and has been a part of some awful Mariners teams over the last decade or so, so you can understand why getting swept in the playoffs beats a 65-win season for him. That being said, the fans hardly feel the same. Nick Swisher felt a different kind of pain when playing at Yankee Stadium in the ALCS, and Yankee fans are disgusted as a whole. If 2012 winds up being the last time the soon-to-be 39-year-old Ichiro appears in a playoff game, we’re glad he enjoyed the experience. The fans of New York certainly didn’t.

Matt Holliday wishes Marco Scutaro well before Game 3 (Video)

Matt Holliday went out of his way to wish Marco Scutaro well before the Giants and Cardinals played Game 3 of the NLCS, ending what appeared to be some bad blood over a harsh takeout slide in Game 2.

Holliday slid well beyond second base on Monday in an attempt to take out the Giants second baseman and prevent a double play. Scutaro stayed in the game long enough to get a clutch hit, but he exited with a hip injury.

The Giants were pretty heated about the slide, though Scutaro and manager Bruce Bochy recognized Holliday had no intent to injure. Pitcher Matt Cain indicated before Game 3 that he might throw at Holliday in retaliation, but that never happened. Maybe that’s because the St. Louis left fielder went out of his way to reconcile before the game.

“Play good,” Holliday could be seen telling Scutaro before the game.

Holliday also said “my bad,” in reference to the slide, and gave the Giants second baseman thumbs up.

Scutaro batted second and went 2-for-5 in a 3-1 loss while Holliday went 0-for-4. St. Louis leads the series 2-1. I think we can consider this issue over.

Matt Cain indicates he may throw at or near Matt Holliday

Matt Holliday has become a hot topic of discussion during the NLCS after his take-out slide of Giants shortstop Marco Scutaro in Game 2 on Monday while breaking up a double-play. While he remained in the base path, the slide was certainly very late and began well after Holliday reached the bag. Scutaro suffered a strained hip on the play and is battling a sore right knee, so it is unclear whether or not he’ll be able to play in Game 3.

Though Holliday has apologized and said he in no way intended to hurt Scutaro, there has naturally been speculation that San Francisco will retaliate on Wednesday night. When asked if he will plunk Holliday, Giants starting pitching Matt Cain didn’t exactly give a firm denial.

“You’ve got to go out there and pitch your game,” Cain said according to FOX Sports. “If something gets away from me inside, that’s kind of part of the game. You can’t have a fear of doing that.”

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Delmon Young jabs Yankee Stadium’s small dimensions

Delmon Young was one of the heroes for the Tigers in their 2-1 win over the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS in Detroit on Tuesday.

The Tigers DH drilled a line drive to left field off Phil Hughes in the fourth and it barely cleared the fence at Comerica Park (unofficial distance 370 feet) to make it 1-0 Detroit.

When talking about the home run after the game, Young jabbed Yankee Stadium.

“I knew I hit it hard enough, but we weren’t in Yankee Stadium, so I had to wait an extra 30 feet for it to land,” he said.

Comerica Park is 346 feet down the left field line, and 402 feet to left center (full dimensions here). Yankee Stadium is 318 feet down the left field line, and 399 feet to left center (full dimensions here). Though Yankee Stadium gets deeper toward the gap, it is almost 30 feet shorter than Comerica Park down the line just like Young said. Yankee Stadium is particularly friendly toward left-handed hitters, with the dimensions even shorter down the line and to the gap. That’s part of the reason Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and even Ichiro have had strong power numbers since joining the team.

The difference between the two stadiums’ dimensions was brought up to Tigers manager Jim Leyland recently, who said Miguel Cabrera would probably hit 60 home runs if he played at Yankee Stadium.

Young is now the Tigers’ career leader in postseason home runs with seven. Two have come this postseason, and five came last year. Amazingly, five of his postseason home runs have come against the Yankees.

Below is video of Young’s home run:

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Matt Holliday error on Marco Scutaro hit gives Giants extra run; karma for slide?

St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday misplayed a ball in left center during Game 2 of the NLCS on Monday night, leading to an extra run for the Giants.

Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro laced a line drive to the left-center gap with the bases load in the bottom of the fourth. The hit would have scored two runs, but Holliday let the ball go through his legs allowing Angel Pagan to score the third run on the play.

The error by Holliday allowed the Giants to go up 5-1.

Some people considered Holliday’s fielding error to be karma for the left fielder’s hard slide into second base in the first inning that took out Scutaro.

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Robinson Cano booed by Yankees fans amid postseason slump

Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano was booed by his home fans on Sunday amid his postseason slump.

The four-time All-Star ended the regular season as one of the hottest hitters in baseball, but he has been the exact opposite in the playoffs.

Over the final nine games of the regular season, Cano was a scorching 24-for-39 (.615) with 11 runs, 7 doubles, three home runs, and 14 RBIs to help the Yankees win the AL East. He went 2-for-8 with two doubles in the first two games of the ALDS against the Orioles, but he’s been on a record-worst streak since then.

Cano double in the first in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Orioles and has gone hitless since then. He’s a postseason record worst 0-for-26. He did have an RBI ground out in Game 4 to give the Yankees their only run that game, but that’s been it.

The slump has been so bad that Yankees fans booed Cano after he grounded out against the Tigers in the eighth during a 3-0 loss in Game 2 of the ALCS.

And here we thought Kansas City was the only time Cano was going to be booed all season. Guess we were wrong.